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Lone Star Project Report

Court Slaps Down Abbott, and Sides with Wendy Davis...Again.

Abbott bungled attorney fees motion

Earlier today, the 5th Circuit US Court of Appeals granted a motion by attorneys representing Wendy Davis and other plaintiffs to dismiss an appeal filed by Attorney General Greg Abbott regarding attorneys’ fees.  The decision by the Appeals Court is another in a series of miscalculations by Greg Abbott, who has lost every single substantive legal argument in his redistricting battle with Davis.

Earlier this year, the three-judge Federal District Court in San Antonio ruled that Senator Davis and fellow plaintiffs are the prevailing parties in the State Senate redistricting case.  Following the District Court’s ruling, attorneys for the Davis plaintiffs filed a motion to recover attorney fees and expenses as the prevailing parties.  Rather than wait for the District Court to issue a final fee decision, Attorney General Abbott rushed to the 5th Circuit US Appeals Court in an attempt to head off a fee award and somehow reverse the finding of the Davis plaintiffs as the prevailing party.

Abbott’s appeal was doomed from the outset.  Precedent that is well known among experienced legal counsel (except apparently within Greg Abbott’s office) makes clear that the US Appeals Court does not have jurisdiction until a fee award is actually made.

Commenting upon the ruling, Davis legal counsel, J Gerald Hebert said, “I suppose the only persons surprised by this ruling are Greg Abbott and his attorneys in the AG’s office.  The dismissal of their appeal was in keeping with fairly well known legal precedent.  They’re seldom right, but at least they are consistent.”

The case now returns to the US District Court in San Antonio where a decision will be made on the amount of the attorneys' fees award.