Chancery Judge Michael Maloan rules equal visitation in Floyd/Wu hearing
Story by Shannon Taylor Senior Investigative Reporter
A hearing for visitation and alimony was heard March 22 in Weakley County Chancery court between Yueh Feng Wu (plaintiff) and Jo Floyd (defendant). Attorney Jeff Washburn was present and Attorney Amber Shaw, from Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh law firm in Covington came on board the case March 17 to assist Washburn in the representation of Floyd, was also present.
Shaw and Attorney Roy Herron (counsel for Wu) questioned witnesses in a five-hour hearing.
Herron started out by stating that Wu understood that Floyd was entitled to visitation, but that the visitation ought to be restricted and supervised due to Floyd taking the minor child to Michigan in Sep. 2022 because of her uncle’s death PRIOR to any injunction being made.
Points were made by Shaw that visitation should be ordered and that Herron’s only defense that visitation should be supervised was that Floyd was “unfit” but that there was no evidence produced to prove that claim. Shaw said, “it does no good for the child to be separated from the mother.”
Points were made by Herron that Floyd had protested on court square that her child was “stolen” and that Floyd claimed she had been “tortured for years” by Wu in her marital home. Floyd admitted to both these claims and stated that she believed them to be true and accurate.
Other issues brought up were checks that were sent to Floyd by Wu and Herron for “support” the past six months, to which no answers were evident after testimony. Floyd received a check from Herron’s trust in the amount of $120 and two other checks from Wu’s Smart Dollars business account in the amount of $200 and $120. Floyd never cashed the checks. When Shaw asked Wu about the money sent by Herron’s trust account, Wu testified that he had never deposited money into that account and that Herron billed him for it. Herron stood up and said that questions regarding that should be directed to him and Shaw stated that if Herron wanted to testify to that then it would disqualify him as counsel. When asked about the checks sent to Floyd from the Smart Dollar account, Wu said that the account was the only account he had, and that Herron’s wife Nancy advised him of the amounts to put on the checks. Wu also testified to using his business account for personal purchases like a truck he bought in 2021 as well as paying for personal bills with the account.
When Herron asked Floyd why she quit waitressing at CBR restaurant she said that she received a phone call that it was unsafe. Floyd said that there were details contained in copies of ledgers and bookkeeping records of Wu’s business as well as being followed by an unknown person and that she feared her life might be in danger due to that, but these issues were not further clarified in court.
Floyd testified that while in the relationship she was strictly regulated in what she could and couldn’t do. Floyd claimed that she worked at Smart Dollars without pay and Wu testified that he had no tax paperwork for Floyd. Floyd also testified that Herron was a regular customer at Smart Dollars and that when he came in for purchases that Wu told everyone not to charge Herron for anything in the store. Floyd also stated that she had found a copy of Wu’s will and that Herron had executive control of all of Wu’s assets. Concerns were raised that if Herron drafted the will, it would raise a state bar ethical issue, and Floyd implied that Herron was a partner/investor in Wu’s business, and did draft the will to the best of her knowledge.
Since the injunction against Wu six months ago, Floyd has had visitation five times with her son. Once at the marital home where she spent the night, and she stated the next day that Wu drove her and the minor child to the Sheriff’s Department because he said she had a warrant. Floyd said five officers came out to speak with her and all of this was done in front of the child. It turned out to be a criminal summons.
The next visit was for 10 minutes at McDonald’s parking lot on Christmas day. The next visitation was Dec. 31 where Wu dropped the child off at the hotel Floyd was staying at and she took him to Discovery Park. Wu testified that Floyd did not tell him that she took the child to Discovery Park which prompted him to follow her in a car unknown to her that he borrowed from a friend the next day he dropped the child off for visitation. Floyd spent that day in Jackson at Chuckie Cheese with the child and Wu followed her and testified to sitting in the parking lot while Floyd exercised her visitation and followed her back to Dresden. Wu said he didn’t feel it was serious enough to contact his attorney or law enforcement because he felt like he could handle the situation, but he was worried that she might flee with the child to Michigan like she had done once before. The next day he dropped the child off with Floyd who took him to Paducah to Skyzone and Wu did not follow her.
During Wu’s testimony he claimed that Floyd started acting differently in the summer of 2022 when she started taking diet pills and not acting properly. Wu said that since he has had the child that he could see a major difference in progress with him because Floyd had “babied him” and that the child was now “doing well and happy with tremendous progress.” Wu said he was concerned about the child’s wellbeing with Floyd due to her acting unstable and having no place to live, however Shaw brought up that there was no supervision when Wu was dropping the child off at the hotel with Floyd.
Wu testified that when the child was born that Floyd wanted to be a full-time mom and that he fully supported her in that but then also testified that now that they are getting divorced, he believed that she should work just as he works. He also testified that shared custody was not what was best for the child.
In closing statements, Herron said that the reality of the matter was that Floyd had worked before the marriage and that she was capable of working because she had time for social media, news media and protests. He said that no child support was paid by Floyd to Wu in the last six months and that Wu has taken care of the child and that the child was doing better than ever in his care. Herron asked for a psychological evaluation to see if Floyd should be allowed to take the child without supervision.
Floyd’s attorneys likewise had filed a motion, supported by an affidavit, requesting that Wu be required to undergo a mental evaluation.
During Shaw’s closing statement she said that Wu had not met the criteria for supervised visitation and that there was no evidence that the injunction should continue stating Rule 65 that Wu had not articulated specific facts “setting out any immediately and
irreparable harm that would be suffered by the child” and the injunction should be dismissed. Shaw also stressed that Wu was okay with Floyd being a stay-at-home mom until they disagreed.
After hearing all testimony and closing remarks Maloan said that the burden of proof was on Wu and that he failed to meet that burden of proof. Maloan also stated that there was no evidence of Floyd being violent or unstable. Maloan ruled to vacate the temporary restraining order and injunction and set visitation at 50/50 between the parties with each to have the child alternating weeks. Chancellor Maloan also ordered the husband to pay alimony at $2,500 a month and child support set at $750 a month. Maloan also stated that he would order a psychological exam of both parties and told Herron and Wu that Wu’s affidavit of income and expenses was not credible, that there were errors in the affidavit and that figures needed to be adjusted. A time will be scheduled by attorneys for Floyd to get her belongings from the marital home with both attorneys present. Floyd’s visitation should start Sunday, March 26 at 6 pm and rotate on a week-to-week basis between both parents until a permanent parenting plan is ordered by the courts.
When speaking with Washburn he said that he had been “working tirelessly on the case for the last three weeks and appreciated the court’s findings after at last hearing testimony from the parties.” Shaw said that “we are very pleased with the outcome.” Floyd said, “I appreciate the court serving justice and I appreciate everyone who has stood by me and helped me in this. This entire thing has brought me back to God. I’m just so happy to have my little boy again.”
The Weakley County Press reached out to Herron and Wu for statements but didn’t hear from Herron until the day before the story was going to print. The Press told him he had to meet the deadline at 2 pm or his statement would go out the following week.
This is only the first hearing of many. This is a developing story.