U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Kent's Social Conduct Prompts Further Investigation

It is improper for judges to seek or accept gifts from those with business before their courts, but whether it is proper for judges to jump into a lawyer's sports car and head off for a seafood lunch is a different matter coming into question in Galveston.

An anonymous source told the Galveston Daily News that U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent had lunch with Tony Buzbee - a lawyer who filed suit against oil giant BP in October 2006 - just after he ruled for the lawyer on a deposition request.

GALVESTON — At 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 6, 2006, Galveston attorney Tony Buzbee scored an important victory in a case involving 52 victims of the 2005 explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery. Minutes after the hearing, Buzbee took the judge who made the ruling, U.S. District Judge Samuel B. Kent, to lunch, said a witness who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal.

Buzbee and a lawyer for the judge didn’t confirm Friday whether the lunch took place. But if it did, there was nothing improper about it, they said.