Judge Floyd puts DuPont asbestos case on try or dismiss docket

By David Yates | Sep 28, 2012

After years of appeals and a jury verdict that was later voided, a Beaumont judge has put an asbestos lawsuit against DuPont De Nemours on the court’s try or dismiss docket.

Since 2007, the Southeast Texas Record has reported on the asbestos litigation filed by plaintiff Caryl Richardson on behalf of her deceased father and refinery worker, Willis Whisnant Jr.

DuPont won a jury verdict in early 2008. However, Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, tossed out the jury’s decision and granted plaintiff’s attorney Glen Morgan’s motion for a new trial without any explanation for the ruling.

Following two appeals and numerous hearings, in July 2009 the Texas Supreme Court ordered Judge Floyd to disclose his reasons for granting the new trial, court records show.

The judge has yet to give his reasons.

On Aug. 15 Judge Floyd set the case for jury trial on the court’s March 2013 try or dismiss docket, court records show.

The case had been placed on the court’s September 2012 docket, but DuPont filed an unopposed motion for continuance on July 5, asking Judge Floyd to continue the case once again because the Supreme Court is considering a critical issue related to his order in granting a new trial.

DuPont’s motion states that the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case In re United Scaffolding has relevance to the order in its case.

Case background

Court records show that Whisnant, a former subcontractor for DuPont, was in his late 70s when he died from mesothelioma.

Judge Floyd signed a final judgment on April 17, 2008.

Following the no negligence verdict, plaintiff’s attorney John Morgan, of the Beaumont law firm Reaud, Morgan & Quinn, filed a motion for a new trial, arguing the evidence did not support the jury’s verdict.

He also accused the Southeast Texas Record of jury tampering and of being agents of DuPont, court papers say.

Floyd granted the motion in a May 28, 2008, order, but offered no explanation for his decision.

DuPont is represented in part by MehaffyWeber attorney Sandra Clark.

Case No. E159-183Q

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