Soon-to-retire 172nd District Court Judge Donald Floyd has been called upon more than once to justify his decisions – and more than once has offered dubious responses or none at all.
The Texas State Supreme Court once demanded that Floyd explain why he'd ordered a new trial following a jury decision holding DuPont De Nemours blameless for the death of a former employee.
Another time, Floyd proved unable to offer a satisfactory explanation for why he'd set aside a jury’s rejection of an injury claim against United Scaffolding (exculpatory evidence included video of the physically active “post-injury” plaintiff). After eight years of the case needlessly clogging up dockets, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of United.
We think no Texan who values justice is going to bemoan Floyd's imminent departure from the bench. (Thirty years of him in that position was three decades too many.) The question is, Will his successor be any better?
Plaintiff's attorney Tina Bradley hopes to be that person. The Hobson & Bradley partner has two opponents in the Democratic primary, but already has beaten them both handily in the fundraising segment of the campaign, amassing more than four times the amount of money raised by either of her rivals.
More than one quarter of that sum has come from the Ferguson Law Firm, founded by Paul “Chip” Ferguson, the former Provost Umphrey partner famous for targeting possible defendants with tempting assets.
A few years back, Ferguson secured a $32 million award by persuading a Jefferson County District Court jury to hold Domino’s responsible for a fatal accident caused by a pizza delivery boy, but the judgment was overturned on appeal.
The fact that the delivery boy had been driving his own car and that Domino's exercises no day-to-day supervision over the operations of its franchisees seemed not to have fazed Ferguson, but stuff like that never seems to.
The fact that he and members of his firm would go all in for Bradley should tell you what you need to know.