Another continuance sought in DuPont asbestos retrial

David Yates Jul. 25, 2011, 9:44am


Last November, a local judge, at the request of the plaintiff, continued a retrial of an asbestos lawsuit against DuPont De Nemours.

Seven months later, the defendant in the case is seeking to have the case continued again.

Over the past several years, the Southeast Texas Record has reported on the asbestos litigation filed by plaintiff Caryl Richardson on behalf of her deceased father and refinery worker, Willis Whisnant Jr.

DuPont won a jury verdict in early 2008. However, Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, tossed out the jury's decision and granted plaintiff's attorney Glen Morgan's motion for a new trial without any explanation for the ruling.

On June 27 DuPont filed an unopposed motion for continuance, asking Judge Floyd to continue the case once again "because the Supreme Court is considering a critical issue related to (his) order in granting a new trial."

Following two appeals and numerous hearings, in July 2009 the Texas Supreme Court ordered Judge Floyd to disclose his reasons for granting the new trial, court records show.

The judge has yet to give his reasons, court records show.

DuPont's motion states that the Supreme Court's ruling in the case In re United Scaffolding "will have relevance to the order in" its case. The court will hear oral arguments on the United Scaffolding case on Oct. 6.

Case background

Court records show that Whisnant, a former subcontractor for DuPont, died from mesothelioma in his late 70s.

Judge Floyd signed a final judgment on April 17, 2008.

Following the no negligence verdict, plaintiff's attorney John Morgan, of the Beaumont law firm Reaud, Morgan & Quinn, filed a motion for a new trial, arguing the evidence did not support the jury's verdict.

He also accused the Southeast Texas Record of jury tampering and of being agents of DuPont, court papers say.

Floyd granted the motion in a May 28, 2008, order, but offered no explanation for his decision.

DuPont is represented in part by MehaffyWeber attorney Sandra Clark

Case No. E179-183

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