Southeast Texas Record

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Ninth Court affirms dismissal of suit against bailiff who arrested Hartman for trying to serve judge during court

State Court

By David Yates | Feb 11, 2020


BEAUMONT – Stephen Hartman, who has gained some notoriety for his bounty hunting exploits and work as a process server, recently lost another appeal.

On Feb. 6, the Ninth Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of Hartman’s suit against Steven Broussard, the bailiff who arrested him for trying to serve a judge during court. 

In May 2013, Hartman attempted to serve former district judge Layne Walker while he was holding court, leading to his arrest for disrupting court proceedings.

The evidence shows deputies instructed Hartman to leave but he refused. He was then handcuffed and forcibly removed. The criminal charges against Hartman were dismissed, as an internal affairs investigation found the deputies mishandled evidence.

In turn, Hartman brought a civil suit against Walker, which ended up in the U.S. Court of Appeals and was ultimately dismissed.

Court records show Hartman’s suit against Broussard was dismissed because the trial court granted Broussard’s plea to the jurisdiction.

On appeal, Hartman argued the trial court erred because he sued Broussard in his individual capacity and not his governmental employer.

The Ninth Court concluded that because Hartman’s claims could have been brought against Broussard in his official capacity and could have been brought against his government employer, Broussard is entitled to immunity from civil liability.

Hartman is known locally for more than just trying to serve a judge during court. A few years ago, Hartman drew media attention when he was convicted of deadly conduct.

While working as a bounty hunter, Hartman had attempted to run some women off the road and pointed a gun at them.

Hartman is represented by Beaumont attorney John Morgan.

Appeals case No. 09-19-00053-Cv

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