Two more to be dropped from Walker civil suit

Calvin Walker

A federal court judge has recommended dismissing two more defendants from the civil complaint lodged by former Beaumont Independent School District contract electrician Calvin Walker and former school district Special Assistant to the Superintendent Jessie Haynes that alleges a mass conspiracy of roughly three dozen persons and businesses. According to the complaint, the “co-conspirators” are members of a network of people working toward a common goal: depriving Walker and Haynes of their constitutional rights, defaming and slandering their names, and ruining their reputations and businesses as part of a larger campaign to harm minority individuals who “stepped out of line” and “defied the status quo.” A total of 35 were named as defendants, and eight have already been released from the lawsuit pending appeals, including The Examiner and Beaumont Enterprise defendants, and Beaumont City Councilman Mike Getz.

This past week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Giblin penned the opinion that former Jefferson County District Attorney and sitting County Court at Law No. 2 Judge Cory Crenshaw and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas Malcolm Bales also be released from the suit. The final decision will rest with presiding Judge Marcia Crone, who has yet to rule.

In Walker and Haynes’ “Fourth Amended Complaint” of the mass lawsuit, Walker asserted claims against Crenshaw and Bales including defamation, tortious interference with a contract, civil conspiracy, and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) conspiracy. Haynes asserted claims of RICO racketeering against Crenshaw and RICO conspiracy against both Crenshaw and Bales.

According to the April 21 recommendation, it wasn’t only the argument posed by the defendants that swayed his opinion to rule on their behalf; Giblin stated that his recommendation for dismissal was also bolstered by the admitted facts written into the plaintiff’s claims.

“As a preliminary matter, while the Fourth Amended Complaint states that Bales and Crenshaw, acting in their official capacities, ‘deprived Mr. Walker of due process of law and equal protection of the laws,’ it is clear from subsequent filings that (Walker and Haynes) no longer wish to proceed with any official-capacity claims against either Bales or Crenshaw,” Giblin wrote. “Plaintiffs have stated numerous times in response to the motions to dismiss that they are only suing Bales and Crenshaw as individuals, not as public officials. The court will take plaintiffs at their word and recommend that all claims against Bales and Crenshaw in their official capacity be dismissed.”

Giblin noted that any claims brought related to performance in an official capacity would not have been found in favor of Walker and Haynes anyway, as public officials are immune from prosecution. In their personal capacity, Giblin further determined, neither Bales nor Crenshaw were even accused of any actionable offense.

Giblin recommended granting motions filed by Crenshaw and Bales that contend the lawsuit should be dismissed because it was both lacking in subject matter and failed to state a claim for which relief could be granted, and concluded that both Crenshaw and Bales should be dismissed entirely from the litigation.

Interested parties have until May 5 to file any written objection to Giblin’s recommendation before presiding Judge Crone affirms or denies the recommendation. Still awaiting dismissal – or trial – are other defendants including the BISD Board of Managers, two BISD Board of Trustees members, the local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, an assistant U.S. Attorney, and two agents with the FBI.