BEAUMONT – Although Judge Justin Sanderson recused himself from a volatile lawsuit brought by area blogger Philip Klein in January, the district judge is still being pulled back in as a ruling of his now up on appeal.
Last year, Klein Investigations, owned by area blogger Philip Klein, filed suit against Kallop Enterprises and several of its subsidiaries, seeking several hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages for services rendered.
Judge Sanderson, 60th District Court, recused himself shortly after Tom Retzlaff, who is neither a plaintiff nor defendant in the case, initiated several complaints against him with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct for his handling of the suit.
At the heart of the case is a default judgment awarded by the judge months ago. Although a Kallop defendant declared bankruptcy, Sanderson allowed Klein and his attorney, John Morgan, to collect.
Court records show an appeal originally filed last August was reinstated on Feb. 23.
The defendants’ counsel, Jeffrey Dorrell, filed an appeal after a motion for sanctions against Klein and Morgan was denied.
The motion asserted violations of Texas’ anti-SLAPP statute.
Although as of Feb. 27 there are no briefs on file yet, Retzlaff says the original appeal of the default judgment and sanctions appeal will be decided at the same time.
Retzlaff, who has been tagged as a vexatious litigant, is also attempting to force Judge Sanderson to respond to his open records request, which, in part, seeks communications between him and attorney Wayne Reaud, a partner at Reaud Morgan and Quinn.
Retzlaff says he exposed Wayne Reaud’s involvement in the case when he spotted him at a hearing.
Retzlaff submitted the following statement to the Record: “It is my opinion that Justin Sanderson is going to great lengths, to include violating the Public Information Act, in an effort to conceal his communications with Wayne Reaud – communications which obviously had an improper and corrupt influence upon Judge Sanderson’s rulings in this lawsuit and which have resulted in an ongoing investigation by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.”
The Record, on numerous occasions, has unsuccessfully reached out to Reaud and Sanderson for comment.
Retzlaff has filed an appeal with the Office of Court Administration, seeking to have his request for records answered.
He has also initiated a complaint against Reaud for his alleged involvement in the case with the State Bar of Texas.
Judge Justin Sanderson is the son of former 60th District Court Judge Gary Sanderson.
Trial cause No. B-199953-A
Appeal case No. 09-17-0033-CV