Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code
Title 5. Government Liability
Chapter 110. Religious Freedom
TRFRA Section 110.005 Remedies
For many people, this section will be the good part. Section 110.005 provides the remedies that you can receive from the state. It sets the amount of damages you can receive and addresses how you go about receiving the relief.
Sub-Section (a) specifies four specific remedies which this statute authorizes. The first is declaratory relief. This means that you can get a formal declaration from a court on your religious rights and how they have been violated according to the rules of the states Uniform Declaratory Judgements Act. The second is injunctive relief which bars another person or government agent from continuing to infringe your religious freedom. While it is unlikely that one district court judge can enjoin another district court judge, there may be other ways to benefit from this remedy. The third is compensatory damages for your losses. This means the state pays money to you for what you suffered. The fourth is compensation for your attorney’s fees, your court costs, and your other related expenses paid to you or your attorney by the state. All four of these are remedies that you can seek from the state as a result of the state burdening your religious freedom.
Sub-section (b) caps the compensatory damages you can receive at ten thousand dollars total. It is limited by the controversy and does not depend on the number of people involved. If more than one person’s religious freedom is infringed by a government action, this sub-section seems to limit the total compensatory pay out to ten thousand dollars. It is written in a manner that would prevent every member of a church, for instance, from each receiving ten thousand dollars for an action against the church. It would appear to also limit the compensation for a family who may be impacted by a court’s order to a single payout. This sub-section also denies all “exemplary” damages which seems to be typical when states allow themselves to be sued.
States have sovereign immunity and can generally only be sued when the state allows itself to be sued by waiving this sovereign immunity.
Sub-section (c) specifies that this action must be brought in a district court which simply means that to recover under this chapter, you must file a petition in your local district court.
Sub-section (d) prohibits anyone from suing an individual under this chapter. This means you do not sue your ex or any other individual who doesn’t work for the government. The point of this chapter is to sue the state not a person.
There is one technical exception to this. You can sue your judge as the head of their government agency; their district court is the agency, not the entire court system. However, you must sue your judge “in their official capacity.” What this means from a legal perspective* is that you are suing your judge as a representative of the state because they are the head of the agency responsible for infringing your religious freedom. In essence, when you sue a government official in their official capacity, you are not technically suing the individual and they are not personally liable for any losses. You are suing the state through them as the responsible party. This is a legal technicality with complex legal reasoning for why it is this way which isn’t necessary to go into here. Just know that suing your judge in their official capacity doesn’t expose them to personal liability or cost. The state will pay all costs and your judge will most likely be represented by someone from the Attorney General’s office. So don’t be alarmed if you see the Attorney General involved.
Sub-section (e) exempts application of this chapter to certain inmate related statutes which won’t matter to most parents using this chapter.
Subsequent posts on this topic will continue to explain the power of this statute and how it applies to parents in SAPCR proceedings. You will also find that we have created a package of training and assistance with using this statute in your case. Soon you will learn that using this statute you may get your attorney’s fees and costs paid for by the state of Texas. You may even get compensatory damages for the harm the court did to you and your child up to a maximum of $10,000. So, keep reading and when you have completed the free materials, inquire about the FFC Texas Religious Freedom Package that provides tools and shortcuts that you and your attorney can use to win your equal rights to your children back and to avoid costly mistakes that could prevent you from receiving the protection of this statute.
TRFRA Section 110.001 Definitions:
TRFRA Section 110.002 Application:
TRFRA Section 110.003 Religious Freedom Protected:
TRFRA Section 110.004 Defense:
TRFRA Section 110.005 Remedies:
TRFRA Section 110.006 Notice; Right to Accommodate:
TRFRA Section 110.007 One-Year Limitations Period:
TRFRA Section 110.008 Sovereign Immunity Waived:
This is the text of Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 110.001:
CIVIL PRACTICE AND REMEDIES CODE
TITLE 5. GOVERNMENTAL LIABILITY
CHAPTER 110. RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
Sec. 110.005. REMEDIES.
(a) Any person, other than a government agency, who successfully asserts a claim or defense under this chapter is entitled to recover:
(1) declaratory relief under Chapter 37;
(2) injunctive relief to prevent the threatened violation or continued violation;
(3) compensatory damages for pecuniary and nonpecuniary losses; and
(4) reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, and other reasonable expenses incurred in bringing the action.
(b) Compensatory damages awarded under Subsection (a)(3) may not exceed $10,000 for each entire, distinct controversy, without regard to the number of members or other persons within a religious group who claim injury as a result of the government agency’s exercise of governmental authority. A claimant is not entitled to recover exemplary damages under this chapter.
(c) An action under this section must be brought in district court.
(d) A person may not bring an action for damages or declaratory or injunctive relief against an individual, other than an action brought against an individual acting in the individual’s official capacity as an officer of a government agency.
(e) This chapter does not affect the application of Section 498.0045 or 501.008, Government Code, or Chapter 14 of this code.
Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1999.