A Locke Lord team of Tim Johnson, Nick Dickerson and Monika Dziemianczuk (all of Houston) secured a directed verdict of acquittal on behalf of Richard Rowe, President and CEO of Arkema, Inc., citing a lack of evidence to support a felony charge against Rowe for reckless emissions of hazardous materials from an Arkema chemical facility during Hurricane Harvey. The directed verdict clearing Rowe was issued by Judge Belinda Hill after the Harris County District Attorney’s Office presented evidence for several weeks during the State’s case in chief. It was the first time in Judge Hill’s career that she had issued a directed verdict.
Johnson was quoted by Law360 on the rare directed verdict ruling, commenting, "I've been involved in the criminal justice system for over 40 years, and I have never seen a more contrived prosecution in my history" and noting he was formerly an investigator and prosecutor. "It is beyond my comprehension how Mr. Rowe could have been charged with a crime as a result of what happened during the most unprecedented flooding event in the history of this county."
Dickerson commented, “We are relieved that Mr. Rowe and his family can finally move on from this baseless prosecution that never should have been brought.”
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Posted on October 1, 2020