BEAUMONT – A Status conference was held May 23 in a suit against a former district judge who had a process server arrested for allegedly disrupting his court.
Stephen Hartman filed suit against former 252nd District Judge Layne Walker, now an attorney at Provost Umphrey, on March 7 in Jefferson County District Court.
An outside judge has been called in to hear the case.
Court records show Walker filed a motion to dismiss the cause on May 17, arguing that plaintiff has not presented enough evidence to establish his case.
On May 12 KFDM.com reported that Walker was indicted for Abuse of Official Capacity, a State Jail Felony. The indictment alleges he used a computer, printer and several employees for personal, non-governmental services. The three other people were indicted on charges linked to the case of a process server who went into Walker's courtroom in 2013 and tried to serve him with a lawsuit.
As previously reported, on Nov. 23, 2013, local blogger and investigator Philip Klein sued Walker after the he had one of Klein’s employee’s arrested. The Klein employee, Hartman, had attempted to serve the former judge while he was holding court.
However, according to Hartman’s lawsuit, he waited until the court was on a break and had asked a sheriff deputy to arrange to serve Walker first.
Furthermore, Hartman claims he was forced to try and serve Walker at the Beaumont courthouse because when he first tried to serve the former judge at his home, Walker brandished a gun and his son chest-bumped him.
The suit names a plethora of defendants aside from Walker, including Sheriff Mitch Woods and former Assistant District Attorney Tom Rugg.
In all, more than two-dozen defendants are named in the lawsuit. Hartman seeks to collect up to $2 million in damages from each defendant.
Beaumont attorney John S. Morgan represents him.
In August, the Commission for Lawyer Discipline filed a disciplinary petition against John Morgan, seeking to possibly disbar the Beaumont attorney for making false accusations that several members of the Jefferson County District
Attorney’s Office smoke marijuana.
Walker is represented by Jeffrey Dorrell, attorney for the Houston law firm Hanszen LaPorte.
Case No. A-198246