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Judge signs restraining order against La Joya ISD in fight over insurance contract

After filing three lawsuits against the La Joya Independent School District over the course of just 11 days, a local insurance agent finally convinced a judge to sign a restraining order against the school district last week.

Alberto “Bob” Treviño of Pharr, who owns Workplace Benefit Advisors LLC, sued La Joya ISD on April 3, April 6 and April 13. The lawsuits, which are nearly identical, claim La Joya ISD wrongfully terminated a contract with Workplace Benefit Advisors.

The first two lawsuits fizzled when judges didn’t sign the restraining order. Apparently undeterred, Treviño filed a third lawsuit and convinced Hidalgo County Court-at-Law Judge Armando Marroquin to sign the restraining order on April 14.

“Certainly, we’re going to have some questions for Bob and his legal counsel,” said attorney Jaime “Jerry” Muñoz of Pharr, who represents La Joya ISD.

Muñoz said the nearly identical lawsuits may prompt questions about whether or not Treviño abused the legal process.

“Somebody’s going to have to make that decision,” Muñoz said.

Attorney Gus Acevedo of Pharr, who represents Workplace Benefit Advisors, said he anticipated that argument.

“That’s why we have judges,” Acevedo said. “And it’ll be up to the judge to decide.”

La Joya ISD approved a contract with Workplace Benefit Advisors in July 2022.

“As part of the agreement, Plaintiff was to provide LJISD with consulting and professional services to address LJISD’s and its employees’ various insurance needs and concerns,” according to the lawsuits. “The agreement is a term contract and was to remain in effect from September 1, 2022 to August 31, 2023.”

The contract included a clause that allowed La Joya ISD or Workplace Benefit Advisors to cancel with 30 days notice.

La Joya ISD terminated Treviño in March, when the school board settled a lawsuit with Ruth Villarreal Insurance of Mission. As part of the settlement, Ruth Villarreal Insurance agreed to accept a long-term contract with La Joya ISD instead of a cash payout.

La Joya ISD sent Treviño a termination letter on March 29.

“The notice is effective March 31, 2023 and we appreciate your sincere efforts in the separation,” according to the letter. “The District thanks you for your service and wishes you luck in your future endeavors.”

Treviño responded with three nearly identical lawsuits.

He filed the first lawsuit on April 3 under the name “Alberto Trevino d/b/a Bob Trevino Insurance Workplace Benefits Advisors.”

As part of the lawsuit, Treviño requested a temporary restraining order against La Joya ISD to stop the district from “taking any action to terminate Plaintiff’s insurance services contract.” The case was assigned to state District Judge Luis Singleterry, who didn’t sign the restraining order.

Treviño filed another lawsuit on April 6 under the name “AAAR Family LTD d/b/a Trevino Insurance Workplace Benefits Advisors.”

The case was assigned to state District Judge Israel Ramon Jr. He didn’t sign the restraining order either.

Treviño dropped both cases on April 13 and filed a third lawsuit, which landed in Hidalgo County Court-at-Law #10. Court-at-Law Judge Armando Marroquin signed the restraining order less than 48 hours later.

The restraining order prevents La Joya ISD from canceling Treviño’s contract until Tuesday, when the court is scheduled to hold a hearing on the issue.

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