In the end, personal injury attorney Thomas J. Henry scored the legal victory he wanted, successfully getting his divorce proceedings sealed following a dismissal of the case.
Judge Angelica Jimenez of the 408th Civil District Court issued an order on July 13 dismissing the case involving the well-known attorney and Azteca Henry and ordering it sealed. That order made all records associated with the case closed to the public, including the order itself.
According to the court docket, the case was dismissed with prejudice, which prohibits the parties from refiling on the same grounds.
“Any disagreement between the parties has been settled and resolved in an amicable manner,” said Bradley Coldwell in an email Thursday. Coldwell, of Austin law firm Coldwell Bowes, was one of the attorneys representing Azteca Henry.
An attorney for Thomas J. Henry did not respond to requests for comment Thursday. That attorney argued during hearings last year that his business interests provided grounds to close the divorce proceedings from the public, but a judge denied his request in July.
Though known by name and face from widespread television, billboard, and print ad campaigns and extravagant parties covered by tabloids as far away as the United Kingdom, Thomas J. Henry continued to fight to have the divorce proceedings closed.
Attorneys not involved in the Henrys’ case said last fall that divorce cases in Texas are almost always kept open because marriage laws are in the public interest. For example, the high-profile divorce of former San Antonio Spurs player Tim Duncan’s divorce proceedings was public in 2013.
Though the judge’s decision to seal the Henrys’ divorce case is not unheard of, the courts must always keep in mind First Amendment rights when making those decisions, said Amanda Crouch, an attorney from law firm Jackson Walker’s San Antonio office. The Dallas-based firm represented the San Antonio Report last year during efforts to keep the court proceedings open.
“It’s not unusual in high net-worth cases for the file to be sealed,” Crouch said. “That being said, there may still be a public interest in the case, depending on who the individuals are and whether it’s a matter of public concern. There would be public interest to not have it sealed.
“That’s true whether it’s a high net-worth divorce case, or whether it’s just a general trade secrets case, or whether it’s an employment case — there’s always a balancing act between protecting trade secrets, or confidential information, or financial information versus the First Amendment public right of access.”
Lawyers for Thomas J. Henry argued last summer that the personal injury attorney and Azteca Henry were not married when she filed for divorce in November 2019, making a divorce case moot.
The Henrys were married in Nueces County in 1993 and divorced in 2005. However, Azteca Henry maintained that they had a common-law marriage, continuing to live together after that time and presenting themselves as husband and wife.
The two also starred in a reality TV show on Youtube called “Hanging with Los Henrys,” produced and paid for by Thomas J. Henry. The show followed the couple’s multimillionaire lifestyle alongside their two children, Thomas Henry and Maya Henry, who are now adults.
The dismissal of the divorce case was first reported by the San Antonio Express-News.