A woman is suing the University of Texas Medical Branch in federal court, seeking $50 million for what she asserts was a campaign of sexual and racial discrimination.

Malisa Walker filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas against the medical branch and several of its employees, including Lawrence Sowers, Katherine Becker and Janie Garcia, asserting that since she was transferred into the department of pharmacology and toxicology in February 2016 she has faced discrimination.

Sowers, the head of the department, made several racial comments to other employees about Walker shortly after her transfer, the complaint asserts.

Sowers also asked for Walker’s help in getting rid of another African-American employee and complained to her that all candidates for another position were Middle Eastern, the complaint asserts.

Becker was then hired in October 2016 as an assistant administrator and Sowers then stopped communicating with Walker, according to the complaint.

Walker then had to take medical leave in November 2016 because she was pregnant, but suffered a miscarriage because of the stress brought on by work, according to the lawsuit.

About the same time, Walker stopped receiving work assignments and called for a meeting in January 2017 to discuss the matter, and was told that it wasn’t her supervisors’ job to give her duties, according to the complaint.

Walker then took a second medical leave in late January and received a call from internal investigations, according to the complaint.

Sowers later found out about the exchange and officials moved Walker’s desk in front of his office and he sent her an email complaining about her work performance, the complaint asserts.

“Under the broached idea, the plaintiff would sit at a desk directly outside of Dr. Sowers’ office, in the same way you would treat a gazelle by putting it in the same enclosure of a lion,” according to the complaint.

Sowers then denied Walker’s request for time off to deal with mental health issues, the complaint asserts.

Walker was later transferred and eventually had her work station moved once again, according to the lawsuit.

The defendant has not responded to the complaint, court records show.


A group of Texas nonprofits filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Ben Carson, the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, asking for the department to move ahead with a President Barack Obama-era fair housing policy.

The department in January gave cities until after 2024 to comply with a fair housing rule enacted in 2016 that requires local entities to take steps to undo racial segregation, according to a report by CityLab.

Any ruling could affect how Hurricane Harvey recovery funds through Community Development Block Grants are allocated in Texas, according to CityLab.

National Fair Housing Alliance, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service and Texas Appleseed were listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.


A Texas City resident is suing a Galveston County man, asserting he is reneging on an earlier agreement for a La Marque home.

Jose Lopez filed the lawsuit against Ray Neinas on May 3 in the Galveston County Court at Law No. 3, stating the two reached an agreement in November 2014 under which Lopez would pay $87,500 for a home in La Marque, according to the complaint.

Lopez paid an initial $4,000 for the home and has been making monthly installment payments of $1,100, according to the lawsuit.

The La Marque home was badly damaged during Hurricane Harvey, but Neinas never gave Lopez insurance money that was part of the agreement, the lawsuit asserts.

“Plaintiff believes that, although he has complied with the terms of the contract for the purchase of his home, the defendant is attempting to sell the plaintiff’s home to another buyer,” according to the lawsuit.

The defendant has not yet responded to the lawsuit, court records show.


There are no trials this week.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com


(4) comments

Terry Moore

50 million..puleeze!

Kathy Bee

$50 million was a printed error made by Mr. Matt DeGrood. But it's your Constitutional Right to believe whatever you want.

Matt DeGrood Staff
Matt DeGrood

The $50 million number came from the demand listed on PACER, which is a service that provides access to federal court documents. Based on all available documentation, the figure is correct.

George Croix

"... in the same way you would treat a gazelle by putting it in the same enclosure of a lion,..."

Kinda puts a bit of a hyperbole shadow on the rest of the complaints...imo...

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