There are three types of reasoning: sound reasoning, flawed reasoning, and Floyd reasoning – as in Jefferson County District Court Judge Donald Floyd – which seems like no reasoning at all.

In a 2008 trial over which Floyd presided, jurors concluded that DuPont De Nemours was not responsible for the death of a former employee, but Floyd ordered a new trial, offering no explanation for his decision, prompting the Texas State Supreme Court to demand one.

The high court also took an interest in a second case in which Floyd set aside a jury’s verdict without adequate justification. 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 his supposed injury.

After eight years of bouncing back and forth between the two venues, this second case has finally concluded with the Supreme Court deciding in favor of United, reversing a $1.9 million judgment, and awarding plaintiff James Levine nothing.

Late in 2005, Levine fell halfway through a hole in the plywood on a United Scaffolding platform, allegedly spraining his neck. Three years later, a Jefferson County jury found him partly responsible for the accident and awarded him less than $200,000. Dissatisfied, he and his attorneys moved for a new trial and Floyd obliged “in the interests of justice and fairness.”

In response to United's appeal, the Texas Supreme Court concluded that “in the interests of justice and fairness” was not a “sufficiently specific reason” for granting a new trial, so Floyd amended his order, United appealed again, and the high court instructed Floyd to “resolve all ambiguity.”

The second trial concluded in February 2014, with the jury finding United completely to blame and awarding Levine nearly $2 million.

Floyd denied United’s motion for a new trial, the case wound up before the state Supreme Court one last time, and Levine's big check got voided.

We'd like to hear Floyd's explanation for this decade-long farce.

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Organizations in this Story

Jefferson County District Court
1085 Pearl Street
Beaumont, TX 77701

Texas Supreme Court
205 W 14th St
Austin, TX 78701-1614

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