Virus-Related Lawsuits

Virus-Related Lawsuits

Elections Lawsuits

Texas Democratic Party, et al. v. Dana De Beauvoir and the State of Texas (Requesting the use of mail-in ballots in response to COVID-19)

Order on Temporary Injunction (April 17, 2020)
Appealed to the Fourteenth Court of Appeals (April 20, 2020)
State of Texas Brief (May 11. 2020)
Appealed to the Texas Supreme Court (May 15, 2020) 

FINAL In re State of Texas (May 13, 2020) (Texas Attorney General requested that the court compel the early-voting clerks for Dallas, Cameron, El Paso, Harris and Travis Counties to follow Texas law on mail-in ballots)

Appeal to Texas Supreme Court
Petition for Writ of Mandamus (May 13, 2020)
Order on Denial of Writ of Mandamus (May 27, 2020)

Steven Hotze, et al. v. Ruth Hughs (claiming that the governor’s proclamation expanding early voting violates the Texas Constitution and the plaintiffs’ due process rights)

            Original Petition (August 20, 2020)

FINAL In re Steven Hotze (mandamus petition claiming that Governor Abbott lacks the authority to expand the early voting period and the window for a voter to deliver a ballot voted by mail)

           Petition for Writ of Mandamus (September 23, 2020)

           Response to Petition for Writ of Mandamus (September 28, 2020)

           Order Denying Petition for Writ of Mandamus (October 7, 2020)

Mi Familia Vota, et al. v. Greg Abbot, et al. (claiming the mask mandate exemption for voting violates the Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act, which prohibits voting practices that discriminate on the basis of race, color, or membership in a certain language minority group)

Order on Temporary Restraining Order (October 27, 2020)
Temporary Administrative Stay (October 27, 2020)

Mail in Ballots: Linda Elizabeth Harrison, et al. v. Dana DeBeauvoir (arguing the state’s criteria for applying for an emergency ballot imposes an undue burden on the right to vote)

            Original Petition (July 14, 2020)

Texas Democratic Party, et al. v. Greg Abbott, et al. (Claiming refusal to allow mail-in ballots in response to COVID-19 violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, 52 U.S.C. 10301 and the First, Fourteenth, Fifteenth and Twenty-Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution)

Complaint (April 6, 2020)
Order on Preliminary Injunction (May 19, 2020)
Appeal to Fifth Circuit (May 20, 2020)
Temporary Administrative Stay (May 20, 2020)
Fifth Circuit Opinion Continuing Stay (June 4, 2020)
U.S. Supreme Court Denial of Motion to Vacate Stay (June 26, 2020)
Fifth Circuit Opinion Remanding Case (September 10, 2020)

Linda Jann Lewis, et al. v. Ruth Hughs, et al. (Alleging certain existing state statutes governing the procedure for voting by mail are unconstitutional)

Complaint (May 11, 2020)

Mi Familia Vota, et al. v. Greg Abbott (claiming the state’s current polling place procedures — including rules for early voting, the likelihood of long lines, and the governor’s decision to not require voters to wear masks — place an unconstitutional burden on voters while the virus remains in circulation)

Complaint (July 16, 2020)
Order (September 8, 2020)

FINAL State of Texas v. Chris Hollins (seeking to block Harris County clerk from sending unsolicited mail-in ballot applications to over two million Harris County registered voters) 

Original Petition (August 31, 2020)
Order (September 11, 2020)
Appeal to Fourteenth Court of Appeals (September 11, 2020)
Order Granting Stay (September 15, 2020)
Order from Fourteenth Court of Appeals (September 18, 2020)
Order on Petition for Review (October 7, 2020)

 In re Steven Hotze (seeking to block Harris County from sending mail-in ballot applications to all of its voters for the November election)

            Petition for Writ of Mandamus (August 30, 2020)

            Order Granting Emergency Stay (September 2, 2020)

Dr. George Richardson, et al. v. Trudy Hancock, et al. (claiming that procedure for rejecting ballots based on signature violates constitutional rights)

Order (September 8, 2020)
Temporary Stay issued by Fifth Circuit (September 11, 2020)
Order Staying Injunction Pending further Ruling (October 19, 2020)

Texas League of United Latin American Citizens v. Greg Abbott (claiming that the governor’s proclamation limiting the delivery of completed mail-in ballots to one designated location in the county is an unconstitutional burden on the fundamental right to vote and is discriminatory)

            Complaint (October 1, 2020)

Laurie-Jo Straty v. Gregory Abbott (claiming that the governor’s proclamation limiting the delivery of completed mail-in ballots to one designated location in the county is an unconstitutional burden on the fundamental right to vote and is discriminatory)

            Complaint (October 2, 2020)


The Anti-Defamation League Austin, Southwest v. Greg Abbott (claiming that the governor’s proclamation limiting the delivery of completed mail-in ballots to one designated location in the county is an unconstitutional burden on the fundamental right to vote and is discriminatory)

            Original Petition (October 5, 2020)
            Supreme Court Order (October 27, 2020)

Local Order Lawsuits

Steve Hotze v. Lina Hidalgo (April 23, 2020) (Claiming, among other things, that the county judge’s order mandating the wearing of a mask, washing of hands, and six foot distancing exceeds her authority under the Texas Disaster Act)

Original Petition (April 23, 2020)

 In re Hotze (April 27, 2020) (Petition to overturn Harris County Judge’s face mask order)

Petition for Writ of Mandamus (April 27, 2020)

State of Texas, et al. v. El Paso County, et al. (Seeking to overturn county shutdown order claiming county shutdown regulations can’t be stricter than Governor’s orders)

            Eighth Court of Appeals Order (November 13, 2020)


Governor’s Order Lawsuits (Including Local Enforcement)

 FINAL  In re Salon a la Mode (April 28, 2020) (Writ of mandamus to enjoin enforcement of governor’s order)

Texas Supreme Court Denial of Petition for Writ of Mandamus (May 5, 2020)

Holly Landry v. Jim Yarbrough, et al. (May 19, 2020) (local restaurant sued the City of Galveston and several city officials for enforcement of the Governor’s executive orders)

Original Petition (May 19, 2020) 

 Tonia Allen Parker, et al. v. Governor Greg Abbott, et al. (Challenging governor’s order closing bars)

            Original Petition (June 30, 2020) 

Trump, Inc. d/b/a Onyx Houston v. City of Houston (May 1, 2020) (Strip club claimed to be operating as a restaurant that provides “additional entertainment (i.e., dancers confined to stages throughout the establishment)” and therefore could not be forced to close under GA-18)

Preliminary Injunction Order (May 8, 2020)

Sportsplex of Houston v. City of Houston, et al. (May 6, 2020) (Softball/volleyball complex sued the City of Houston for enforcement of the governor’s order (GA-18))

Complaint and Application for TRO (May 6, 2020)

Miscellaneous Virus-Related Lawsuits

FINAL  In re State of Texas (May 15, 2020) (petition from Attorney General asking the Texas Supreme Court to uphold the State’s automatic right, guaranteed by the Legislature, to stay temporary injunctions from lower courts upon filing an appeal)

Petition for Writ of Mandamus (May 15, 2020)
Relator’s Opposed Motion for Temporary Relief (May 15, 2020)
Stay Order Issued (May 15, 2020)

FINAL In re Republican Party of Texas (Republican Party suit against city of Houston for enforcing force majeure clause to cancel the contract with the Republican Party of Texas and refuse the use of the city’s convention center for the Republican Party’s convention)

Appeal to Texas Supreme Court (July 10, 2020)
Denial of Petition for Writ of Mandamus (July 13, 2020)

Cy-Fair American Federation of Teachers v. Mark Henry (August 14, 2020)

Original Petition (August 14, 2020) (Petition to enjoin the district from requiring the teachers to return to school because the district is in violation of a joint order issued by the Harris County/City of Houston health authorities prohibiting in-person instruction/professional development until September)
Attorney General’s Amicus Letter (August 17, 2020)

State of New York v. Department of Labor (S.D.N.Y.)

Order (August 3, 2020) (striking down certain provisions of the DOL’s regulations implementing the FFCRA: (1) struck down the “work-availability” requirement; (2) determined that the DOL’s definition of healthcare provider was too broad; and (3) concluded requirement that an employee furnish documentation before taking leave was an invalid exercise of its authority)


Texas Attorney General

Formal Opinions

RQ-0342-KP (March 30, 2020) (Legality of local government orders and ability to commandeer private property)

Opinion No. KP-0304 (May 7, 2020) (finding local orders acceptable but local governments cannot commandeer private property)

RQ-0360-KP (June 26, 2020) (Authority of Harris County Metro Transit to require face coverings)

Metro Brief in Response (July 22, 2020)
Opinion No. KP-0323 (August 3, 2020) (concluding Harris County Metro Transit Authority may require any person medically capable of doing so to wear a facial covering when entering its vehicles or facilities)

RQ-0356-KP (June 12, 2020) (Request for an opinion regarding facial covering mandates in courtrooms, courthouses and other county buildings during the COVID-19 disaster)

Opinion No. KP-0322 (August 3, 2020) (concluding that “[c]ounty authority to require facial coverings in courtrooms, courthouses, and county buildings can be found in in the Texas statutes, and in emergency and executive orders”)

RQ-0363-KP (July 3, 2020) (Request for opinion on whether postponing May election reopens candidate filing period)

Informal Advisory Memos/Letters

Informal Letter to Chairwoman Klick (April 14, 2020) (Fear of contracting COVID-19 is not a “disability” to qualify for mail-in ballot)

Informal Letter to Brazoria County Judge (April 30, 2020) (Affirming that “shall avoid” language in executive orders means that related businesses must remain closed)

Guidance to County Judges and Election Officials (May 1, 2020) (Affirming stance that fear of contracting COVID-19 is not a “disability” to qualify for a mail-in ballot)

Informal Letter to Private Religious Schools (July 17, 2020) (Whether state and local orders apply to private religious schools)

Informal Letter to Stephenville Mayor (July 28, 2020) (Whether local health authority can close schools)

Informal Letter to Cameron County Judge (September 4, 2020) (Whether order issued by county judge and the county’s health authority violates the United States and Texas Constitutions and the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act by dictating how religious private schools may operate, including prohibition on in-person instruction at religious private schools until September 28, 2020)

Informal Letter to Brownsville Mayor (September 9, 2020) (Whether the city could impose more limited capacity requirements on restaurants than are included in the governor’s order, GA-28)