Floyd not charmed this time

The SE Texas Record May 15, 2009, 6:30pm

Judge Donald Floyd can be a man of few words-- sometimes no words.

We'll never know precisely why some lawyers' storytelling resonates more with him.

Last year, when big-time Beaumont attorney Glen Morgan partially blamed his humiliating defeat in an asbestos case on fictional "jury tampering" by this newspaper, Floyd was quick to grant him a new trial.

But when attorney Valerie Davenport tried the same tactic this week, blaming our reporting, in part, for her failure to convince a jury to rule against a doctor, Floyd wasn't so understanding. No new trial, he swiftly ordered.

In both cases, the judge offered no explanation for his thought process. Unfortunately for him, that leaves us to surmise on our own.

During both trials, neither lawyer liked the media spotlight.

After we reported Morgan's sensational opening statement that DuPont, the company he was suing, should have its "right to exist...taken away," the lawyer tried to throw our reporter out of the courtroom.

For reporting that Judge Floyd admonished Davenport during the trial after she left the courtroom to attend another hearing, she accused our newspaper of "slanderous and inaccurate" stories and asked for a mistrial.

After losing, both Morgan and Davenport made equally incredible accusations--that The Record's reporters submarined their cases by influencing jurors. But neither offered any evidence supporting the charges.

That's not a surprise. Like monsters under a toddler's bed, these media conspiracies were figments of overheated trial lawyer imaginations.

Davenport claimed she heard that "agents" of our newspaper "apparently" passed out newspapers to jurors while they were sitting in the hallway outside the Jefferson County courtroom. Morgan generally blamed our influence via osmosis: he's so charming he never loses, so we had to be to blame, he argued.

That Floyd sided with Morgan suggests he might have been taken by the man's charm. As for Davenport, she needs more charm schooling.

Maybe it's the hat?

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