Jefferson County District Judge Kent Walston may have no challengers in his bid for reelection, but his allegedly imperious actions in court are being challenged by a former defendant who claims he got railroaded.
Walston, a former partner at Branick & Devenzio, enjoys strong support from the trial lawyers who practice before him, with big contributions coming into his unopposed campaign from attorneys at Provost Umphrey, Reaud Morgan and Quinn, Moore Landry, the Ferguson Law Firm, and Weller Green Toups & Terrell.
Walston won’t get any support from Sherman Moore of S&S Investigations & Security, a Houston-area company offering guard services and alarm systems. Moore launched his company in LaPorte in 1998 and opened a branch office in Beaumont 13 years later.
That same year, 2011, homegrown competitor Patriot Security of Nederland filed suit against Moore and George Adams, a former Patriot employee who’d gone to work for Moore, accusing them both of misappropriating trade secrets.
The case finally came to trial four years later but lasted only a few hours, thanks to Judge Walston.
Moore says that the trial broke for lunch after only a single witness had testified, but never resumed. Settlement proceedings began immediately after lunch, with Walston telling Moore he didn’t want him hustling business in Jefferson County, according to a petition filed by Moore with the Supreme Court.
Moore says he was pressured by his attorney to accept the proposed settlement, but three days later, before a final judgment was entered in the record, he moved for a mistrial, according to the petition. Walston granted Patriot Security’s motion for summary judgment.
The Ninth Court of Appeals affirmed Walston’s ruling this past March, but Moore has now submitted a petition for review to the Texas Supreme Court, arguing that Walston abused his discretion when he granted the summary judgment in favor of Patriot Security.
“The anticipated or discussed settlement never reached fruition and all terms and obligations under the settlement were never presented or realized,” Moore’s brief states.
Welcome to Walston World.