Judge Floyd has to do some 'splainin'

The SE Texas Record Jul. 28, 2011, 6:30am

"Lucy! You've got some 'splainin' to do!"

That's what Ricky Ricardo would say in his thick Cuban accent near the end of numerous episodes of I Love Lucy.

Lucy always was coming up with some crazy, harebrained scheme that would cause confusion and discomfort for her conga-playing, bandleader husband and their neighbors, the Mertzes.

Whatever it was and no matter how well-intentioned, the scheme inevitably would backfire and the ditzy but endearing redhead would be stuck explaining what on earth she'd been trying to accomplish and why she hadn't been candid and aboveboard in the first place.

Jefferson County District Court Judge Donald Floyd finds himself in a similar position – only it's not his spouse and neighbors wanting to know what he's been up to, but our State Supreme Court and the people of Texas.

At a 2008 trial in which Floyd presided, jurors concluded that DuPont De Nemours was not responsible for the death of former employee Willis Whisnant Jr. from mesothelioma. But Floyd threw out the verdict and ordered a new trial, offering no explanation for his decision.

In July 2009, the Texas State Supreme Court ordered Floyd to do some 'splainin' about his decision. He has yet to comply.

In the meantime, the Court has taken an interest in a second case in which Floyd set aside a jury verdict without adequate explanation. Jurors in that case rejected an injury claim against United Scaffolding after viewing a video of an obviously able-bodied plaintiff washing his sports car subsequent to the alleged injury.

The Supreme Court of Texas will hear oral arguments in the United Scaffolding case in October. DuPont has asked for a continuance in its case, pending that outcome.

That gives Judge Donald Floyd two months to come up with a convincing legal argument that says his decisions were not as arbitrary and capricious as they seem.

He's got a lot of 'splainin' to do.

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