HOUSTON – Before Orlando Sanchez’s suit was dismissed, he received a settlement offer from the man who poured water on him during a press conference – $200, “enough to cover (his) dry cleaning bill.”
Seeking more than $1 million in damages, Sanchez, a former Harris County treasurer, filed suit against Steve Striever on Jan. 31 in Harris County District Court.
In his suit, Sanchez alleged that on Dec. 28 Striever “knowingly” committed assault against him during a press conference “by pouring water on his head,” causing him to suffer “injuries and damages” as a result.
The incident took place at Northwest Mall. Sanchez, who lost to Democrat Dylan Osborne in November, was calling for state officials take over Houston ISD. Video of the incident shows a staffer tackling Striever after he poured the water.
“Defendant’s conduct was outrageous, malicious or otherwise morally culpable conduct that should be penalized by having exemplary damages awarded against him,” Sanchez’s suit states.
Striever responded to the suit with a motion to dismiss, stating he was sorry for pouring water on Sanchez but that his regret does not make the lawsuit meritorious, as Sanchez did not suffer any actual injuries.
The motion was brought under the Texas Citizens Participation Act, which exists to safeguard free speech.
Court records show the motion was granted and an order of dismissal entered on May 15, awarding Striever $7,643 in attorney’s fees.
Prior to the ruling, Striever’s attorney, Steven Duble, presented Sanchez with a settlement offer back in February.
“My client realizes that what he did was inappropriate,” the settlement letter states. “My client has authorized me to make the following offer of settlement: In addition to apologizing, my client is willing to settle this matter for $200, which should be more than enough to cover Mr. Sanchez’s dry-cleaning bill or any other expense he could have possibly incurred as a result of the incident.”
If Sanchez appeals the dismissal, the order allows Striever to recover up to $19,000 in fees if appealed all the way up to the Texas Supreme Court.
On top of punitive damages, Sanchez was also suing for his alleged mental anguish.
Houston attorney Hector Longoria represents him.
Cause No. 2019-07901