After a long legal battle against Apache Corp, which was apparently going to end on October 2nd, 2020 when the Texas Supreme Court declined the group’s petition to review the case, justice seems to have changed sides upon receiving a $250,000 donation from Apache.
The case started after the oil giant from Houston fired Cathryn Davis, who worked as a paralegal, and consequently sued the company over age and gender discrimination claims.
The jury who heard the case agreed with Cathryn’s claims and granted her a $900,000 award in damages and attorney fees, to which Apache appealed, unsuccessfully.
However, just last month Apache Corp. made an unprecedented donation of $250,000 to the Judicial Fairness Political Action Committee, a recently created group to support judges who seek re-election.
As reported by the Houston Chronicle, Apache’s appeal occurred while two of the nine Republican justices were simultaneously campaigning and making decisions about the company’s case, and two weeks after each of the incumbents won, Apache filed its motion for rehearing.
Although this is not the first time that the Houston oil company has donated to a PAC, it has been by far, the largest.
According to a research by Reform Austin Staff, in 2020 Apache made several donations to other political groups, including a $5,000 donation to Texans for Greg Abbot, and a $119,840 donation to the Texas Now PAC, Apache’s very own PAC.
Since 2000, Apache Corp has donated a total of $873,521.86 to hundreds of statewide legislative candidates and officials, however, their most recent contribution to the Texas Supreme Court PAC accounts for 28.26% of their global donations.
It has been found that the Court refuses to reconsider its decisions nearly 98 percent of the time, but conveniently after the donation, they concluded that against the jury’s findings, the company was going to fire Davis before she complained about discrimination.
And just like that, Cathryn Davis lost the case.
The money Apache contributed to the justices while they were considering the appeal “creates the appearance that justice is for sale in Texas and undermines the Texas Supreme Court’s appearance of independence, impartiality and neutrality,” said Scott Newar, Davis’ attorney.