Beaumont attorney John Morgan doesn’t know when to give up. His wife divorced him in 2008, but he appealed the lower court’s decision and lost again. He also appealed lower court decisions on child custody four times and lost each time. Then he went after his ex-wife’s attorney.
Last year, nine years after his divorce, Morgan was sanctioned and assessed $65,000 in fees and penalties for that frivolous lawsuit.
Morgan also went after the judge overseeing the original custody dispute. Just last month, he was sanctioned for “vexatiously multiplying” legal proceedings against former Jefferson County District Judge Layne Walker.
In one such proceeding, Morgan filed suit against Walker on behalf of Port Arthur attorney Stella Morrison, alleging that Walker had “engaged in an ongoing pattern of harassment” against her.
Morgan accused Walker of having Morrison prosecuted for perjury despite knowing she was innocent, arguing that Walker was retaliating against Morrison because she and her husband had both run against Walker in judicial elections.
Finding the false perjury claim “frivolous and without factual foundation,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Giblin sanctioned Morgan and ordered him to pay nearly $30,000 of Walker’s court costs.
“[B]ecause Morgan unreasonably and vexatiously multiplied the proceedings with an improper motive, and in reckless violation of a duty he owed to the court, some of Walker’s costs will be imposed on Morgan,” Judge Giblin ruled.
Morgan “jumped to improper and false conclusions to try to make the case against Walker stronger,” the judge concluded, and allowed Morrison to plead false contentions “either by her own ignorance or malice.”
Morgan and Morrison had rejected Walker’s offer to withdraw his motion for sanctions in return for a public apology from each of them.
That seems like a generous way to let false accusers out of a lawsuit that never should have been filed. But Morgan is his own worst enemy. Refusing to sign that letter cost him $30,000. That’s in addition to the $65,000 assessed against him last year.
Being inflexible can get expensive.