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CAUSE NO.

98691

RUBY FAYE WOOLRIDGE, § IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF


Plaintiff §
§
v. § ELLIS COUNTY, TEXAS
§
JANA LYNNE SANCHEZ, et al., §
Defendants § 40th JUDICIAL DISTRICT

DEFENDANT/CONTESTEE SANCHEZ’S PLEA TO JURISDICTION & ORIGINAL ANSWER

SUMMARY

The Court lacks jurisdiction over this moot lawsuit by Ruby Faye Woolridge, a self-

described “incumbent candidate” for Texas’ 6th Congressional District Democratic Party

nomination. Suit was filed some 20 days after Ms. Woolridge lost the May run-off by more than

6% of the vote. It raises a challenge to runoff winner Jana Lynne Sanchez’s placement on the

original primary ballot, an election that took place nearly 100 days prior to this suit being filed.

Ms. Sanchez denies any fraud by her campaign. The small group of signatures that raised

suspicions were set aside before ballot petition filing. Those signatures appear to have been

collected by a person later revealed to have been helping the Woolridge Campaign while paid as

a contractor for the Sanchez Campaign and who later openly moved over to the Woolridge camp.

That person since admitted to signing a few names on behalf of voters (potentially a crime and so

reported to appropriate authorities prior to receipt of the lawsuit). As to the mail-in-ballots, those

were not distributed or handled by the Sanchez Campaign.

The Court alternatively is asked to dismiss under the Texas Anti-SLAPP law the suit’s

attack on Ms. Sanchez’s rights to free speech and to participation in the political process,

awarding the Sanchez Campaign attorney fees and costs of court. Ms. Woolridge was warned by

a state Democratic Party official that her claims lacked any merit, but rejects the voters’ decision.

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1. PLEA TO THE JURISDICTION

1.1. Ms. Sanchez requests the Court dismiss this suit in whole or part for lack of jurisdiction.

1.2. While also referencing the runoff election of May 2018 (¶4), much of the lawsuit focuses

on purported irregularities as to Ms. Sanchez’s obtaining a place on the ballot for the

March 2018 primary. Compare ¶¶ 6-7. There was no separate process for Ms. Sanchez to

be placed on the runoff ballot, once she came in second place in the primary.

1.3. A claim is moot when it cannot be tried and a final decree issued in time for it to be

complied with by election officials. Here, a court cannot overturn the results of the March

2018 primary election that occurred prior to the more recent May 2018 runoff.

1.4. Ms. Woolridge won the primary (by around 15 votes) and so lacks standing to argue that

the outcome of it was unfair to her. It is speculative to argue that Ms. Woolridge surely

would have won the runoff if only the candidate had been other than Ms. Sanchez or won

the primary if Ms. Sanchez had not been on that ballot due to an inadequate number of

signatures. For example, Ms. Sanchez could have paid a fee to be on the ballot.

1.5. Any challenge to Ms. Sanchez’s name’s appearing on the primary ballot had to be raised

prior to distribution of those ballots. The constraints on a court’s action are determined by

the election schedule and, based on separation of powers, no court may interfere with an

orderly election process.

1.6. The challenge to the political candidates of an office-seeker becomes moot when any right

which may be determined by the court cannot be effectuated in the manner provided by

law. The March 2018 primary cannot be undone.

1.7. TEX. ELEC. CODE § 141.034 bars challenges to compliance with form, content, and

procedure requirements once early-voting mail ballots are distributed.

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2. TEXAS CITIZENS’ PARTICIPATION ACT (“ANTI-SLAPP” STATUTE)

2.1. The Texas Citizens Participation Act (TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE § 27.001 et seq.)

protects from lawsuits that would intimidate or silence citizens on issues of public concern.

2.2. Seeking elected office, such as a seat in Congress, is a form of protected free speech. It

takes the First Amendment right to petition the government to its ultimate end: obtaining

a position from which one can vote on the laws as they are made. There are few if any

laws voted on by Congress that are not in some sense a matter of public concern.

2.3. The Act involves the targeted citizen’s filing of a motion seeking expedited dismissal,

demonstrating by a preponderance of evidence (i.e., more likely than not) that the suit

relates to or is in response to the citizen’s exercise of free speech, the right to petition, or

the right to association. The litigant must respond by disproving such rights are at issue or

by “clear and specific evidence” setting out a prima facie case for each element of a claim.

Failing that, the litigant also may have attorney fees, expenses, and costs awarded against

it. A court further may award sanctions against a party bringing an action designed to

repress free-speech rights and such sanctions are being sought against Ms. Woolridge.

2.4. Ms. Sanchez soon will file such a motion for dismissal.

3. MOOTNESS

3.1. As set out above in the discussion of the lack of jurisdiction, Ms. Woolridge’s claims that

Ms. Sanchez improperly was placed on the primary ballot are moot.

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4. GENERAL DENIAL AND OTHER MATTERS1

4.1. Defendant/Contestee Jana Lynne Sanchez2 generally denies Contestant/Plaintiff Ruby

Faye Woolridge’s claims and demands strict proof of them.

4.2. Neither Ms. Sanchez nor her campaign engaged in any fraud or other intentional

wrongdoing as is suggested by Ms. Woolridge.

4.3. Ms. Woolridge has failed to comply with all conditions precedent to bringing suit.

4.4. Ms. Woolridge failed to mitigate her damages.

4.5. Ms. Woolridge may not obtain equitable relief because of one or more of:

4.5.1. Unclean Hands—Based on information presently available, it appears that Rebeca

Ornelas was working undercover for the Woolridge Campaign while being paid by

the Sanchez Campaign to do work for it.

4.5.1.1. For example, it appears that Ms. Ornelas, while working for the Sanchez

Campaign in November 2017 entered Ms. Woolridge’s information into a

supporter database so that Ms. Woolridge would immediately receive updates as

Ms. Sanchez sent them out to supporters of the Sanchez campaign. It further

appears that Ms. Woolridge opened many of the related campaign update emails.

4.5.1.2. As well, after Ms. Ornelas left the Sanchez Campaign to openly work for

the Woolridge Campaign, some of Ms. Sanchez’s donors reported being

solicited for contributions by email from Ms. Woolridge’s campaign, though

they had given their email solely to the Sanchez Campaign and no others.

1
All claims in this answer are subject to correction as more information becomes available and
are pled in addition and in the alternative to each other.
2
Her name is doubly misspelled in the caption as “Janna Lynn Sanchez.”
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4.5.1.3. When Ms. Woolridge was asked to investigate the two matters above, she

responded with sarcasm and disdain.

4.5.1.4. Viewed in the light of the current frivolous lawsuit, Ms. Sanchez also now

wonders whether it was the Woolridge Campaign and/or its supporters behind

an earlier anti-Sanchez letter sent out to many people by U.S. Mail that

fraudulently identified itself as originating with someone who in fact had no

association with the communication.

4.5.2. Laches—Ms. Woolridge unduly delayed in bringing this suit, only doing so weeks

after losing the runoff election, rather than prior to ballots’ going out for the original

primary election. Also, the Rebeca Ornelas who appears to be a source for information

for Ms. Woolridge’s false claims of fraud seems to have been working for Ms.

Woolridge at least as early as November 2017 (when she appears to have entered Ms.

Woolridge into a database to receive Sanchez Campaign updates). Thus Ms.

Woolridge knew or should have known of any concerns Ms. Ornelas had during those

more than six months prior to the present lawsuit. (Based on the limited information

available at this early stage in the proceedings, it appears Ms. Ornelas openly began

working for the Woolridge Campaign in February 2018.)

5. ADDITIONAL FACTS

5.1. Though not by a large margin, Ms. Woolridge was the lead vote recipient in the primary

election and so should not be heard to complain of the outcome.

5.2. Ms. Sanchez won by more than 6% of the total votes cast (by some 717 ballots) in the

runoff, making it extremely unlikely that any irregularity claimed in the mail-in ballots

would be sufficient to overcome the difference.

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5.3. As well, Ms. Sanchez’s campaign did not distribute or collect mail-in ballots and so would

not have been in a position to falsely submit them on behalf of other people.

6. CONCLUSION AND PRAYER FOR RELIEF

6.1. FOR SUCH REASONS, Ms. Sanchez and her campaign call upon the Court to dismiss

Ms. Woolridge’s frivolous complaint and to award attorney fees, expenses, and costs, as

well as assessing sanctions against Ms. Woolridge for her unfounded claims that serve

only to harass Ms. Sanchez in an effort to punish her for defeating the self-described

“incumbent candidate.”

6.2. Ms. Sanchez further requests Ms. Woolridge be denied relief of any kind and that Ms.

Sanchez be granted such other and further relief in law and equity to which the Court may

find her entitled.

Respectfully Submitted,

SCHLEICHER LAW FIRM, PLLC


1227 N. Valley Mills Dr., Ste. 208
Waco, TX 76710
254-776-3939 telephone
254-776-4001 fax

BY: ________________________________________
David R. Schleicher TX Bar 17753780
david@gov.law

ATTORNEYS FOR CONTESTEE/DEFENDANT


JANA LYNNE SANCHEZ

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE: I certify by signature below that on this JUNE 18, 2018, a true
and correct copy of the foregoing and any attachment was served in accordance with applicable
rules on Ruby Woolridge by way of the e-filing system to her attorney James Polk. The other
parties are being served by certified mail to the address listed in paragraph 2 of Contestant’s
Original Petition.

David R. Schleicher, attorney for Ms. Sanchez


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