CAUSE NO. CI0369
|THE STATE OF TEXAS EX REL.
GEORGE DARRELL BEST,
|IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF
||SOMERVELL COUNTY, TEXAS
|PAUL REED HARPER,
| 249TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT
On August 20, 2019, this case was called for trial before the Court. The State of Texas (the
"State") appeared through its counsel and through its representative and announced ready for trial.
George Darrell Best ("Best") received timely and proper notice of the trial date and did not appear.
Defendant Paul Reed Harper appeared through his counsel and in person and announced ready for
All matters in controversy, legal, equitable, and factual, remaining on this remand, were
submitted to the Court for its determination and the Court heard the evidence and arguments of
The Court orally RENDERED judgment for Defendant, Paul Reed Harper, on Friday
August 23, 2019. This written judgment memorializes that rendition. Accordingly, the Court
RENDERS judgment for Defendant, Paul Reed Harper, as follows:
The Court GRANTS Harper's Anti-SLAPP Motion to Dismiss ("Motion to Dismiss") the
removal proceedings, in part; Harper's Motion to Dismiss the State's removal petition with respect
to the State's allegations based on the Open Meetings Act is DENIED.
The Court finds that the State's petition to remove Harper based on violations ofthe Texas
Open Meetings Act is moot.
The State's immunity from liability defense, which the Court finds the State asserted in the
trial court for the first time after the Supreme Court of Texas remanded this case, is OVERRULED
and DENIED in all respects.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that under § 27.009(a)(J)
of the Texas Citizens Participation Act, Defendant's request for court costs, reasonable attorney's
fees, and other expenses incun'ed in defending against the legal action is GRANTED against the
State and Best, jointly and severally, and Defendant is awarded against the State and Best, jointly
and severally, the following amounts of court costs, reasonable attorney's fees, and other expenses
which the Court finds are reasonable and justice and equity requires:
I. $227,083.00 in attorney's fees incurred to date, which the Court finds are reasonable.
2. $6,640.00 in court costs and expenses, which the Court finds are reasonable.
3. Reasonable, conditional appellate fees as follows:
• $50,000.00 in the event the State or Best appeals this matter to the Waco Court of
Appeals and Harper prevails;
• $12,000.00 in the event the State or Best seeks a petition for review from the
Supreme Court of Texas and a response is requested and Harper prevails;
• $50,000.00 in the event the Supreme Court of Texas seeks briefing on the merits
from Harper and Harper prevails;
• $15,000.00 in the event the Supreme Court of Texas grants oral argument and Harper
• $10,000.00 in the event Harper must respond to a motion for rehearing at the
Supreme Court of Texas by the State or Best and Harper prevails.
The foregoing conditional appellate attorney's fees represent the anticipated reasonable
and necessary attorney's fees that would be incurred by Harper in defending an appeal from this
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that under § 27.009(a)(2)
of the Texas Citizens Participation Act, Harper is awarded $35,000.00 in sanctions against the
State and Best, jointly and severally, and the Court finds that both the State and Best brought the
legal action against Harper. The Court finds that $35,000.00 sanctions is sufficient to deter the
State and Best from bringing similar actions in the future.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that Harper is entitled to
recover from the State and Best post judgment interest on all of the above at a rate of five and
one-quarter percent (5.25%), compounded annually, from the date this judgment is rendered until
all amounts are paid in full.
This Judgment finally disposes of all claims and all parties and is final and appealable.
The Court orders execution to issue for this judgment as allowed by law.
Signed on this 10 day of September, 2019.
Judge Presiding - John Weeks