The El Paso Times did a pretty good job of covering the latest Four Names Allala’s harassment attempt via her suit against the city. Obviously, they have to stick to the facts and can’t really get into the meaning behind the moves by the players involved. However, I can.
First of all, attorneys always always always always always always always move to quash depositions. There is no situation I can think of where this has not happened in a civil suit. There are several reasons for this, but the biggest being that they want to make this painful for the other side. Time in a lawsuit means money. And once you get that plaintiff spending some real money, they’re less likely to continue fighting (in this specific case the City of El Paso is now the Plaintiff, but in an odd arrangement, the whole thing hinges on Allala pushing it). Ever wonder why lawsuits take years? It is because lawyers play these games.
It’s a mean lawyer trick that gets them paid more and has some function in defeating the lawsuit. Making it complicated for the plaintiffs is the goal. What the city’s attorney is doing here is par for the course. You don’t really have to read into it more than that – but you should.
Most of the time depositions go through a round of scheduling battles. However, in this case the city’s attorney is making the argument that the people Allala want to depose aren’t material to the argument they (the City) are making in their lawsuit. As one lawyer explained to me this morning, it’s not a matter of whether or not Niland, Wilson and Byrd made the emails available or if they ever had them at all. This is a battle over who has what jurisdiction over personal email accounts – the city argues that it doesn’t have that jurisdiction. Remember, Allala’s original question was to clarify what qualifies and what doesn’t qualify as obtainable records from city employees and elected officials. She (the lawyer I talked to this morning) then reminded me that Allala isn’t a party to the City vs. Abbott lawsuit. Although this kind of interference happens all the time in the civil system, it’s unlikely a judge will see this as helpful to either Abbott or the City of El Paso. And that, folks, is what you should be focused on.
Basically what Allala and her attorney are doing is butting into this case to make their political hay (you wouldn’t want this done to you, so why is it okay for it to happen to someone else?)(also, the judge will see what they are doing and shut them down). They need an excuse to get Niland, Wilson and Byrd on the hot seat and short of filing another lawsuit, this is all they have. If they were to get to depose these three, they could ask them anything from the color of their car to their children’s shoe size. You can imagine what kind of leading, or unanswerable questions they’d ask i.e. “when did you stop beating your wife?”
The reason they didn’t ask for Ortega’s deposition is that they know it’s a waste of time. He’s a lawyer and any deposition with him would be painful. He’d say nothing. And it’s not like they can make anything of his refusal to talk – he’s not running for anything. Niland, Wilson and Byrd are still in the public eye.
Here’s how all of you have been duped by Allala and friends…
The lawsuit has little to do with Allala. You *think* the suit is about producing emails and it’s not. Allala and friends have lied to you and you have listened. The lawsuit is about what authority the city has to compel staff and council to provide emails containing city business on their personal email accounts. The suit is NOT about whether or not staff or council has to provide emails to the city from their personal accounts – everybody agrees this is the case. You guys are falling for the bait and switch here.
So, when Allala says she wants city council to sign affidavits saying they’ve followed the law – she has no legal standing to compel them to do so. She is not a party to the lawsuit. Her asking for those affidavits are just like you asking Count Judge Veronica Escobar for the very same thing today or the President of the United States – you are on the same legal ground as Allala, which is to say – standing on thin air.
So, what the El Paso Times didn’t get into is exactly why Allala’s demands are ridiculous. And the city’s spokespeople have continued to fail at explaining what’s going on here. I’m the first person to explain that Allala isn’t a part of the lawsuit, but keeps interjecting herself into without very good legal standing to do so. In fact – YOU could latch yourself onto this suit and demand to depose anyone you want. The judge will have to decide whether your interest has merit or not.
I guess it doesn’t matter… you guys will believe whatever Allala says because you don’t like the stadium. You can be fools and used by these liars – it’s the El Paso way and you are only carrying on a long tradition of following the squeakiest wheel.