Floyd the facilitator

The SE Texas Record Aug. 2, 2008, 11:27am

Judge Donald Floyd didn't bother to say why he threw out the reasoned verdict of a Jefferson County jury earlier this summer.

He didn't have to, according to a Ninth District Court of Appeals decision this week. It denied a plea for relief by defendant DuPont-- thus thrusting one of the region's largest employers between a Beaumont rock and hard place.

On his home court, underdog DuPont beat back multi-millionaire plaintiff's attorney Glen Morgan fair and square, the jury ruled in March. Now that Morgan has been granted a do-over by Judge Floyd, the jury's weeks of work can be pitched.

And DuPont is left with two choices. It can try the case again, under the "objective" supervision of hometown referee Floyd, who has shown he's ready to enforce his own rules and re-start the game to help Morgan's side gain the upper hand.

Or, even though-- like the jury -- it believes in its innocence, DuPont can try to settle with Morgan, a big money player who doesn't sit in small stakes games.

And why would he when the dealer in this case, Judge Floyd, doesn't even explain why Morgan's losing hand has to be replayed.

Shocked when jurors sided with DuPont over a trial lawyer as rich and accomplished as he is, Morgan concocted a conspiracy theory to justify his courtroom failure and give his bruised ego a boost.

He alleged that DuPont got this newspaper to write reports on the trial, and jurors were unfairly influenced by them.

DuPont didn't beat him fair and square. He didn't lose. DuPont cheated.

We were embarrassed for Morgan when he took the step of filing with a straight face this pure speculation--supported by not a shred of evidence--as an official court motion to throw out the jury verdict.

Jefferson County voters should be embarrassed for themselves that an elected judge summarily trashed the jury's decision without an iota of explanation.

Judge Floyd's silence, and its incredible consequences, leaves the public on its own to figure out what was behind his decision.

Perhaps Floyd didn't state a reason because he didn't have one. Another possibility could be that it's better to side with a powerful local trial lawyer heavy than a handful of hard-working jurors who did their duty and returned to their private lives.

Donald Floyd ran unopposed in 2002 and 2006.

However, 2010 is just around the corner. Maybe those jurors-- and a few thousand more citizens like them-- will get to make a vote that can't be overruled.

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