Add one more twist to Cayce Coskey v. Dallas County, a nearly 4-year-old case in which a former court reporter has sued Dallas County: Representing the county at the March 2 trial will be well-known Dallas plaintiffs attorney Lisa Blue. Blue says she volunteered to represent the county pro bono after discussing the suit with Dallas County First Assistant District Attorney Terri Moore. The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office typically represents the county in civil litigation. Moore declines to comment except to say she spoke with Blue and accepted her offer to participate in the case. “I’ve been a plaintiffs lawyer forever and it’s just something very personal to me. Whenever a law firm or a county or somebody that I know and care about gets hit with a frivolous lawsuit, those are the kinds of cases I enjoy doing for free. And I’ve done this before,” says Blue. She says she will be sworn in as an assistant district attorney this week for the purposes of trying Coskey. Blue says she represents Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins in a separate ongoing dispute between himself and the Dallas County Commissioners Court over the representation of the county in civil matters. But Sean McCaffity, a partner in Dallas’ Rochelle McCullough who represents Coskey, wants to make sure Blue is authorized to represent Dallas County. On Feb. 17, he filed a motion with visiting Judge Vicki Isaacks of Denton, who presides over Coskey, asking that Blue show she has proper authority to represent the county. McCaffity doesn’t want the dispute between Watkins and the commissioners court over representation of the county in civil litigation to threaten a jury verdict for Coskey. “The reason we filed it [the motion] is we don’t want to win at trial and then have the commissioners court second-guess us by saying, ‘Hey, we never approved’ Blue.' " McCaffity also disputes Blue’s characterization of Coskey’s suit as frivolous. “Frivolous cases don’t get to a jury,” he says. Blue says she does have proper authority to represent the county. Coskey alleges in her July 25, 2006, petition that Sally Montgomery, judge of Dallas County Court-at-Law No. 3, wrongfully terminated her employment as a court reporter in violation of the Texas Whistleblower Act, §554.001 of the Texas Government Code, after Coskey had a dispute with the judge. Montgomery is not a defendant in the suit but is a subpoenaed witness. As alleged by Coskey, the dispute in the case concerns whether Montgomery accurately had disclosed to the lawyers representing the parties in Bostic, et al. v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., et al. contact the judge's bailiff allegedly had with jurors in that asbestos wrongful-death suit. Coskey alleges she was fired after she reported the bailiff's alleged contact with jurors to defense lawyers in Bostic. The county denies the allegations. In a July 2006 interview, Montgomery denied that she terminated Coskey's employment, saying, "I didn't fire her. It wasn't working out."
-- John Council