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The text of Sec. 171.208. CIVIL LIABILITY FOR VIOLATION OR AIDING OR ABETTING VIOLATION. reads (emph. mine)

(a) Any person, other than an officer or employee of a state or local governmental entity in this state, may bring a civil action against any person who

Does this mean that you can sue yourself for intending to have an abortion, admit to the planned abortion, pay the statutory damages to yourself in 1000 terms of $10 (or in one go if that doesn't cause other issues), and then file those thousand receipts as proof that the statutory damages have been paid in full.

After which any future action brought by anyone else for that specific abortion will have to be dismissed because:

(c) Notwithstanding Subsection (b), a court may not award relief under this section in response to a violation of Subsection (a)(1) or (2) if the defendant demonstrates that the defendant previously paid the full amount of statutory damages under Subsection (b)(2) in a previous action for that particular abortion performed or induced in violation of this subchapter, or for the particular conduct that aided or abetted an abortion performed or induced in violation of this subchapter.

Would this be a viable defense against this law?

Can those damages be forced to be payed to anyone other than the plaintiff?

Are there any other gotchas with this perceived loophole?

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    What benefit would there be in paying the damages in multiple transactions?
    – phoog
    Apr 11, 2022 at 10:21
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    @phoog imaginary tax or credit reasons, and being a general jerk to whoever tries to sue you. Apr 11, 2022 at 11:45
  • @phoog I've heard that there are people who don't have $10,000 in their bank account. Sep 12, 2022 at 3:31

3 Answers 3

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You'd be confessing to committing a crime.

I'm not a lawyer, but I wouldn't recommend trying it.

Sure, if this trick worked, you might be able to clear yourself of civil remedies, but there's a much bigger problem with this: with the repeal of Roe vs Wade, Texas once more criminalised abortion, and so this tactic would, by necessity, require confessing to a crime in a court of law. While that law expressly prohibited the levying of penalties against the pregnant woman, the law allowing for lawsuits against people who "aid and abet" abortions didn't seem to apply to them either.

As such, you'd be opening yourself up to fines of tens of thousands of dollars and a maximum prison sentence of life in jail.

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You can’t sue yourself

It’s a fundamental principle that you can only sue someone else.

However, there is no reason why your spouse (or someone else equally trustworthy) couldn’t sue you and give the money back to you.

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    But then the money given back might count as taxable income, perhaps? Apr 11, 2022 at 14:34
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    You can sue yourself in limited circumstances, as in the Utah case of Bagley vs Bagley where someone acting as executor of her husband's estate brought a lawsuit against herself for causing his death in a traffic accident (presumably hoping to be reimbursed by her insurance company). However this hinged on the interpretation of Utah law and application to the very different Texas case is uncertain.
    – Stuart F
    Apr 11, 2022 at 23:01
  • What if a legal person sues you, and you happen to be in charge of that legal person? Also, there are cases of the government suing itself. Sep 12, 2022 at 3:34
  • @Acccumulation you aren’t the legal person even if you control it. The EPA is a different legal person from the National Parks Service.
    – Dale M
    Sep 12, 2022 at 3:53
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You cannot waste the court's time

As the previous comment indicates, you cannot sue yourself. This arises out of the underlying principle that a court can, at most, order a remedy to a wrong. Thus, if you sue you, then you would pay you, and there would be no difference – except that you will have paid a court filing fee and wasted the court's time.

It may sound fun and technical to sue oneself. However, a key principle of U.S. law is that of economy of resources, which could never arise if courts were to allow people – for publicity or otherwise – to sue themselves, respond to themselves, put themselves on the witness stand, question themselves, object to their questions to themselves, etc.

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    Oh, please. The Texas law flies in the face of multiple basic principles of law. How would anyone have any standing to assert such principles in support of it? Sep 12, 2022 at 3:33

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