United States v. State of Tex., Civ. A. No. 5281.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
Writing for the CourtJUSTICE
Citation523 F. Supp. 703
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff, LULAC and G.I. Forum, Plaintiffs-Intervenors, v. STATE OF TEXAS, et al., Defendants.
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 5281.
Decision Date30 July 1981

523 F. Supp. 703

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff, LULAC and G.I. Forum, Plaintiffs-Intervenors,
v.
STATE OF TEXAS, et al., Defendants.

Civ. A. No. 5281.

United States District Court, E. D. Texas, Tyler Division.

July 30, 1981.


523 F. Supp. 704
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
523 F. Supp. 705
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
523 F. Supp. 706
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
523 F. Supp. 707
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
523 F. Supp. 708
Joseph Rich, Washington, D.C., Theresa T. Milton, Civil Rights Div., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., John H. Hannah, Jr., U. S. Atty., Tyler, Tex., for the U. S

Peter D. Roos, San Francisco, Cal., Ricardo DeAnda, MALDEF, Laredo, Tex., Roger Rice, Cambridge, Mass., Norma Solis, MALDEF, San Antonio, Tex., for plaintiffs-intervenors.

Mark White, Atty. Gen. of Tex., Richard L. Arnett, Asst. Atty. Gen., Austin, Tex., for the State of Tex.

ORDER

JUSTICE, Chief Judge.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Proceedings in the above-captioned civil action have been carried out within the ambit of a statewide desegregation suit instituted by the United States in this court on March 6, 1970. Leave to intervene, sought by the G. I. Forum and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), was granted on July 10, 1972, permitting those parties to participate "for all purposes as representatives of all persons of Mexican-American descent or nationality in the State of Texas." In their complaint in intervention, filed on that date, intervenors alleged, inter alia, that the defendants had failed "to take affirmative steps to correct segregatory and discriminatory educational practices throughout the State of Texas which deny Mexican-American and black children their right to equal educational opportunity ...." Complaint in Intervention, ¶ 27. On June 4, 1975, the G. I. Forum-LULAC intervenors filed a motion for supplemental relief. An amended motion for relief, listing twenty-six individual Mexican-American children as party-plaintiffs, was filed on October 4, 1977. The United States filed its separate motion for relief on January 20, 1978.

After the completion of extensive discovery, the final pre-trial order in this case was filed on November 20, 1978. Supplemental exhibit lists were subsequently tendered by the parties as amendments to that order. At the outset of trial, on December 3, 1979, it was announced that the defendants had withdrawn their prior objections to many of the proposed findings of fact listed by the plaintiff-intervenors in the pre-trial order. The agreed fact statements, introduced into evidence as Plaintiff-Intervenors' Exhibit No. 409, were stipulated to orally in open court by counsel for all parties.

The non-jury trial consumed a total of eight days. In addition to the stipulated facts and live testimony adduced at trial,

523 F. Supp. 709
the parties submitted voluminous documentary evidence and deposition testimony for the record. Several months after the conclusion of trial, both the plaintiff and plaintiff-intervenors filed extensive post-trial briefs. In lieu of a brief, defendants filed a document denominated "Defendants' Proposed Opinion", one hundred and fourteen pages in length

A memorandum opinion, based upon this comprehensive trial and post-trial record, was entered on January 9, 1981. 506 F.Supp. 405 (E.D.Tex.1981). The defendants were found to have violated the constitutional and statutory rights of Mexican-American school children throughout the State of Texas. The parties were ordered to meet in an effort to formulate a proposed remedial decree. Since no agreement was forthcoming, the parties submitted separate plans of relief. Following the receipt and consideration of those submissions, an equitable decree was entered on April 17, 1981, in accordance with the previously-filed memorandum opinion. The order requires the State of Texas and its educational agencies to improve and expand their programs of bilingual instruction for Mexican-American public school students possessing limited proficiency in English. Specific remedial measures are to be phased into existence over a six-year period, beginning with the 1981-1982 school year.

The defendants have levied a trichotomous attack upon the proceedings in this case to date. First, they seek to revamp the evidentiary record presented to the court at trial, some twenty months ago. Specifically, defendants contend that their legal representative, the Attorney General of the State of Texas, was not authorized to stipulate to various findings of fact proposed by the plaintiff-intervenors or to withdraw objections to various findings of fact and exhibits offered by the United States. Accordingly, defendants have moved to withdraw the stipulations from the record and to reinstate their objections to the plaintiff's proposed facts and exhibits.

Second, even if the stipulated facts were properly admitted at trial, defendants argue that the court transgressed its authority by addressing an issue not actually in dispute between the parties. According to defendants, pervasive, de jure discrimination against Mexican-Americans in the field of public education and the state's resulting duty to extirpate all vestiges of that discrimination under the Fourteenth Amendment played no part in this litigation and were not before the court for consideration. Since the resolution of that constitutional issue in the court's memorandum opinion comprised one basis for the relief subsequently ordered, defendants have filed a motion demanding that the opinion be withdrawn and the remedial decree vacated.

Finally, defendants have filed a motion seeking to stay the remedial order issued on April 17, 1981, in its entirety, pending appeal of that order. Defendants base their motion upon the strength of the contentions summarized above, along with a substantive attack upon the specific elements of relief prescribed. Under the applicable criteria for the entry of a stay pending appeal, defendants maintain that such an order is warranted.

Each of these pending motions, described above, raises different legal issues. Yet all three motions assail the conduct of this litigation to date. In the interests of judicial economy, the three motions shall be disposed of by a single order. Such a consolidated approach will serve to place defendants' multifarious contentions in context within the overall course of proceedings in this case during the past eleven years.

II. MOTION TO WITHDRAW STIPULATIONS AND REINSTATE OBJECTIONS.

A. Factual Background.

At the outset of trial, defendants' counsel stipulated in open court to some 456 statements of fact proposed by the plaintiff-intervenors. These stipulations were entered into evidence, without objection, as Plaintiff-Intervenors' Exhibit No. 409. Defendants'

523 F. Supp. 710
counsel also withdrew previously-stated objections to a number of exhibits and findings of fact listed in the final pre-trial order by the United States. That withdrawal of objections had originally been announced by defendants' counsel in a letter to the court dated October 31, 1979, and entered into evidence as Defendants' Exhibit No. 76. These stipulated and uncontested facts, taken together, comprised a significant portion of the probative evidence introduced at trial

On September 15, 1980, more than nine months after the conclusion of trial, defendants filed a motion to "clarify" the stipulations contained in Plaintiff-Intervenors' Exhibit No. 409. Defendants contended, for the first time, that they had meant to concede only that the statements had, in fact, been made, rather than to admit the truth of the statements themselves. Defendants asked that the stipulations be treated in accordance with that restrictive interpretation.

On December 31, 1980, a lengthy order was entered denying the requested relief.1 The history of the stipulations was explored in detail, beginning with the protracted negotiations among the parties which produced the agreement formalized at trial. The order recounted the unqualified use of the stipulations by all parties, both during trial and in post-trial submissions. Finally, the defendants' affirmative reliance upon these same stipulations in a related case, United States v. Texas (Gregory-Portland Independent School District), 498 F.Supp. 1356 (E.D.Tex.1980), was described. Defendants' concurrence in the proposed findings of fact, the court concluded, was a calculated element of trial strategy. Under applicable legal standards, the defendants did not meet their heavy burden of justifying the retraction or alteration of that deliberate decision long after the trial had ended.

Some six months after the denial of their motion to "clarify" the stipulations entered at trial, the defendants launched a second attempt to eliminate those stipulations from the case. In a motion filed on July 6, 1981, defendants contended, for the first time, that their counsel was not authorized to stipulate to findings of fact proposed by the plaintiff-intervenors or to withdraw objections to exhibits and fact statements offered by the United States. Defendants argued that they cannot be bound by the unauthorized acts of their attorney. In the interests of justice, they urged that the stipulations be withdrawn and the objections to the United States' exhibits and proposed findings of fact be reinstated. Alternatively, defendants asked that the use of these stipulated and admitted facts be restricted to this particular case.

Defendants offered several affidavits in support of their motion. Susan J. Dasher, Esquire, who served as defendants' trial counsel in her capacity as Assistant Attorney General of the State of Texas, asserted that "... the entering of the stipulations was not authorized by the policy-making officials of the Texas Education Agency TEA or my superiors at the Attorney General's Office nor was such authorization sought." At the same time, Attorney Dasher acknowledged that she reviewed the proposed...

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38 practice notes
  • Terrazas v. Ramirez, No. D-1817
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • December 17, 1991
    ...troublesome cases, or even agree to stipulations to narrow the issues to be litigated. Cf. United Page 747 States v. State of Texas, 523 F.Supp. 703, 712 n. 2 (E.D.Tex.1981). The consequences of the Gonzalez-Cornyn approach would be particularly devastating in the reapportionment context. U......
  • Mendelsohn v. Roslyn, LLC (In re Leff), Case No. 8-19-73377-reg
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Second Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — District of Vermont
    • June 21, 2021
    ...167 (1st Cir. 1986). Implied consent may be found if the claim is introduced in a post-trial submission. See United States v. Texas, 523 F.Supp. 703, 722 (E.D.Tex. 1981) ("Even the injection of new issues by parties, without objection, in their post-trial submission has been deemed to ......
  • Fineman v. Armstrong World Industries, Inc., Civ. A. No. 84-3837.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of New Jersey
    • October 8, 1991
    ...Jenkins 774 F. Supp. 231 v. Carruth, 583 F.Supp. 613, 615 (E.D.Tenn.), aff'd, 734 F.2d 14 (6th Cir. 1984); United States v. Texas, 523 F.Supp. 703, 720 Benvenuto v. Connecticut General Life Insurance Co., 643 F.Supp. 87, 88 (D.N.J.1986). See also Petree v. Victor Fluid Power, Inc., 831 F.2d......
  • People v. Bowman, No. 68539
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • September 26, 1990
    ...of attorney's actions is estopped from denying attorney's authority to act on his behalf); United States v. Texas (E.D.Tex.1981), 523 F.Supp. 703, 711 (client's failure to protest an unauthorized settlement in timely manner serves to ratify attorney's actions); Yarnall v. Yorkshire Worsted ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
38 cases
  • Terrazas v. Ramirez, No. D-1817
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • December 17, 1991
    ...troublesome cases, or even agree to stipulations to narrow the issues to be litigated. Cf. United Page 747 States v. State of Texas, 523 F.Supp. 703, 712 n. 2 (E.D.Tex.1981). The consequences of the Gonzalez-Cornyn approach would be particularly devastating in the reapportionment context. U......
  • Mendelsohn v. Roslyn, LLC (In re Leff), Case No. 8-19-73377-reg
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Second Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — District of Vermont
    • June 21, 2021
    ...167 (1st Cir. 1986). Implied consent may be found if the claim is introduced in a post-trial submission. See United States v. Texas, 523 F.Supp. 703, 722 (E.D.Tex. 1981) ("Even the injection of new issues by parties, without objection, in their post-trial submission has been deemed to ......
  • Fineman v. Armstrong World Industries, Inc., Civ. A. No. 84-3837.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of New Jersey
    • October 8, 1991
    ...Jenkins 774 F. Supp. 231 v. Carruth, 583 F.Supp. 613, 615 (E.D.Tenn.), aff'd, 734 F.2d 14 (6th Cir. 1984); United States v. Texas, 523 F.Supp. 703, 720 Benvenuto v. Connecticut General Life Insurance Co., 643 F.Supp. 87, 88 (D.N.J.1986). See also Petree v. Victor Fluid Power, Inc., 831 F.2d......
  • People v. Bowman, No. 68539
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • September 26, 1990
    ...of attorney's actions is estopped from denying attorney's authority to act on his behalf); United States v. Texas (E.D.Tex.1981), 523 F.Supp. 703, 711 (client's failure to protest an unauthorized settlement in timely manner serves to ratify attorney's actions); Yarnall v. Yorkshire Worsted ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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