Davenport appeal imminent, judge considering imposing sanctions against plaintiff

By David Yates | May 19, 2009


While plaintiff's attorney Valorie Davenport plots her next legal move after having her motion for a new trial dismissed, the judge who presided over the case is considering imposing sanctions against her client.

In April, Davenport filed a motion for a new trial after losing a medical malpractice case. Among her reasons for the request, Davenport accused the Southeast Texas Record of jury tampering.

Trial court Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, denied her motion at a Thursday, May 14 hearing.

However, it is now Davenport's client who could be facing sanctions for her interactions with the jury.

Court documents and testimony show that plaintiff Stacy Thompson contacted numerous jurors after she lost her medical malpractice case in January.

In one incident, Thompson sent a letter to a juror defaming the doctors in her suit, even going as far as to insinuate one of the defendants "killed a baby."

During the May 14 hearing, defense attorney James Woodruff II asked Judge Floyd to impose sanctions against Thompson, arguing that her actions have contaminated future jury pools.

Floyd said he would take Woodruff's motion "under advisement."

A court employee for the 172nd District Court told the Record the judge has not yet made a decision on the matter and does not know if he plans to do so.

The trial centered on Thompson's accusations that Drs. James Woodruff, Duane Larson and Scott Kacy negligently failed to diagnose her breast cancer in a timely manner.

According to court papers and trial testimony, Thompson sought treatment from Dr. Woodruff in July 1997, and after running multiple tests, Woodruff did not detect any signs of breast cancer.

A few months after Thompson's consultation, Dr. Woodruff retired. Over the next four years, Thompson was treated by multiple physicians, including defendants Larson and Kacy.

Thompson claims she continued to experience breast pain and other symptoms, and in 2001 Larson performed a biopsy that revealed an early stage cancer. She said subsequent surgery left her disfigured.

Thompson filed a suit 2002 and hired Davenport to represent her. The case finally came to trial in January, and on Jan. 30, Jefferson County jurors found no evidence of negligence by the doctors.

Dr. Woodruff was represented by his son James Woodruff II, Dr. Larson was represented by attorney Joel Sprott and Dr. Kacy was represented by attorney James Edwards.

At the May 14 hearing, Davenport said she planned to appeal if her motion for a new trial was denied.

Case No. E167-187

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