When the Dallas County Commissioners Court needed an outside attorney to advise them on how to proceed with their investigation of Constables Derick Evans and Jaime Cortes, they turned to Sidney Davis Jr., a partner at Touchstone Bernays, over the objections of John Wiley Price. Davis was ultimately the attorney who signed off on the contract that allowed for the hiring of former FBI agent Danny Defenbaugh.
But when I called Dallas County Judge Jim Foster this morning to ask some questions related to the investigation, Peggy Lundy, Foster's executive assistant, delivered the stunning news: the 54-year-old Davis, a Dallas native, died at 8:30 this morning of complications related to the H1N1 flu. "It's devastating," she says, noting that Davis, who would have turned 55 in December, leaves behind a wife and three children. "He was perfectly fine a month ago."
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According to someone we spoke with at the firm -- where Davis had worked since 1979, when he was admitted to the star bar -- Davis did indeed have H1N1 flu, which had turned into pneumonia.
Zachary Thompson, director of the county's Health & Human Services Office, says his people are still trying to confirm Davis's cause of death.
Update at 2:45 p.m.: Thompson called back and says, "The preliminary lab reports confirm H1N1. ... But it just happened. We're not the attending physician, and we have no more information concerning this investigation. We will definitely look at this as we do all H1N1-related deaths, and there will be further information gathered." Thompson says Davis's death is the 12th H1N1-related death in Dallas County this year.
Bernard Zwillenberg, a former associate at the firm, says this about his old friend via e-mail: He was "a great guy, smart. ... He had an appellate and insurance coverage practice, and he was a Super Lawyer. Involved in many charitable type things, a really, really nice guy, went to UT Law, very good lawyer, great about helping younger lawyers in his firm, a real mentor.I have never known a lawyer that was worse at keeping his desk straight, an unbelievable disaster, but he knew exactly where everything was. Really a brilliant lawyer."