We’ll be writing an in-depth article on the laundry list of judges in recent times who have ‘escaped’ discipline and get to keep their pensions and salaries due to the judicial ‘cover-ups’ that are only usurped by the Epstein case. In the meantime, we wish Jane Doe and her legal team good luck in trying to get this case to a jury, as Texas will protect their own…
Judge Earl Leroy Yeakel III (W.D. Texas)
UPDATE JAN 14, 2021
Former Burleson County Judge Mike Sutherland has agreed to settle a federal lawsuit brought by a former clerk in the Burleson County Attorney’s office alleging that Sutherland sexually assaulted her in 2017 at the courthouse and at his business, according to a Houston attorney representing her.
The most recent and relevant filing is the motion to dismiss by both Sutherland and the County which Magistrate Judge Susan Hightower addresses here.
U.S. District Court [LIVE]
Western District of Texas (Austin)
CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 1:20-cv-00126-LY-SH
|Doe v. Burleson County
Assigned to: Judge Lee Yeakel
Referred to: Judge Susan Hightower
Cause: 42:1983 Civil Rights Act
|Date Filed: 02/04/2020
Jury Demand: Both
Nature of Suit: 440 Civil Rights: Other
Jurisdiction: Federal Question
|Date Filed||#||Docket Text|
|12/18/2020||54||ORDER modifying case style. Signed by Judge Lee Yeakel. (lt) (Entered: 12/21/2020)|
|12/18/2020||53||ORDER GRANTING 52 Motion to Dismiss. Signed by Judge Lee Yeakel. (td) (Entered: 12/21/2020)|
|12/18/2020||52||Joint MOTION to Dismiss Unopposed by Mike Sutherland. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order). Motions referred to Judge Susan Hightower. (Carsey, John) (Entered: 12/18/2020)|
|12/08/2020||51||REPLY to Response to Motion, filed by Burleson County, TX, re 47 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Burleson County, TX (Magee, Jason) (Entered: 12/08/2020)|
|11/24/2020||50||Response in Opposition to Motion, filed by Jane Doe AW, Jane AW Doe, re 47 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Burleson County, TX Video Exhibits to be filed (Lewis, U.) (Entered: 11/24/2020)|
|11/23/2020||49||Response in Opposition to Motion, filed by Jane Doe AW, Jane AW Doe, re 47 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Burleson County, TX (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Ex. A, # 2 Exhibit Ex. B, # 3 Exhibit Ex. G)(Lewis, U.) (Entered: 11/24/2020)|
|11/22/2020||Text Order GRANTING 48 Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply entered by Judge Susan Hightower. Plaintiff’s Response to Defendant Burleson County’s Motion for Summary Judgment 47 is due November 23, 2020. (This is a text-only entry generated by the court. There is no document associated with this entry.) (SH) (Entered: 11/22/2020)|
|11/20/2020||48||Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply Motion for Summary Judgment [Dkt. 47] by Jane Doe AW, Jane AW Doe. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order Proposed order). Motions referred to Judge Susan Hightower. (Lewis, U.) (Entered: 11/20/2020)|
|11/06/2020||47||MOTION for Summary Judgment by Burleson County, TX. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit, # 2 Proposed Order). Motions referred to Judge Susan Hightower. (Magee, Jason) (Entered: 11/06/2020)|
|10/26/2020||46||Objection and Motion to Quash Deposition Duce[s] Tecum (Dkt. 17) is hereby DENIED. Signed by Judge Susan Hightower. (dm) (Entered: 10/26/2020)|
|09/04/2020||45||ANSWER to Complaint with Jury Demand by Mike Sutherland.(Carsey, John) (Entered: 09/04/2020)|
|09/03/2020||44||ANSWER to 12 Amended Complaint with Jury Demand by Burleson County, TX.(Magee, Jason) (Entered: 09/03/2020)|
|08/28/2020||43||ADR Report Filed – by Burleson County, TX, Mike Sutherland(Carsey, John) (Entered: 08/28/2020)|
|08/20/2020||42||ORDER ADOPTING 41 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS. Signed by Judge Lee Yeakel. (dm) (Entered: 08/20/2020)|
|08/05/2020||41||REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS re 19 Motion to Dismiss filed by Mike Sutherland, 17 Motion to Dismiss filed by Burleson County, TX. Signed by Judge Susan Hightower. (dm) (Entered: 08/05/2020)|
|08/04/2020||Text Order GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART 40 Motion to Extend Scheduling Order Deadlines entered by Judge Susan Hightower. The deadline for both Plaintiff and Defendants to designate expert witnesses is extended until 90 days from the date of the motion, until October 8, 2020. (This is a text-only entry generated by the court. There is no document associated with this entry.) (SH) (Entered: 08/04/2020)|
|07/10/2020||40||Agreed MOTION to Extend Scheduling Order Deadlines Expert Designation by Jane Doe AW. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order Proposed Order Granting Motion). Motions referred to Judge Susan Hightower. (Lewis, U.) (Entered: 07/10/2020)|
|04/15/2020||39||ORDER REFERRING CASE to Magistrate Judge Susan Hightower. Signed by Judge Lee Yeakel.. Referral Magistrate Judge: Susan Hightower. (dm) (Entered: 04/15/2020)|
|04/15/2020||38||SCHEDULING ORDER: Final Pretrial Conference set for 3/25/2021 at 04:00 PM and Jury Trial in the month of April 2021 before Judge Lee Yeakel, ADR Report Deadline due by 8/28/2020, Amended Pleadings due by 8/24/2020, Discovery due by 10/9/2020, Joinder of Parties due by 8/24/2020, Dispositive Motions due by 11/6/2020. Signed by Judge Lee Yeakel. (dm) (Entered: 04/15/2020)|
|04/15/2020||37||Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Lee Yeakel: Initial Pretrial Conference held on 4/15/2020 (Minute entry documents are not available electronically.). (Court Reporter Arlinda Rodriguez.)(dm) (Entered: 04/15/2020)|
|04/14/2020||36||REPLY to Response to Motion, filed by Burleson County, TX, re 27 Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 24 Response in Opposition to Motion, filed by Defendant Burleson County, TX, 17 MOTION to Dismiss Plaintiffs First Amended Complaint filed by Defendant Burleson County, TX (Magee, Jason) (Entered: 04/14/2020)|
|04/14/2020||35||REPLY to Response to Motion, filed by Mike Sutherland, re 19 Second MOTION to Dismiss filed by Defendant Mike Sutherland (Carsey, John) (Entered: 04/14/2020)|
|04/14/2020||34||NOTICE Advisory of Contact Number by Mike Sutherland re 31 Order, Set Hearings (Carsey, John) (Entered: 04/14/2020)|
|04/14/2020||33||RESPONSE TO COURT’S ORDER [DKT. 31] by Jane Doe AW. (Lewis, U.) (Entered: 04/14/2020)|
|04/14/2020||32||ADVISORY TO THE COURT by Burleson County, TX. (Magee, Jason) (Entered: 04/14/2020)|
|04/03/2020||31||ORDER, ( Initial Pretrial Conference by Telephone set for 4/15/2020 at 11:30 AM before Judge Lee Yeakel ). Signed by Judge Lee Yeakel. (dm) (Entered: 04/06/2020)|
|03/30/2020||Notice of Correction: re 28 Order on Motion for Extension of Time to File Response. Please note: a correction has been made on the date filed. Order will be re-noticed. (dm) (Entered: 03/30/2020)|
|03/27/2020||30||ORDER GRANTING 26 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response. Signed by Judge Lee Yeakel. (dm) (Entered: 03/30/2020)|
|03/27/2020||29||ORDER DISMISSING 25 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response. Signed by Judge Lee Yeakel. (dm) (Entered: 03/30/2020)|
|03/27/2020||28||ORDER GRANTING 27 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response. Signed by Judge Lee Yeakel. (dm) Modified on 3/30/2020 to correct date filed (dm). (Entered: 03/30/2020)|
|03/26/2020||27||Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 24 Response in Opposition to Motion, by Burleson County, TX. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Magee, Jason) (Entered: 03/26/2020)|
|03/25/2020||26||Amended MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 25 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 24 Response in Opposition to Motion, Unopposed by Mike Sutherland. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Carsey, John) (Entered: 03/25/2020)|
|03/25/2020||25||MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 24 Response in Opposition to Motion, by Mike Sutherland. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Carsey, John) (Entered: 03/25/2020)|
|03/24/2020||24||Response in Opposition to Motion, filed by Jane Doe AW, Jane AW Doe, re 19 Second MOTION to Dismiss filed by Defendant Mike Sutherland, 17 MOTION to Dismiss Plaintiffs First Amended Complaint filed by Defendant Burleson County, TX Proposed Orders (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order Proposed Order denying Motion [Dkt 19]], # 2 Proposed Order Proposed Order denying Motion [Dkt 17]])(Lewis, U.) (Entered: 03/24/2020)|
|03/23/2020||23||ORDER GRANTING 22 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response. Signed by Judge Lee Yeakel. (dm) (Entered: 03/24/2020)|
|03/17/2020||22||Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply ro respond to MTD Dkt 17 and Dkt 19 by Jane Doe AW, Jane AW Doe. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order Proposed Order Granting Motion)(Lewis, U.) (Entered: 03/17/2020)|
|03/10/2020||21||Summons Issued as to Burleson County, TX. (dm) (Entered: 03/10/2020)|
|03/10/2020||20||REQUEST FOR ISSUANCE OF SUMMONS by Jane Doe AW. (Lewis, U.) (Entered: 03/10/2020)|
|03/05/2020||19||Second MOTION to Dismiss by Mike Sutherland. (Carsey, John) (Entered: 03/05/2020)|
|03/04/2020||18||Proposed Scheduling Order by Mike Sutherland. (Carsey, John) (Entered: 03/04/2020)|
|03/03/2020||17||MOTION to Dismiss Plaintiffs First Amended Complaint by Burleson County, TX. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Magee, Jason) (Entered: 03/03/2020)|
|02/21/2020||16||ORDER GRANTING 15 Motion for Extension of Time to Answer ; Funky Junky answer due 3/6/2020; Mike Sutherland answer due 3/6/2020. Signed by Judge Lee Yeakel. (dm) (Entered: 02/24/2020)|
|02/20/2020||15||MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer to 12 Amended Complaint Unopposed by Michael Sutherland. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Carsey, John) Modified on 2/24/2020 to correct text. (dm) (Entered: 02/20/2020)|
|02/18/2020||14||ORDER Dismissing Motions in Member Case. Signed by Judge Lee Yeakel. (dm) (Entered: 02/18/2020)|
|02/08/2020||13||CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE by Jane AW Doe 12 Amended Complaint (Lewis, U.) (Entered: 02/08/2020)|
|02/07/2020||12||AMENDED COMPLAINT against All Defendants amending, filed by Jane AW Doe.(Lewis, U.) (Entered: 02/07/2020)|
|02/07/2020||11||ORDER Consolidating Cases. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the parties shall submit a proposed scheduling order on or before March 5, 2020. Signed by Judge Lee Yeakel. (dm) (Entered: 02/07/2020)|
|02/04/2020||10||Case Transfer and Opening Letter mailed to U.A. Lewis. (cj) (Entered: 02/04/2020)|
|02/04/2020||9||Order Directing U.A. Lewis to File a Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice within 14 days. Signed by Judge Lee Yeakel. (cj) (Entered: 02/04/2020)|
|02/04/2020||DEMAND for Trial by Jury by Jane AW Doe. (cj) (Entered: 02/04/2020)|
|02/04/2020||If ordered by the court, all referrals and consents in this case will be assigned to Magistrate Judge Hightower (cj) (Entered: 02/04/2020)|
|02/04/2020||Case assigned to Judge Lee Yeakel. CM WILL NOW REFLECT THE JUDGE INITIALS AS PART OF THE CASE NUMBER. PLEASE APPEND THESE JUDGE INITIALS TO THE CASE NUMBER ON EACH DOCUMENT THAT YOU FILE IN THIS CASE. (cj) (Entered: 02/04/2020)|
|02/04/2020||8||Case electronically transferred in from Southern District of Texas; Case Number 4:19-cv-04333. (Entered: 02/04/2020)|
|02/04/2020||Interdistrict transfer to United States District Court for the Western District of Texas – Austin Division. Case transferred electronically. Case terminated on 2/4/2020, filed. (ghassan, 4) [Transferred from Texas Southern on 2/4/2020.] (Entered: 02/04/2020)|
|02/03/2020||7||ORDER TO TRANSFER CASE to United States District Court for the Western District of Texas – Austin Division terminating 4 . (Signed by Judge Lynn N Hughes) Parties notified. (ghassan, 4) [Transferred from Texas Southern on 2/4/2020.] (Entered: 02/04/2020)|
|02/03/2020||6||CONFERENCE MEMORANDUM: Initial conference held. Appearances: U.A. Lewis. Ct Reporter: L. Wells. Order to be entered. (Signed by Judge Lynn N Hughes) Parties notified. (ghassan, 4) [Transferred from Texas Southern on 2/4/2020.] (Entered: 02/03/2020)|
|02/03/2020||5||PROPOSED ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO TRANSFER VENUE, filed.(Lewis, U.A.) [Transferred from Texas Southern on 2/4/2020.] (Entered: 02/03/2020)|
|02/03/2020||4||MOTION to Transfer Case to Western District of Texas, Austin Division by Jane Doe AW, filed. Motion Docket Date 2/24/2020. (Lewis, U.A.) [Transferred from Texas Southern on 2/4/2020.] (Entered: 02/03/2020)|
|01/02/2020||3||Supplemental AMENDED COMPLAINT with Jury Demand against Burleson County TX filed by Jane Doe AW.(Lewis, U.A.) [Transferred from Texas Southern on 2/4/2020.] (Entered: 01/02/2020)|
|11/05/2019||2||ORDER FOR CONFERENCE. Initial Conference set for 2/3/2020 at 11:00 AM in Room 11122 before Judge Lynn N Hughes (Signed by Judge Lynn N Hughes) Parties notified.(LoriPurifoyadi, 4) [Transferred from Texas Southern on 2/4/2020.] (Entered: 11/05/2019)|
|11/04/2019||1||COMPLAINT against Funky Junky, Michael Sutherland (Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0541-23496338) filed by Jane AW Doe.(Lewis, U.A.) [Transferred from Texas Southern on 2/4/2020.] (Additional attachment(s) added on 2/4/2020: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet) (cj). (Entered: 11/04/2019)|
U.S. District Court [LIVE]
Western District of Texas (Austin)
CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 1:20-cv-00014-LY
|Doe v. Sutherland et al
Assigned to: Judge Lee Yeakel
Lead case: 1:20-cv-00126-LY-SH
Member case: (View Member Case)
Cause: 28:1446 Petition For Removal – Sex Discrimination/Harass
|Date Filed: 01/05/2020
Jury Demand: Defendant
Nature of Suit: 440 Civil Rights: Other
Jurisdiction: Federal Question
There are proceedings for case 1:20-cv-00014-LY but none satisfy the selection criteria.
UPDATE MAY 7, 2020;
LIT can provide further update on this sexual predator case, the former judge from Texas, Michael Sutherland. The case has of course now been removed from State Court to the ‘friendly’ federal court in W.D. Tex. in January 2020. And below you’ll see the percolating standard Motion to Dismiss by Burleson County and/or Michael Sutherland. We’ll keep y’all updated accordingly.
DEFENDANT BURLESON COUNTY’S MOTION TO DISMISS
TO THE HONORABLE JUDGE OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT:
Defendant Burleson County, Texas and/or Michael Sutherland, in his official capacity as Burleson County Judge during the timeframe of the alleged facts relevant to this matter, (the “Defendant”) files this Motion to Dismiss and would show the Court as follows:
Plaintiff Jane A.W. Doe (“Plaintiff”) filed her Original Petition in the 21ST Judicial District Court in Burleson County, Texas on November 26, 2019. See Docket Entry No. 1, Exhibit A. The lawsuit named as defendants, the Funky Junky and Michael “Mike” Sutherland. Id. On January 5, 2020, Defendants Funky Junky and Michael Sutherland filed their Notice of Removal. See Docket Entry No. 1. Simultaneous with the removal of this case to this court, Plaintiff filed an amended petition in state court attempting to add Burleson County as a defendant.
IMPROPER SERVICE — FEDERAL RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 12(b)(5)
“Every defense to a claim for relief in any pleading must be asserted in the responsive pleading if one is required. But a party may assert the following defenses by motion: … (5) insufficient service of process; …. A motion asserting any of these defenses must be made before pleading if a responsive pleading is allowed.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 12. “Rule 12(b)(5) ‘permits a challenge to the method of service attempted by the plaintiff,’ or lack of delivery of the summons and complaint.” Nagy v. George, 2007 WL 2122175 *6 (N.D.Tex. July 23, 2007)(citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(5); Tinsely v. Comm’r of I.R.S., No. 3:96-CV-1769-P, 1998 WL 59481, at *3
(N.D.Tex. Feb. 9, 1998)). “A federal court is without personal jurisdiction over a defendant unless the defendant has been served with process in accordance with Rule 4 of the Federal Rues of Civil Procedure.” Id. (citing Pavlov c. Parsons, 574 F.Supp. 393, 399 (S.D.Tex. 1983)(holding the court had personal jurisdiction over defendants because plaintiff properly served them in compliance with Rule 4)). There has been no service of summons and complaint in this case to vest this Court with jurisdiction over Defendant Burleson County.
Under Federal Rule of Procedure 4(j)(2), service of citation and summons upon a local government shall be effected by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to its chief executive officer or by serving the summons and complaint in the manner prescribed by the law of that state for the service of summons or other like process upon any such defendant.” (Emphasis by italics added).
Section 17.024 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code provides for “Service on Political Subdivision.” Sub-section (a) of that section states: “In a suit against a county, citation must be served on the county judge.” Interestingly, §17.024(b), which pertains to suits against an incorporated city, town or village, permits service of process upon the “mayor, clerk, secretary or treasurer.” In City of Mesquite v. Bellingar, 701 S.W.2d 335, 336 (Tex. App.—Dallas, 1985), construing a predecessor statute with the same statutory provisions (Art. 2027 and 2028, TEX. REV. CIV. STAT. 1970) prior to codification into the Civil Practice and Remedies Code, the requirement for strict compliance with the provision requiring actual delivery of citation to the County Judge was made specifically manifest, i.e. that service on a County required actual service on the County Judge, and not his secretary.
Although Rule 4(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for service upon an individual by leaving a copy of the summons and complaint with “some person of suitable age and discretion” at the “dwelling house or usual place of abode” of the individual to be served, there is no similar provision under Rule 4(j) for serving a County by delivery of the complaint and summons with anyone but the “chief executive officer”. Likewise, Texas law, cited above, makes it clear that the citation must be actually “served” on the county judge in order to perfect jurisdiction over the governmental unit. As stated in Defendants Funky Junky and Sutherland’s Motion to Dismiss, Mike Sutherland resigned as the Constitutional County Judge of Burleson County, Texas on June 15, 2019. See Docket Entry No. 6, ¶6. To date, neither the Original Petition filed on November 26, 2019, or the Supplemental Petition filed on January 2, 2020 in District Court in Burleson County, Texas, has been served on Burleson County. Therefore, this case should be dismissed as Burleson County has not been served with summons and the complaint.
FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM – FEDERAL RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 12(b)(6)
A pleading must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing the pleader is entitled to relief.” FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2). While this does not require the Plaintiff to present “detailed factual allegations” to support its claims, the pleading may not be a simple recitation of the elements of a cause of action, but must contain sufficient facts, accepted as true, to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); see also Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556–57 (2007). This standard asks for more than the possibility of the defendant’s liability and requires the Plaintiff show the plausibility of entitlement to relief under the law. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557 (plausibility standard requires more than the previous “probability standard”).
To survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must present sufficient facts that would allow the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. While the court must take all allegations contained in the complaint as true, mere conclusory statements will not suffice. Id. Further, the court is not required to accept as true any legal conclusions couched as factual allegations. Id.
CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATION CLAIM
Plaintiff alleges that “Burleson County is jointly and severally liable to Jane Doe due to the actions of the county policymaker Mike Sutherland. Mike Sutherland was the County judge for Burleson County and acted under the color of law when he sexually assaulted Jane Doe AW, in November 2017, December 2017, and January 2018.” See Supplemental Petition, ¶78. Further, Plaintiff claims that “Burleson County Judge Sutherland was the owner of the Funky Junky when he used the facility to engage in the coercion, sexual harassment and illegal seizure of Jane A.W. Doe, without proper reason or authority, with deliberate indifference to the rights of Jane A.W. Doe.” Id. at ¶76.
It is undisputed that Plaintiff was not an employee of the Office of the Burleson County Judge. Plaintiff states that she “was working as a Criminal Clerk at Burleson County’s County Attorney’s Office.” See Docket Entry 1, Exhibit A, ¶1. Here, Plaintiff was employed by a separate elected official, the Burleson County Attorney. Plaintiff has failed to plead a cause of action under Title VII demonstrating that she was subjected to sexual harassment and/or a hostile working environment by her employer, the Burleson County Attorney. Further, Plaintiff’s vague and general Section 1983 claims should be dismissed because the alleged activity does not amount to a constitutional violation. Plaintiff has not and cannot establish any facts showing that she was terminated due to her alleged involvement with the Burleson County Judge. Plaintiff has failed to state any cognizable constitutional violation against Burleson County for which relief can be granted, and her claim must be dismissed as a matter of law.
OFFICIAL CAPACITY CLAIMS
Official-capacity claims are another way of pleading an action against a governmental entity of which the individual defendants are agents. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165, 105 S. Ct. 3099 (1985). “As long as the governmental entity receives notice and an opportunity to respond, an official-capacity suit is, in all respects other than name, to be treated as a suit against the entity.” See Id. at 166. Therefore, any claims against Defendant Sutherland in his official capacity are the same as a complaint against Burleson County and should be dismissed.
WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, Defendants pray that the Court grant their Motion to Dismiss, in relevant part, denying Plaintiff all relief requesting, dismissing Plaintiff’s claims in their entirety, and for such other relief as the court deems just and proper.
/s/J. Eric Magee
Eric Magee SBN: 24007585
ALLISON, BASS & MAGEE, L.L.P.
A.O. Watson House 402 W. 12th Street Austin, Texas 78701
(512) 482-0701 telephone
(512) 480-0902 facsimile
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I hereby certify that on the 27th day of January, 2020, I electronically filed the foregoing with the Clerk of Court and will send notification of such filing to the following via electronically and certified mail return receipt requested:
The Lewis Law Group
P.O. Box 27353 Houston, TX 77227
David F. Minton email@example.com John C. Carsey firstname.lastname@example.org Perry Q. Minton email@example.com
Service email: firstname.lastname@example.org Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C. 1100 Guadalupe Street
Austin, TX 78701
/s/ J. Eric Magee
Ex-Burleson County judge sued for allegedly raping former clerk
By Keri Blakinger Updated 4:25 pm CST, Sunday, December 1, 2019
An ex-clerk in Central Texas last week sued a former county judge, accusing him of repeatedly raping her in his Burleson County office and at his Caldwell cafe, the Funky Junky.
Identified only as Jane Doe in the 12-page legal filing, the unnamed accuser was working at the Burleson County Attorney’s Office in late 2017 when she says then-County Judge Mike Sutherland lured her to his eatery and sexually assaulted her, the first act in a pattern of violence that she alleges continued for two months.
Earlier this year, Sutherland agreed to step down after the State Commission on Judicial Conduct started fielded allegations he’d sexually harassed or had a relationship with a county employee.
“He was kind of notorious in the county,” said Houston-based attorney U.A. Lewis, who is representing the now-28-year-old plaintiff. “He used his position to harass individuals.”
Sutherland did not respond to the Houston Chronicle’s request for comment, but has denied the allegations both to the state commission and in interviews with local TV stations.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Burleson County will seek at least $1 million, Lewis said.
The filing details allegations dating back to April 2017, when Doe began working at the county attorney’s office in Caldwell, a small town about 20 miles southwest of College Station. Sutherland, who was “charismatic and intelligent,” would sometimes stop by the office and make inappropriate comments or “flirt with the attractive women employees,” the suit alleges.
One day that November, Sutherland allegedly invited Doe to the Funky Junky, at a time the eatery would be closed – though the woman didn’t know that when she agreed to go.
“Once she realized that she was misled by Sutherland, she attempted to leave,” the suit alleges. “Sutherland aggressively grabbed Doe, groping her body and pulling her into the kitchen area.” There, the woman alleged, Sutherland overpowered and sexually assaulted her, leaving her “paralyzed with confusion and fear.”
Afterward, she didn’t report the alleged assault because she was afraid people would doubt her claims about a “hometown hero and family man.”
Instead, she told only her husband and a close friend.
“If she would have reported Sutherland, she would face public humiliation and ridicule by the community,” the suit alleges, “as well as risk losing her career that she worked hard to get and financial stability to support her own family through Sutherland’s ability to retaliate against her because of his position in this small town.”
That same month, the suit claims Sutherland called Doe into his county office and pressured her into drinking cinnamon whiskey, then allegedly ripped her clothes off and performed oral sex on her before raping her on the conference table.
Afterward, Sutherland “repeatedly” sexually assaulted her until she lashed out at him in January 2018, the suit alleges.
Not long after that, Doe was fired for asking a different judge a legal question, according to her attorney.
Though the county apparently flagged that as a policy violation, Doe’s lawsuit alleges her termination was “based upon lies and policies directed at her and her alone since there is no support to show that a single person other than Doe has been fired for asking for legal advice.”
Before his abrupt resignation in June, Sutherland served five terms in office, according to local media reports.
As part of his agreement with the state commission, oversight officials will not seek further disciplinary sanctions and he will be permanently disqualified from serving as an elected or appointed judge in Texas.
Michael Sutherland assets that could have liens attached if he loses the lawsuit:
Residence: 500 W Buck Street, Caldwell, Texas 77836-1710
Business: Funky Junky, 106 N Main St, Caldwell, TX 77836
Prior Judicial Action Against Sutherland
JUDICIAL ACTIONS – To read the entire public sanctions, go to scjc.texas.gov.
On June 6, 2019, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct accepted a voluntary agreement to resign from judicial office in lieu of disciplinary action regarding Mike Sutherland, county judge, Caldwell, Burleson County.
CALDWELL, Tex. (KBTX) – Former Burleson County Judge Mike Sutherland has been accused of inappropriate conduct, according to state records obtained by KBTX
Sutherland agreed to resign from his position on Sunday, June 16, as part of a voluntary agreement he signed earlier this month with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.
According to the report, the action comes after the commission received two complaints against Sutherland alleging that he “sexually harassed a woman and/or engaged in a sexual relationship with a woman employed by Burleson County.”
The voluntary agreement did not detail the allegations but said, “no Findings of Fact or Conclusions of Law have been made.”
Click here to see the full voluntary agreement document.
The agreement says in exchange for Sutherland stepping down from his position as county judge, the commission would no longer seek disciplinary action on the matter. It also states Sutherland is forever disqualified from any kind of judicial service in Texas, including the performance of wedding ceremonies.
Sutherland continues to deny any wrongdoing and last week told News 3’s Clay Falls that he wanted to retire and believed it was the best time to step down.
DPS confirms there is no criminal investigation into the matter. KBTX has reached out to the Burleson County Sheriff’s Office and Caldwell Police Department to see if there is an ongoing investigation, but we haven’t heard back from those two agencies.
Sutherland began serving as Burleson County judge in 2003.
County Commissioners held a meeting Monday to address the judge’s resignation and how to choose his successor. Applications are being accepted on Monday and Tuesday for anyone interested in the position. The deadline to file is noon Tuesday, and the county hopes to have someone appointed by the end of the week.
“We want it on writing and it doesn’t have to be a résumé just as long as it’s a written statement stating your name and sign it and everything goes through the treasurer’s office,” said David Hildebrand, who is the Burleson County Judge Pro-Tem and Commissioner for Precinct 3.
He said they’ll interview applicants starting Tuesday. “We’re going to set up five-minute meetings with each one of the candidates,” he said. “We’ll take in all the applications. Then we’re going to go back into recess Wednesday at 1 and the Commissioners will discuss the applicants that we interviewed Tuesday. Then we’ll see what happens there and then if we have to have another meeting. We’ll have to post one for Friday,” Hildebrand added.
Residents like Richard Thompson wonder who the next county judge will be.
“Well I know it’s going to be quite a transition but I’m certain that all the people here will look real hard to find somebody to replace him,” said Thompson.
News 3 asked Hildebrand about the judge’s departure.
“The judge is going to be missed greatly. He did a lot for this county, I will say that. And he’s a good friend and I hated to see him go,” said Hildebrand. “As far as the rest of it I don’t know what’s going on,” he said.
The County Treasurer said the requirements for the new County Judge will be they must live in Burleson County and be 18 years of age. They also have to qualify for a $100,000 surety bond and cannot have any unpaid debts to the county. Earlier Monday afternoon five people had applied so far.
Former Burleson County Judge Mike Sutherland’s written statement issued last week to KBTX:
After serving more than 16 years as county judge, I am retiring from public service. It has been an honor to serve the good folks of Burleson County for all those years as County Judge.
I’ve got a beautiful family that I’m going to spend more time with and I’m looking forward to life in Caldwell as a regular citizen.
Over the past several months, for reasons I can’t fully understand, allegations have been made against me by certain individuals with the Texas Judicial Conduct Commission.
With my cooperation, the Commission has investigated these claims, which I have denied, and no findings have been made against me. There have been no grievances or complaints filed with the county regarding these allegations or any others against me during my entire 16 years of service.
With that said, the process has been stressful and I want the County to be able to move on without controversy or the potential for an unjustified loss of faith in our judiciary.
I am very proud of our work and the county’s development during these last 16 years and hope that I can be remembered as a positive part of progress.