Machete Prod. v. Page, No. 15-50120 (5th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Machete, a film production company, filed suit claiming that a Texas film incentive program was unconstitutional under the First Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, and Texas Constitution. The district court dismissed all of Machete's claims. The court concluded that Machete lacked standing to pursue its only available federal claim against the director of the Texas Film Commission in her official capacity. The court also concluded that Machete has not shown that it has clearly established that the First Amendment requires a state which has an incentive program like this one to fund films casting the state in a negative light. Consequently, Machete cannot show that Governor Rick Perry’s general counsel, David Morales, violated Machete’s clearly established rights in this context. Machete's due process clause claims are similarly unavailing. Finally, the district court did not err in dismissing Machete's claims under the Texas Constitution because Morales did not forbid Machete from filming, producing, or releasing its movie, but merely opted not to subsidize the film with Texas taxpayer funds. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment.