Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Donna Roth

Judicial Q&A: Donna Roth

(Note: As I have done in past elections, I am running a series of Q&As for Democratic judicial candidates. This is intended to help introduce the candidates and their experiences to my readers. I am running these responses in the order that I receive them from the candidates. You can see other Q&As and further information about judicial candidates on my 2018 Judicial page.

Donna Roth

1. Who are you, and what are you running for?

I am Donna Roth. I am running for Judge of the 295th Civil District Court, Harris County, Texas.

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

The 295th is a civil court of general jurisdiction. It is a district court which handles civil cases with amounts in controversy from $500 to any dollar amount. The court also has equity power to impose injunctions, restraining orders and declaratory judgments (a judgment that declares the rights of the parties). The court hears a wide variety of matters including but not limited to breach of contract, commercial disputes, personal injury, employment disputes, medical and legal malpractice, wrongful death, insurance disputes, corporate disputes, partnership/corporate dissolutions, property disputes, debt collection, bank foreclosures, attorney disbarment, attorney discipline and Harris County property tax collection.

3. Why are you running for this particular bench?

The 295th is a civil trial bench. I have spent my professional career in the civil trial courts representing the people of Harris County, Texas. This bench is one where I can utilize my education, experience and life lessons to serve all the people of Harris County in a fair and equitable matter. Justice should be served with integrity, accountability and equality. I am running for the 295th to do just that!

4. What are your qualifications for this job?

I am a 1987 cum laude graduate from South Texas College of Law. For 31 years I have practiced civil trial law. I have extensive first chair jury trial experience, have litigated almost every type of case that could come before the court, have extensive trials before the bench and have mentored any number of younger lawyers by sitting second chair and assisting and advising. I represent people and families who have been seriously injured or lost a loved one because someone did something they should not have done or failed to do something they should have done. I am board certified in Personal Injury Trial Law and licensed not only in Texas but in Washington and New York. I have had active practices in all 3 states. As the managing partner of Roth & Associates since 1994 each person that has come to us for help has been treated fairly, equally and respectfully. It will be no different as your next judge of the 295th.

I have the patience and poise to listen to everyone who comes to the court seeking justice. Four years ago my daughter joined our firm as its newest associate. Nothing teaches patience and temperament like working six days a week with your only child. I will serve justice with integrity, accountability and equality. In the 31 years I have been practicing I have never had a judge enter an order referring to me as “unprofessional” or exhibiting “needlessly contentious conduct”. My opponent may not say the same.

5. Why is this race important?

Many, if not most people, will someday be required to come before a judge. Whether it be a civil judge, a family judge, a probate judge, a juvenile judge or a criminal judge, most people will find themselves before a court. If you have been fired and have to sue your employer for wrongful discharge or employment discrimination, or if you have been seriously injured or lost a family member because of another’s negligence, or if you have lost a limb or organ because of a medical facilities’ negligence, you would file such a lawsuit in a civil district court. If you have a property boundary dispute, a dispute with your homeowners’ association, or a disagreement with Harris County Appraisal District over the value of your property, you would file such a lawsuit in a civil district court.

Presiding over the determination of fair and adequate compensation for the loss of a loved one because of another’s negligence, whether one’s livelihood has been taken away without just cause, the value of one’s home, a contract or business dispute, or whether an insurance company should be required to reimburse you for the loss of a limb or organ are important matters that make this race and the determination of who the next judge in this court will be an important matter.

6. Why should people vote for you in November?

Experience:
The 295th Civil District Court is a civil trial bench. Because the role of the judge is to fairly and impartially try cases, trial experience is the most important qualification for voters to choose a candidate. As indicated by my qualifications, I can start working the day I am elected. I am also the candidate in this race that has received the endorsement of the three legal organizations who have screened and endorsed to date. In recognition of my experience and temperament these organizations in endorsing my candidacy have said that I am the candidate qualified to sit as the next Judge of this court. I have also been privileged to be acknowledged by my peers in the Houston Bar Association to be the candidate they believe is more qualified and preferred than my opponent.

I am a single mom. Four years ago my daughter, Andrea Roth, joined our firm as the newest associate. For the last four years I have worked full-time every day with my child. Nothing teaches patience and prepares you for the judicial temperament necessary to be a judge like working full-time with your only child.

Community Focused:
I maintain on my docket at least one pro bono case where I represent a woman in need of either a divorce, child support, child custody or a protective order. I volunteered after Hurricane Harvey and provided legal services at the hurricane victim’s assistance centers throughout the city. I volunteered for the Children’s Assessment Center and assisted participants at a skeet shoot. I serve as a “judge” at South Texas College of Law for the mock trial program. This I have done since I graduated law school in 1987. I also volunteered for nearly 10 years at JFK Elementary through Houston Trial Lawyer’s Foundation and mentored several 4th grade classes. I would spend approximately 2 hours each week with the class simply talking with them and encouraging them to be all that they can be. After months of practicing and rehearsing each year we would travel to the Harris County courthouse where the students would present the “Case of the Missing Cookies” to one of our civil judges. I feel that I have been fortunate in life to have obtained the education that I have received and to practice a profession I could only have dreamed about as a child. I want to share that with as many people as I can who cannot otherwise afford an attorney or someone to help them.

Justice for All:
It is important that we elect Judges who are fair and impartial, who do not have a preconceived notion about who should win before they hear any testimony or evidence. I have a passion for justice that has grown through my years of practice. I believe in the rule of law, I believe that each litigant that comes before the court, whether poor or rich, educated or not, whether represented by counsel or not, deserves a fair and impartial judge. Backed by my belief that justice and fair play are the fundamental values of the United States and Texas Constitutions, I am running for Judge of the 295th Civil District Court. My name is Donna Roth and I would consider it an honor and a privilege to serve as your next judge of the 295th Civil District Court in Harris County, Texas and I am, therefore, asking for your vote on November 6, 2018.

Endorsement watch: Civil district courts

I suppose I was too quick with the kudos for the Chron on their endorsement schedule. They still haven’t endorsed in the Lite Guv and AG races, in any Congressional or state Legislative race, or in any county races, not to mention most of the zillions of judicial races. They take a small step on that latter score today with ten Civil District Court endorsements, split evenly between the Rs and Ds. For the Democrats:

55th Civil District Court: Dion Ramos, the Democratic incumbent, was elected to this bench to fill an unexpired term in 2008.

113th Civil District Court: Christina Bryan, a Democrat, is a Harvard Law graduate who would bring 18 years of civil litigation experience to this bench.

234th Civil District Court: Tanner Garth, a Democrat, is the challenger for the 234th bench.

269th Civil District Court: Katie Kennedy, a Democrat, has 16 years’ experience on the civil court bench and 23 years in private practice.

281st Civil District Court: Donna Roth, a Democrat, would bring both life and professional experience and passion to this bench.

You can read these candidates’ Q&As here:

Ramos
Bryan
Garth (note: from the primary)
Kennedy
Roth

Q&As for Democratic candidates who didn’t get endorsed:

Shawn Thierry, 157th Court.
Ursula Hall, 189th Court.
Olan Boudreaux, 190th Court.
Bob Thomas, 270th Court.
Paul Simon, 295th Court.

Note that Hall and Thomas’ responses are from the primary – I have updated responses from Hall that will be published later – while the rest are from the general. You can see Q&As for the Republican candidates at Big Jolly Politics.

Judicial Q&A: Donna Roth

(Note: I am running a series of Q&As for Democratic judicial candidates on the November ballot. I am running these responses in the order that I receive them from the candidates. These Q&As are primarily intended for candidates who were not in contested primaries. You can see those earlier Q&As, as well as all the ones in this series and all my recorded interviews for this cycle, on my 2010 Elections page.)

1. Who are you, and what are you running for?

I am Donna Roth. I am running for Judge of the 281st Civil District Court, Harris County, Texas.

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

The 281st is a civil court of general jurisdiction. It is a district court which handles civil cases with amounts in controversy from $500 to any dollar amount. The court also has equity power to impose injunctions, restraining orders and declaratory judgments (a judgment that declares the rights of the parties). The court hears a wide variety of matters including but not limited to breach of contract, commercial disputes, personal injury cases, employment disputes, malpractice cases, death cases, insurance disputes, corporate disputes, partnership/corporate dissolutions, property disputes, debt collection cases, bank foreclosures, attorney disbarment, discipline cases and Harris County property tax collection cases. The civil courts have also begun to hear family trials. The family courts have been so overwhelmed that many of the civil judges, when agreed by the parties, have begun trying jury trials for the family court judges including divorces, child custody and modifications.

3. Why are you running for this particular bench?

The 281st Civil District Court is a civil trial bench. I have spent my professional career in the civil trial courts representing the people of Harris County, Texas. This bench is one where I can utilize my education, experience and life lessons to serve all the people of Harris County in a fair and equitable matter. Justice should be served with integrity, accountability and equality. I am running for the 281st to do just that!

4. What are your qualifications for this job?

I am a 1987 cum laude graduate from South Texas College of Law. Since then I have practiced civil trial law. I have extensive first chair jury trial experience, have litigated almost every type of case that could come before the court, have extensive trials before the bench and have mentored any number of younger lawyers by sitting second chair and assisting and advising. I currently serve on the board of directors for the Houston Trial Lawyers Association (HTLA) and I am a member of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. In 2009 I was the sole recipient of the HTLA Leadership and Service Award.

I have the patience and poise to listen to everyone who comes to the court seeking justice. I will serve justice with integrity, accountability and equality.

4. Why is this race important?

Many, if not most people, will someday be required to come before a judge. Whether it be a civil judge, a family judge, a probate judge, a juvenile judge or a criminal judge, most people will find themselves before a court.

If you have been fired and have to sue your employer for wrongful discharge or employment discrimination, or if you have been seriously injured or lost a family member because of another’s negligence, or if you have lost a limb or organ because of a medical facilities’ negligence, you would file such a lawsuit in a civil district court. If you have a property boundary dispute, a dispute with your homeowners’ association, or a disagreement with Harris County Appraisal District over the value of your property, you would file such a lawsuit in a civil district court.

Presiding over the determination of fair and adequate compensation for the loss of a loved one because of another’s negligence, whether one’s livelihood has been taken away without just cause, the value of one’s home, a contract or business dispute, or whether an insurance company should be required to reimburse you for the loss of a limb or organ are important matters that make this race and the determination of who the next judge in this court will be an important matter.

6. Why should people vote for you in November?

Experience:

The 281st Civil District Court is a civil trial bench. Because the role of the judge is to fairly and impartially try cases, trial experience is the most important qualification for voters to choose a candidate. As indicated by my qualifications, I can start working the day I am elected. I am also the candidate in this race that has received the endorsement of each and every one of the legal organizations who has screened and endorsed. In recognition of my experience and temperament these organizations in endorsing my candidacy have said that I am the candidate qualified to sit as the next Judge of this court.

I came to Houston in 1985. I graduated from South Texas College of Law in 1987 and have practiced law here in Houston since that time. I have raised my daughter, mostly as a single mom, here in Houston. I have learned patience from being a mom which will allow me to exercise the judicial temperament necessary to be a judge.

Community Focused:

I maintain on my docket at least one pro bono case where I represent a woman in need of either a divorce, child support, child custody or a protective order. I volunteered after Hurricane Ike and provided legal services through the Houston Bar Association at the hurricane victim’s assistance centers. I often volunteered at my daughter’s high school having coordinated a mock trial event with the senior class. I volunteered for the Children’s Assessment Center and assisted participants at a skeet shoot. My favorite activity, however, is serving as a “judge” at South Texas School of Law for the mock trial program. This I do approximately twice a year and have done since I graduated law school in 1987. I feel that I have been fortunate in life to have obtained the education that I have received and to practice a profession I could only have dreamed about as a child. I want to share that with as many people as I can who cannot otherwise afford an attorney or someone to help them.

Justice for All:

It is important that we elect Judges who are fair and impartial, who do not have a preconceived notion about who should win before they hear any testimony or evidence. I have a passion for justice that has grown through my years of practice. I believe in the rule of law, I believe that each litigant that comes before the court, whether poor or rich, educated or not, whether represented by counsel or not, deserves a fair and impartial judge. Backed by my belief that justice and fair play are the fundamental values of the United States and Texas Constitutions, I am running for Judge of the 281st Civil District Court. My name is Donna Roth and I would consider it an honor and a privilege to serve as your next judge of the 281st Civil District Court in Harris County, Texas and I am, therefore, asking for your vote on November 2, 2010.

Judicial Q&A: Donna Roth

(Note: I am running a series of Q&As for judicial candidates in contested Democratic primaries. There are a lot of judicial races on the ballot in Harris County this election, and so this is intended to help introduce the candidates and their experiences to those who plan to vote in March. I am running these responses in the order that I receive them from the candidates. I will also be conducting some in-person interviews of candidates who will be involved in contested primaries for non-judicial offices. Please see my 2010 Election page for a full list of Q&As and interviews.)

1. Who are you, and what are you running for?

I am Donna Roth. I am running for Judge of the 281st Civil District Court, Harris County, Texas.

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

The 281st is a civil court of general jurisdiction. It is a district court which handles civil cases with amounts in controversy from $500 to any dollar amount. The court also has equity power to impose injunctions, restraining orders and declaratory judgments (a judgment that declares the rights of the parties). The court hears a wide variety of matters including but not limited to breach of contract, commercial disputes, personal injury cases, employment disputes, malpractice cases, death cases, insurance disputes, corporate disputes, partnership/corporate dissolutions, property disputes, debt collection cases, bank foreclosures, attorney disbarment and discipline cases and Harris County property tax collection cases. The civil courts have also begun to hear family trials. The family courts have been so overwhelmed that many of the civil judges, when agreed by the parties, have begun trying jury trials for the family court judges including divorces, child custody and modifications.

3. Why are you running for this particular bench?

The current incumbent was just this January, 2009, appointed by Governor Perry. She received this appointment because her Republican predecessor made his decision to resign just days after the deadline for the 281st to be placed on the ballot. Therefore, rather than to have the people of Harris County decide who they wanted as their next judge, a sitting Republican judge resigned after the deadline and allowed a Republican Governor to appoint yet another Republican judge. I want to return honesty, integrity and transparency to the 281st Civil District Court.

4. What are your qualifications for this job?

I am a 1987 cum laude graduate from South Texas College of Law. Since then I have practiced civil trial law. I have extensive first chair jury trial experience, have litigated almost every type of case that could come before the court, have extensive trials before the bench and have mentored any number of younger lawyers by sitting second chair and assisting and advising. In my practice, I have represented the hard working people of Harris County.

I currently serve on the board of directors for the Houston Trial Lawyers Association and I am a member of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. In 2009 I was the sole recipient of the HTLA Leadership and Service Award. I am also a member of the Association of Women Attorneys and the Harris County Democratic Lawyers Association. I have not just recently joined these organizations but have been an active member for years. I am also a member of the Houston Bar Association and the Mexican American Bar Association.

5. Why is this race important?

Many, if not most people, will someday be required to come before a judge. Whether it be a civil judge, a family judge, a probate judge, a juvenile judge or a criminal judge most people will find themselves before a court.

If you have been fired and have to sue your employer for wrongful discharge or employment discrimination, or if you have been seriously injured or lost a family member because of another’s negligence, or if you have lost a limb or organ because of a medical facilities’ negligence, you would file such a lawsuit in a civil district court. If you have a property boundary dispute, a dispute with your homeowners’ association, or a disagreement with Harris County Appraisal District over the value of your property, you would file such a lawsuit in a civil district court.

Presiding over the determination of fair and adequate compensation for the loss of a loved one because of another’s negligence, whether one’s livelihood has been taken away without just cause, the value of one’s home, or whether an insurance company should be required to reimburse you for the loss of a limb or organ are important matters that make this race and the determination of who the next judge in this court will be an important matter.

6. Why should people vote for you in the primary?

Experience:

    The 281st Civil District Court is a civil trial bench.  Because the role of the judge is to fairly and impartially try cases, trial experience is the most important qualification for voters to choose a candidate. I am the only candidate in my race with first chair jury trial experience.  I have tried to verdict almost every type of case that could potentially come before the court.  I also sit second chair to assist younger lawyers who are learning or who need help and guidance.  I can start working the day I am elected.

    The Harris County District Clerk’s Web site provides a listing of cases involved in litigation where attorneys have been named as counsel of record.  As of January 31, 2010, the district clerk web site indicates that I have filed and litigated 223 cases during my years of practice.  My opponent has been listed in just five (5) cases.  This is a civil trial court bench.  The people of Harris County deserve someone who can begin working on the day they are elected.

    I came to Houston in 1985.  I graduated from South Texas College of Law in 1987 and have practiced law here in Houston since that time.  I have raised my daughter, mostly as a single mom, here in Houston.  I have learned patience from being a mom which will allow me to exercise the judicial temperament necessary to be a judge.

Committed Democrat:

    I am a sustaining member of the Harris County Democratic Party, a member of a number of Democratic groups, including the Spring Branch Democrats, Meyerland Democrats and Tejano Democrats.  My daughter, Andrea and I, are both members of Oak Forest Democrats and the GLBT caucus.  Andrea is also a member of the Young Democrats.  In 1994, I won a contested democratic primary for judge of the 234th Civil District Court.  I unfortunately, along with many other good democrats, lost in the general election in a Republican sweep.  Since then I have helped in many democratic campaigns including Judge Jaclanel McFarland, Judge Robert Schaffer, Judge Steven Kirkland,  Judge Kathy Stone, State Rep. Ellen Cohen, State Rep. Jessica Farrar, Mayor Bill White and Michael Skelly for Congress.  I have contributed money, pushed cards on Election Day and block walked.  In 2008 on Election Day I served at the party headquarters as legal counsel for any problems and issues that arose during the day.

Community Focused:

    I maintain on my docket at least one pro bono case where I represent a woman in need of either a divorce, child support, child custody or a protective order.  I volunteered after Hurricane Ike and provided legal services through the Houston Bar Association at the hurricane victim’s assistance centers.  I often volunteered at my daughter’s high school having coordinated a mock trial event with the senior class.  I volunteered for the Children’s Assessment Center and assisted participants at a skeet shoot.  My favorite activity, however, is serving as a “judge” at South Texas School of Law for the mock trial program.  This I do approximately twice a year and have done since I graduated law school in 1987.  I feel that I have been fortunate in life to have obtained the education that I have received and to practice a profession I could only have dreamed about as a child.  I want to share that with as many people as I can who cannot otherwise afford an attorney or someone to help them.

Justice for All:

    It is important that we elect Judges who are fair and impartial, who do not have a preconceived notion about who should win before they hear any testimony or evidence. I have a passion for justice that has grown through my years of practice. I believe in the rule of law, I believe that each litigant that comes before the court, whether poor or rich, educated or not, whether represented by counsel or not, deserves a fair and impartial judge.  Backed by my belief that justice and fair play are the fundamental values of the United States and Texas Constitutions, I am running for Judge of the 281st Civil District Court.  My name is Donna Roth and I would consider it an honor and a privilege to serve as your next judge of the 281st Civil District Court in Harris County, Texas and I am, therefore, asking for your vote on March 2, 2010 in the Democratic Primary Election.