Trials & Litigation
Texas attorney general avoids subpoenas with court ruling, alleged dodge of process server
Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton fled a process server Monday and then avoided subpoenas Tuesday, when a Texas judge ruled that he didn’t have to testify in an abortion-related lawsuit.
U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman of the Western District of Texas agreed to quash the subpoenas and to seal documents that included a process server’s affidavit about Paxton’s attempt to avoid service, the Texas Tribune reports.
The subpoenas sought Paxton’s appearance individually and in his official capacity in a suit seeking to block Texas officials from enforcing abortion laws triggered when the U.S. Supreme Court overruled the abortion-rights opinions Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, according to Law360.
The plaintiffs are also seeking a ruling that Texas can’t bring cases for conduct that happened before the Supreme Court’s decision.
The Texas Tribune is among the publications that obtained the affidavit by process server Ernesto Martin Herrera before it was sealed. The affidavit included Paxton’s home address, which Paxton’s attorneys called “at best, reckless and irresponsible.”
The process server arrived at Paxton’s home at about 8:30 a.m., and he could see Paxton through the glass on the front door. The process server told a woman who answered the door that he was there to serve important legal documents. The woman said Paxton couldn’t come to the door because he was on the phone and in a hurry to leave.
The woman identified herself as Angela; that is the name of Paxton’s wife, who is a state senator.
The process server waited in his car. When he saw Paxton exit the garage 9:40 a.m., the process server said he walked up the driveway and called out Paxton’s name. Paxton ran back into his home.
About seven minutes later, Angela got inside a truck in the driveway. Paxton came out and ran to the truck, even as the process server called out Paxton’s name and said he had court documents for him, the affidavit said. Paxton ignored him, so the process server left the documents on the ground. Paxton left them there as the truck left.
Paxton later tweeted that he left suddenly because he was concerned about his family’s safety and well-being after a “strange man” came onto his property, “yelled unintelligibly, and charged toward me.”