A Fort Bend County Judge recently tossed a lawsuit against the Fort Bend Juvenile Board, represented by Rusty Hardin, and many others. The judge also fined the suing lawyer $340,000 in lawyers’ fees and sanctions and ordered him to attend courses on the law.
In the story “Lawyer loses suit over FBISD truancy process” (Houston Chronicle subscription required) the reporter explained that lawyer Deron Harrington first filed the lawsuit in 2015 claiming truancy laws weren’t being followed by Fort Bend ISD and too high a proportion of African American students were being sent to truancy court.
The paper noted that when the lawsuit was filed, truancy was a crime with high penalties and Fort Bend ISD was sending a very high number of students to truancy court, according to Texas Education Agency data. But the law changed soon after this lawsuit was filed and the Legislature decriminalized truancy in June 2015. Fort Bend ISD changed the way it was handling the matter.
“So Harrington was suing over policies that didn’t exist. Instead of dropping the lawsuit, Harrington added defendants and accusations, as his case unraveled. During the fall of 2015, Harrington said he had evidence of fraud occurring prior to the law change. ‘It’s on par with the mortgage meltdown, and it’s on par with Enron,’ Harrington said in March,” the article states.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Rusty Hardin was quoted by the paper. “We had a case for a year where we couldn’t figure out what the heck our clients were supposed to have done wrong.”
Harrington said he will appeal, the paper reported. Read more here (Houston Chronicle subscription required)