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Motion for Summary Judgement Denied; Case Will Proceed to Trial.

Yesterday, February 13, 2023, a US Magistrate Judge recommended that SBISD's motion for summary judgement be denied in the matter of Elizondo vs. SBISD.

SBISD had requested summary judgement "on the sole basis that Elizondo cannot establish the first Gingles factor", one of three tests which the plaintiff must pass for consideration under the Voting Rights Act.

In order to prevail over a motion for summary judgement, Elizondo simply "must raise a genuine issue of fact regarding her ability to prove the first Gingles factor by a preponderance of the evidence at trial."

According to the filing linked below, "the Court finds Elizondo has met her burden to raise a fact issue regarding the first Gingles factor."

The Court arrived at this decision after reviewing evidence including:

  1. Expert testimony from a witness for the plaintiff;

  2. Testimony from SBISD staff; and,

  3. A report and testimony from an expert witness for SBISD.

Summary judgement is a high bar, the filing notes, saying:

"The party moving for summary judgment (SBISD in this case -ed.) bears the initial burden to prove there are no genuine issues of material fact for trial."

Regarding summary judgement, the filing then notes:

"The court construes the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party (Ms. Elizondo in this case -ed.) and draws all reasonable inferences in that party’s favor."

The plaintiff's expert witness seems effective enough to prevail, with the Court saying "Dr. Stein’s report, at a minimum, creates an issue of fact regarding" the first Gingles factor.

In addition to the plaintiff's own witness, the Court noted an SBISD employee seemingly acknowledging a fact issue around this first Gingles factor "based on SBISD's investigation". The filing quickly adds that this "testimony is not a judicial admission that conclusively establishes the first Gingles factor." Adding, "It is, however, evidence that can be considered by the Court in determining whether Elizondo has met her burden".

So, what was a long-shot attempt by SBISD to dismiss the lawsuit ultimately came up empty. Elizondo vs. SBISD appears to be headed to trial.

Save SBISD will continue to update you on developments in this case.

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