Conspiracy theory

By The SE Texas Record | May 16, 2008

We never thought of Glen Morgan as a creative writer.

The Beaumont asbestos lawyer broke out his storytelling skills last week, filing a motion with the Jefferson County court that reads like a John Grisham novel on crack.

The crux of it: after his recent swing-and-a-miss trial against chemical giant DuPont, he wants Judge Donald Floyd to grant him a new one.

In April following six weeks of testimony and evidence, a jury found the company wouldn't have to pony up millions to Morgan. DuPont was not responsible for the death of his client, the late Willis Whisnant Jr., it said.

Case closed; or not exactly. According to Morgan, there's subterfuge afoot.

"When one considers the overwhelming evidence of DuPont's negligence becomes clear that someone or something outside the courtroom must have influenced the jury's verdict," he wrote in the motion.

"In this case, the outside influence was almost certainly the Southeast Texas Record."


And here we thought jurors had minds of their own and were capable of using them. Or that the First Amendment allowed us to cover a public trial in a public court and publish news stories.

Not that Morgan has shown much respect for either concept.

To be sure, one might forgive his condescending view of the jury's wisdom. We imagine it must be hard for a "Super Lawyer" like himself to tolerate the thought processes of ordinary folks, especially when they don't agree with him.

But there's no excuse for Morgan's attempts to intimidate the press. During the trial, he tried to bully our reporter, David Yates, who was observing from the courtroom. And then one of his employees took it upon himself to start emptying our courthouse newspaper racks, trashing thousands of copies of the Southeast Texas Record.

And now it's our "influence" to blame for tubing their chances? That's rich.

Re-reading our accounts of the DuPont trial from our purview, an alternative explanation emerges to explain Morgan's courtroom failure.

Morgan himself.

In our analysis, he didn't prove his case. And his penchant for exaggeration--he asked the jury to come back with a verdict so large that the company's "right to exist should be taken away"--undermined his credibility in the courtroom.

Not that a rich and self-important trial lawyer would ever be caught soul searching. When plans goes awry for a man like Glen Morgan, somebody else has to be at fault.

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