The wife of well-known Beaumont plaintiffs lawyer Walter Umphrey settled a lawsuit she filed in April alleging a Houston woman seduced Umphrey and induced him to transfer money and property worth more than $2 million without the wife’s knowledge, consent or authorization.
On Monday, the plaintiffs in the suit, which include S.G. Umphrey, who is Umphrey’s wife Sheila, filed a notice of nonsuit, writing that they have reached a settlement with the defendants and all court costs will be paid by the parties. The plaintiffs gave notice they are taking a nonsuit with prejudice, which means the claims cannot be refiled.
Umphrey is a prominent Texas plaintiffs lawyer who obtained billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements in asbestos litigation. He is also well-known for helping negotiate a historic $17.3 billion settlement with tobacco companies on behalf of the state of Texas.
The plaintiffs in Umphrey Family Limited Partnership v. Jolyne Thompson include S.G. Umphrey and the Umphrey Family Limited Partnership. The defendants are Jolyne Thompson, JMT 2012 Homestead Irrevocable Trust, and Harold “Hap” May, a Houston lawyer at Harold “Hap” May PC in Houston.
Plaintiffs lawyer Zona Jones, a partner at Harrison Davis Steakley Morrison Jones in Beaumont, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Jones is a former partner at the Provost Umphrey Law Firm. Umphrey is identified in the firm’s website as nonactive since 2016.
May declined to comment, and the defendants did not file answers responding to the allegations. Thompson could not be reached.
The plaintiffs alleged in the original petition filed in April and in an amended petition filed on June 15 that Thompson and May acted “in concert” to conspire, defraud, injure and damage the plaintiffs by obtaining and receiving money and assets the defendants knew were the property of Umphrey and the partnership, and with the knowledge that Sheila Umphrey had not joined in that transfer. They allege May had knowledge of the “fraudulent scheme” and his expertise as a CPA and real estate attorney “were a substantial factor in defrauding plaintiffs.”
The partnership and S.G. Umphrey alleged that Thompson was introduced to Umphrey sometime around 2008 and “she initiated and participated in an affair with Mr. Umphrey.” They allege that beginning in 2008 and for many years, Thompson induced him to transfer significant property, assets and money to her in connection with the affair.
The plaintiffs alleged that in September 2008, Umphrey transferred $24,000 to Thompson to enter a World Series of Poker event in Las Vegas and she quickly became accustomed to such events and extravagant gifts.
The plaintiffs also alleged that in 2012 Umphrey “began experiencing early-onset Alzheimer’s.” The plaintiffs alleged in the original April petition that Thompson proceeded to take further advantage of him “with full knowledge of Mr. Umphrey’s diminishing mental faculties.” But that allegation did not appear in the first amended petition filed on June 15, three days before the plaintiffs informed the judge of the settlement.