Waiting for Floyd

The SE Texas Record Jan. 29, 2011, 8:35am

If you've never seen Samuel Beckett's absurdist play "Waiting for Godot," you've saved yourself the price of a ticket and a boring evening. Two utterly unappealing characters named Vladimir and Estragon spend two dull acts waiting for the arrival of the eponymous character, who never shows up.

It's absurd, get it? Kind of like an Andy Kaufman concert.

Presumably meant to wonder who exactly Godot is and why these two nebbishes keep waiting for him, playgoers are more likely to wonder why they spent time and money sharing such an unrewarding experience.

Anyone following asbestos attorney Glen Morgan's multi-year lawsuit against DuPont De Nemours knows the feeling.

After a six-week trial presided over by Jefferson County District Court Judge Donald Floyd, jurors concluded in 2008 that DuPont was not responsible for the death of former employee Willis Whisnant Jr. from mesothelioma.

Undeterred, Morgan moved for a new trial, arguing the evidence did not support the jury's verdict and that our paper's reporting on the case constituted jury tampering.

Floyd obligingly threw out the verdict and ordered a new trial, without offering any explanation for his decision.

In July 2009, the Texas Supreme Court ordered Floyd to explain himself. In the year and a half since, the new trial has been postponed three times and Floyd has yet to offer an explanation.

Last November, Floyd granted Morgan's motion for the most recent continuance, without moving the case to a later docket or offering an explanation. The case is now in legal limbo.

Whatever your opinion of absurdist theater, surely you agree it has no place in an American courtroom. Defendants are real people, not imaginary characters subject to the arbitrary will of the playwrights who create them. They deserve to be treated fairly and to have courtroom decisions explained and justified in a timely manner.

No one should be put through the absurd agony of waiting for Floyd.

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