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Court of Appeals of Texas, Third District, Austin
November 12, 2021, Filed
Jose Antonio Venero Lugo, Scott D. Weaver, and Venero Law, PLLC (collectively Venero Law) bring this interlocutory appeal of the district court's order denying their motion to dismiss under the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA). See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §§ 27.001-011, 51.014(a)(12). In one issue with two subparts, they contend that the district court erred by denying the motion to dismiss because: (1) Gerardo Felipe Cordova Sanchez's claims against them in the underlying suit are based on and in response to their exercise of the right to petition, and (2) Cordova did not establish by clear and specific evidence a prima facie case for each essential element of his claims. We will affirm the district court's order.
Cordova, a Venezuelan citizen, immigrated to the United [*2] States in July 2016. After his marriage to an American citizen, Cordova wanted to file an "Application for Adjustment of Status" to become a permanent resident. Because of his limited English proficiency at the time, Cordova sought a bilingual immigration lawyer. He went to Venero Law, PLLC, and spoke with the firm's namesake, Jose Antonio Venero. Venero told Cordova that he was an attorney qualified to practice law in the United States and licensed to practice domestic law in Texas, that he had practiced United States law with a company in the United States, and that he used to be a lawyer in Venezuela. Cordova's spouse had a conviction for indecency with a child, and Cordova asked Venero during their initial interview whether that conviction would be a hindrance to the application. Venero told Cordova that it would not make a difference.
In January 2017, based on Venero's representation that he was qualified to practice United States immigration law, Cordova entered into a contract with Venero Law, PLLC, to represent him in filing an application for adjustment of status. That immigration-law matter involved filing several U.S. Immigration forms, including a Form I-130, Petition for [*3] Alien Relative. In exchange for what he believed was legal representation in this immigration-law matter, Cordova agreed to pay, and did pay, a fee of $3,000.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2021 Tex. App. LEXIS 9222 *; 2021 WL 5312323
Jose Antonio Venero Lugo, Scott D. Weaver, and Venero Law, PLLC, Appellants v. Gerardo Felipe Cordova Sanchez, Appellee
Subsequent History: Petition for review filed by, 01/11/2022
Prior History: [*1] FROM THE 126TH DISTRICT COURT OF TRAVIS COUNTY. NO. D-1-GN-20-004061, THE HONORABLE MAYA GUERRA GAMBLE, JUDGE PRESIDING.
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Constitutional Law, Bill of Rights, Fundamental Freedoms, Freedom of Association, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Preponderance of Evidence, Freedom of Speech, Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, Civil Procedure, Responses, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Freedom to Petition