Judge Floyd has one trial on hold while another starts up

David Yates Dec. 8, 2008, 7:14am

Judge Donald Floyd

With Christmas around the corner, the Jefferson County District Clerk's Office will suspend jury summonses for the next two weeks. However, there will be no shortage of proceedings for Judge Donald Floyd this holiday season, as juries have already been empaneled for two trials in the 172nd District Court.

Due to an attorney's vacation, the trial of Stacy Thompson vs. Dr. James Woodruff et al, which started Dec. 1, has been put on hold for a week.

To fill its absence, the personal injury trial of James and Lisa Levine vs. United Scaffolding et al began Monday, Dec. 8, in Judge Floyd's court.

As the Southeast Texas Record reported Dec. 3, the first week of the medical malpractice trial was full of fireworks as counsel from both sides got into a shouting match. Judge Floyd removed the jury and threatened the attorneys with contempt if the bickering did not cease.

The postponed medical-malpractice trial centers on Stacy Thompson, who sued several of her treating doctors in 2002, claiming they had negligently failed to diagnose her alleged breast cancer in a timely manner.

The Thompson trial should resume on Dec. 15.

In the meantime, a fresh set of jurors will have to decide whether the alleged negligence of United Scaffolding and Robert Travis III caused the injuries of James Levine, who fell through a gap between two scaffold boards while working at a Port Arthur job site.

According to court documents, the day after Christmas 2005, Levine was working on a scaffold that had been erected by defendant United Scaffolding. Co-defendant Travis had supervised the scaffold's construction.

Levine was tightening a flange on an exchanger when one of the scaffold boards, which the plaintiffs allege was not "properly secured," shifted, "exposing a hole that Levine fell through," court documents say.

Levine's suit does not say how far he fell, but does say the fall resulted in injuries to his neck, shoulders and back.

The suit also alleges defendants United Scaffolding and Travis negligently assembled the scaffold, failed to train Levine on how to use a scaffold and failed to provide him with a safe work environment.

In its original answer, United Scaffolding asserted Levine's injuries were solely caused by his own negligence.

Levine will ask jurors to award him damages for his past and future mental anguish, medical expenses and lost wages.

His wife Lisa is also asking for loss of consortium damages.

The Levines are represented by Tim Ferguson of Beaumont's Ferguson Firm.

United Scaffold and Travis are represented by attorney Kathleen Kennedy of the Benckenstein, Norvell & Nathan law firm in Beaumont.

Case No. E177-607

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