Report heightens scrutiny of judge

“Finally, there are documents reflecting direct communications with Judge DeLaughter via e-mail with no apparent indication that counsel opposite was copied on these communications or advised of the fact of the communications,” the report said.

Yerger, Hinds County senior circuit judge, took over the Frisby lawsuit after DeLaughter removed himself from the case and was later suspended.

The state Supreme Court suspended DeLaughter until complaints against him are resolved. DeLaughter still is being paid his annual salary of $104,000. Meanwhile, special appointed Judges L. Breland Hilburn and William Coleman are handling his caseload.

The judicial performance commission investigation into complaints against DeLaughter is ongoing, Executive Director Brant Brantley said last week.

Attorneys involved in the civil case wouldn’t discuss specific details.

But Ed Blackmon Jr. and other attorneys for Frisby have argued in court that rulings began going in favor of Eaton after Peters became involved in the case.

Court papers say Peters was hired by Eaton’s then-attorney, Michael Allred.

Michael Wallace, an attorney for Eaton, has argued in court the company had no role in any action that Peters may or may not have taken.

Allred, DeLaughter and Peters all were served with subpoenas to produce documents.

The alleged theft of trade secrets also is the subject of a criminal case. Five former Eaton employees face charges in U.S. District Court in Jackson.

Clarion Ledger
11/24/8