Back in August of 2016, I wrote a post entitled "Rumours Full of Bullchit-WHO is responsible to PAY Paul Harper for State of Texas Ex Rel George Darrell Best v Paul Reed Harper?The State of Texas!". As noted from this week, the State of Texas representative is Andy Lucas, County Attorney for Somervell County and the State Attorney General's office said that the responsible party to pay Lucas bills is Somervell County and not the State Comptroller's office. I have done a number of open records request during the time of this case to see how much money Somervell County paid for Andy Lucas's bills for this case, and that is on this post, looks like, by my reckoning, roughly $25k. That is, of course, besides the roughly $260k that Somervell County now owes, in order to pay the final judgment.
But there's something else interesting about this whole case. As you can see from the Rumours post, the correct styling of the case is State of Texas ex rel George Darrell Best v Paul Reed Harper. And yet, over the life of this case, at least some people have mistakenly thought this was a private civil case between Darrell Best and Paul Harper. It is not and never has been. Why might they think that?
1. At least some of the paperwork on the bills I saw from the Somervell County open records request have the case listed as "Harper v Best" AS IF Paul Harper brought the case to sue Darrell Best. No. Harper (who is, in the interest of full disclosure, my husband), defended himself against a suit that Andy Lucas optionally brought by accepting for all purposes the petition Best filed in the first place.
When Paul filed an anti-slapp motion to dismiss, it was on the basis that the lawsuit was frivolous because the charges were on the basis of freedom of speech and freedom of petition. The charge of violating TOMA that Lucas brought, while adding Best's complaints, when he took on the case for all purposes was ulitimately determined to be no violation of the Act. Again, this was a DEFENSE against the suit. AND it wasn't against BEST at this case but against the State of Texas, as represented by Andy Lucas. Best had no ability to bring forward a suit to remove Paul from office without Lucas intervention.
But here's the thing. WHY is the case styled as Harper v Best on Somervell County paperwork, with the State of Texas left off it, AS IF, to any casual reader of the bills or the information in the Somervell County checkbook, this is some kind of private case between two citizens? If that was 1, wouldn't you think that the commissioners would wonder WHY YOU and I, and taxpayers, were paying for a private case? WHY would they just up and vote on a budget, paying bills item that, on its surface had nothing to do with taxpayer money? Except of course, it did but it was not listed that way. It's interesting to note that when the Texas Supreme Court ruled on this case in December 2018, the State of Texas was the entity ruled against.. As a note, if you look at the bills from C Alfred Mackenzie, the attorney Lucas contracted with to represent him, you'll see that MacKenzie properly styles the case as "State of Texas ex rel Best v Harper" but when Somervell County goes to pay it, it's "Harper v Best"
Anyway, my point is that this should always be styled the correct way so that there is no misunderstanding.