Attorney Paul ‘Chip’ Ferguson Jr. has apparently resigned from Provost Umphrey and bestowed upon the Beaumont firm a going away present, a lawsuit currently concealed from the public.
Named a “Texas Super Lawyer,” Ferguson filed suit against PU on Aug. 4 in Jefferson County District Court, seeking to restrain the firm for an undisclosed reason.
Ferguson, a former firm equity partner, attached an order to seal with his suit, which originally landed in Judge Gary Sanderson’s 60th District Court but was quickly transferred to Judge Donald Floyd’s 172nd District Court, according to courthouse officials and documents.
Floyd’s court coordinator, Donna Henry, said the judge has been on vacation since July 20 and has not yet returned to the bench.
She could not say why the lawsuit was sealed or transferred to the 172nd District Court.
The PU firm is a top political contributor to Floyd’s re-election campaigns, giving the max ($15,000) to the judge in the 2014 election cycle, campaign finance records show.
Judge Sanderson has been presiding over a trial for the last four months and was not immediately available for comment.
District Clerk Jamie Smith said he had no knowledge of the suit he could share and the clerks under him said a physical copy of the suit was not stored in the District Clerk’s Office.
The clerk who handled the suit said he/she had never seen “anything like that” and could not recall another incident where a lawsuit was filed with an order to seal.
The PU website has scrubbed Ferguson off the online roster, removed his bio page and closed his email account.
Allison Marble, a marketing director for PU, told the Record that Ferguson had indeed resigned from the firm but declined to comment further, refusing to even disclose the date he left.
Ferguson has handled several prized cases for PU, which includes scoring a $32 million jury verdict against Domino’s Pizza in 2013 – a top 5 verdict in Texas that year, according to the National Law Journal.
Attorney Glen Morgan, a managing partner at Reaud, Morgan & Quinn, represents Ferguson.
Morgan has not responded to a request for comment.
Case No. B-197407