City Issues Press Release About Townsend-Allala Appeal

This City of El Paso issued a press release about an Appeals Court ruling on the pending case by Stephanie Townsend Allala in regards to emails that have not been released.

Below is the press release. I have posted the court documents for your review. The links follow the press release.

Press Release
August 4, 2014
Juli Lozano 212-1075 or 472-1949
Appeals Court Rules in Favor of the City

El Paso, Texas-Mayor Leeser and the members of City Council were notified today by the City Attorney’s Office that the Texas Court of Appeals, Third District, at Austin has ruled in favor of the City of El Paso and granted the City’s Plea to the Jurisdiction thereby dismissing the lawsuit filed against the Attorney General and in which Ms. Allala intervened.  In summary, the court ruled as follows:

1. Ms. Allala failed to produce any uncontroverted evidence the City was “refusing to supply public information.” The court made note of all the steps the City took to gather the information, the affidavits, etc.  Further, the court acknowledged the fact the Texas Public Information Act, “reveals no methods by which the City could compel the disclosure of public-information emails located on private email accounts, other than what the City did here.”
2. The waiver of sovereign immunity which allows governmental entities to be sued under the Texas Public Information Act is directly tied to the “refusal” to produce public information. Thus the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction and should have granted the plea to the jurisdiction and dismissed the case.
3. Once the City established that it was not “refusing to supply public information” the burden shifted to Allala to show that there is a disputed material fact regarding the jurisdictional issue.  She failed to meet the burden.

The judgment grants the plea to the jurisdiction, dismisses Ms. Allala’s claims for mandamus.  The court further ruled Ms. Allala shall pay all costs relating to the appeal, both at the appellate level and the court below.

Links to the court documents: