Provost Umphrey throws financial support behind Chappell in race to replace Judge Floyd

By David Yates | Aug 8, 2018

BEAUMONT – Throughout the years, the Provost Umphrey Law Firm has generously backed Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, come election time.

With Floyd set to retire and fellow trial lawyer Tina Bradley defeated in the May runoff, PU attorneys have now thrown their financial support behind Melody Chappell, a Democrat who will face off against Republican Mitch Templeton in November.

From May 13 to June 30, Chappell, a Wells Peyton Greenberg & Hunt attorney, raised $15,500 in monetary political contributions – most of which was supplied by PU attorneys, campaign finance records show.

In fact, all but $500 of the $15,500 came from Provost Umphrey and its attorneys. 

Records show all the PU contributions were made in late May, only days after the May 22 runoff between Chappell and Bradley.


Chappell  

Bradley, a toxic tort specialist with Hobson & Bradley, had held a significant financial edge over Chappell going into the March primary and May runoff, as area trial lawyers fueled her campaign with tens of thousands of dollars.

While records show PU attorneys did chip in a few thousand bucks for Bradley, the majority of the firm’s spending occurred after the runoff.  

PU attorneys who donated to Chappell days following the runoff include:

- A $2,500 donation made by PU partner Bryan Blevins on May 29;

- A $1,250 donation from Edward Fisher on May 29;

- A $2,500 donation from Joe Fisher on May 25;

- A $2,500 donation from Djuana Parks on May 29;

- A $1,250 donation from James Payne on May 29;

- A $2,500 donation made by the Provost Umphrey Law Firm on May 29; and

- A $2,500 donation from David Wilson on May 29.

Many of PU’s asbestos and benzene cases have ended up in Floyd’s 172nd District Court.

“When I think about someone who would replace Judge Floyd, I wanted a judge who had experience, who was independent, who had integrity – I have those qualities,” Chappell says in a campaign ad.

“I believe the next judge who sits in the 172nd should continue the legacy of Judge Floyd.” 

Campaign finance records also show Chappell nearly exhausted all the cash she recently picked up from PU and its attorneys, dipping into her war chest on May 31 to make a loan repayment of $11,294.81.

The Republican in the race, Templeton, is a partner at Templeton & Brinkley and has raised a little over $33,000 from Jan. 1 to June 30, records show.

Business and medical professionals, along with a few sizable donations made from notable attorneys, have supplied most of Templeton’s larger donations.

Templeton’s major contributors include:

- Dr. Nathaniel Alford, a critical care specialist who made a $1,000 donation;

- Brad Brock, a private equity investor, donated $2,500;

- Dr. William Cook, a radiologist, donated $1,000;

- Hamil Cupero, an attorney with Gulspan Industries, donated $1,000;

- Jones Walker LLP, which represents business interests in markets and industries, donated $1,000;

- Bill Kiker of United Rentals donated $1,500;

- John Mazoch of Coastal Welding Supply donated $1,000;

- Beaumont attorney Alan McNeill donated $1,000;

- Monte McWilliams, a writer and producer, donated $2,500;

- Craig Sico, an attorney with Sico White Hoelscher & Braugh, made a $2,000 donation;

- Lorin Spotts, a homemaker and investor, donated $2,500; and

- Rob Sutton, a self-employed surveyor, donated $2,000.  

According to his website, the “strength” Templeton can offer as the next judge of the 172nd are:

- Independence in the court;

- A level playing field for all parties;

- Decisions based on evidence, not bias, sympathy, or prejudice;

- Preservation of the law without legislating from the bench; and

- Depth of experience to manage the court efficiently.

“The late great Barbara Jordan said, ‘What the people want is very simple – they want an America as good as its promise,’” Templeton says on his website. “The people of Jefferson County want and deserve the same.

“They deserve a Court system that is a level playing field, and a justice system that is fair to the poorest individual and the richest corporation.”

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Organizations in this Story

Hobson and Bradley Jefferson County District Court Provost Umphrey Law Firm

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