Hotze’s first attempt at defending himself in the Lopez/Aguirre lawsuit fails

There’s a long way to go on this, but at least for now the courts aren’t having any of Steven Hotze’s bullshit.

A petition for mandamus was denied by the 14th Court of Appeals today – an appeal brought by Dr. Steven Hotze, who claims a lawsuit against him is nothing but a “political sword” aimed at assisting the Democrats going into the 2022 election.

The appeal, which sought to set aside an order compelling requests for production, stems from a lawsuit brought by David Lopez earlier this year.

Lopez sued Hotze and his nonprofit entity, Liberty Center for God and Country, alleging they wrongly targeted him as a key figure in their “bizarre and unfounded claims of massive voter fraud.”


In his petition for writ of mandamus, Hotze questioned whether the trial court abused its discretion by ordering him to produce documents controlled by Liberty Center.

Hotze, a Republican activist, asserts Lopez is represented by two highly partisan Democratic election lawyers, Scott Brazil and Dickey Grigg, and that it “is clear that Lopez and his counsel are using this lawsuit as a political sword, and through irrelevant and harassing discovery request are attempting to acquire documents intended to promote and assist their political agenda going into the 2022 election in an effort to assist Democratic candidates.”

The 14th Court found that Hotze has not established that he is entitled to mandamus relief, denying his petition for writ of mandamus.

See here for the last entry I have in this saga; the lawsuit in question was filed in March. You can see the writ, which had been filed on October 15, here, and the brief denial by a panel that included one Republican and two Democrats here; it was filed on October 28. The gist of the writ is that Hotze “in his individual capacity” says he shouldn’t have to produce documents from the company that he founded and is president of, and that the plaintiffs’ lawyers are a couple of meanies and Democrats and this whole thing is just not fair. I will just note that Hotze’s attorney is of course the highly partisan former Chair of the Harris County Republican Party, and that the Court’s response to his writ was basically “um, no”. I wish they had written something longer and more detailed, but honestly the brevity of it makes it all the more fun. Enjoy this little tasty tidbit of schadenfreude, you’ve earned it.

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4 Responses to Hotze’s first attempt at defending himself in the Lopez/Aguirre lawsuit fails

  1. David Fagan says:

    9 days and counting……

  2. Ross says:

    That’s hilarious that Hotze claims the plaintiff attorneys are highly partisan Democrats, when his lawyer of choice is a highly partisan Republican operative. Nothing like being a hypocrite – “It’s OK for me, but not for you”

  3. Kenneth Fair says:

    You usually don’t see an order that short denying mandamus unless the petition for writ of mandamus was easily disposed of as meritless.

  4. Kibitzer Curiae says:


    Re: “You usually don’t see an order that short denying mandamus unless the petition for writ of mandamus was easily disposed of as meritless.”

    Isn’t that circular? If the petition lacks merit, it merits summary denial. If it merited summary denial, it must have been lacking in merit. It would be more illuminating if Mr. Fair were to offer fair commentary on the merits (or otherwise) based on an actual perusal to the content of the petition. — This Kibitzer hasn’t done any perusing either so the commentary here is limited to the procedural issues.

    As to that, it’s quite common for mandamus to be denied with form orders. The Third Court of Appeals would typically do so with one-liners. In the Houston COAs, the interested subsegment of the public has historically at least been informed in a footnote about the corresponding trial court information, including the identity of judge, which is helpful if you are interested in a particular judge’s track-record of being “mandamused.” You can then even research them by name on Google Scholar. Try Judge Ursula, for example, to see how that know-thy-judge research methodolgy works.


    TEX. R. APP. P. 52.8(d) (“When denying relief, the court may hand down an opinion but is not required to do so,” but “[w]hen granting relief, the court must hand down an opinion as in any other case”); id. R. 47.4 (distinguishing opinions and memorandum opinions)


    Commendably, following the arrival of Democrats on the Houston Courts of Appeals, we have seen more in the way of helpful elaborations regarding errors by relief seekers, i.e. exposition of defects in the from, format, or contents of the paperwork and the record appendix (now PDF) in appeals court orders and opinions, so that future relief-seekers (called ralators rather than appellants or petitioners in the mandamus context) might actually learn from mistakes that led to denial or dismissal, but even that salutary court-user-friendly development has encountered entrenched opposition. 

    See, for an example, former Chief Frost’s verbal tussle with Justices Spain and Bourliot in In re Kholaif, No. 14-20-00731-CV, No. 14-20-00732-CV, 624 S.W.3d 228 (2020).,44 (Maj. op. by Spain, Dissent by Frost).

    FILE UNDER: appellate process
    ISSUE ADDRESSED: Should appellate justices explain their decisions so court users understand why they won or lost? 

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