Litigation

August 15, 2019

FormanWatkins Attorneys Recognized in 2020 Edition of Best Lawyers®

Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP is pleased to announce that 15 lawyers from our Firm have been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2020, the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. Best Lawyers® has published their list for over three decades, earning the respect of the profession, the media, and the public as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. Lawyers on The Best Lawyers in America list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise, and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing.

August 8, 2019

Jackson, Mississippi Arbitrator Nixes TCPA Suit

On August 2, 2019, Win Gault and Jake Banks obtained a defense verdict in an arbitration concerning claims brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“Act”).  Claimant maintained that Respondent (a national retailer) violated the Act by using an automatic telephone dialing system (“ATDS”) to place calls to her cellular phone to collect a delinquent debt.  After hearing all of the evidence and reviewing extensive briefing, the Arbitrator ruled in favor of Respondent, finding that its system did not qualify as an ATDS.  The Arbitrator reached this conclusion because Respondent’s system—unlike the illegal auto-dialers used by telemarketers to indiscriminately contact random individuals—cannot generate and dial random and sequential telephone numbers.  Gault and Banks are currently litigating forty-five TCPA cases in seven states.

July 31, 2019

Moir, Gray, and McLaughlin Obtain Defense Verdict in Santa Fe, New Mexico

A FormanWatkins trial team consisting of Peter Moir, Tim Gray, and Margaret McLaughlin just obtained a defense verdict in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  The case involved a claim that an equipment manufacturer supplied asbestos-containing components in equipment it provided to a copper mine and that the components caused the mesothelioma and subsequent death of a mine employee.  The defendant stipulated that the cancer was caused by asbestos exposure, but defended the case by contending that the employer was responsible for the plaintiff’s safety and any exposures from the client’s equipment were insignificant compared to other exposures at the mine.  The case was tried in the same courthouse in New Mexico in which a $165 million verdict was entered in a wrongful death case in 2018.  After a two week trial, including testimony by 8 expert witnesses, the jury deliberated for less than an hour before rendering a defense verdict.

May 22, 2019

Toman and Diesa Win Summary Judgment in Asbestos Litigation

New Jersey partners Tom Toman and Nicole Diesa recently won a summary judgment motion in New Jersey asbestos litigation.  Despite a tentative decision to deny the motion, the Court eventually granted summary judgment and found that based upon a failure to establish causation, plaintiff could not submit a legally sufficient case against the manufacturer of electrical products represented by FormanWatkins.  Ms. Diesa wrote the winning briefs, and Mr. Toman gave the oral argument.

April 5, 2019

Wilson and Hunt Win Summary Judgment in Insurance Coverage Dispute Case

Malissa Wilson and Courtney Hunt won summary judgment in a case involving an uninsured/underinsured coverage dispute. The plaintiffs were seeking $3 million in uninsured/underinsured coverage. The Court dismissed plaintiff’s complaint on the ground that the policies in dispute had been properly non-renewed and were not in effect at the time of the accident.

April 2, 2019

Wilson and White Obtain Favorable Ruling in Smith County Circuit Court

Malissa Wilson and Taylor White obtained a favorable ruling on a motion for judgment on the pleadings in Smith County Circuit Court in a motor vehicle accident case.  The Court dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint on the ground that her claims were barred by a previous Release and Settlement Agreement, under which she accepted settlement proceeds in full satisfaction of any claims related to the accident.

March 7, 2019

Gault and Banks Win TCPA Arbitration

On February 27, 2019, Win Gault and Jake Banks successfully obtained a defense verdict in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) arbitration.  The claimant maintained she received nearly 1400 unauthorized debt collection calls and sought statutory treble damages totaling nearly $2 million.  At the arbitration, both sides presented fact and expert testimony on the defendant company’s software system.  After hearing testimony and reviewing post-arbitration briefs, the Arbitrator concluded the claimant was entitled to nothing because the software system did not meet the statutory definitions under the TCPA.  Additionally, the Arbitrator addressed the claimant counsel’s call-baiting activities designed to increase the numbers of calls claimant received.  Specifically, the claimant’s counsel called the defendant company with the claimant on the call, instructed claimant to read a script, did not notify the company that he was on the calls, and secretly taped the discussions.  The Arbitrator called this conduct “deceptive”. Gault and Banks presently have TCPA arbitrations scheduled in five states in 2019.

February 4, 2019

Jury Finds Scooter Not Plugged Up, Did Not Blow Up

Malissa Wilson and Joshua Metcalf recently achieved a rare jury trial defense verdict in Claiborne County (MS) Circuit Court on behalf of the manufacturer of an electric scooter.  The products liability case involved allegations that the battery in an unplugged electric scooter combusted and caused the complete destruction of the plaintiffs’ home.  At trial, the plaintiffs sought to recover damages for the loss of their home and its contents.  Malissa and Joshua presented testimony from a certified fire and explosion investigator, as well as the client’s director of research and development, to demonstrate not only that the scooter and its battery were safe and could not have caused the fire, but also that the most likely cause of the fire was a propane gas heater in the same room as the scooter.  Convinced by the evidence and the arguments presented, the jury returned a defense verdict in less than an hour-and-a-half.  Assisting Malissa and Joshua in trial preparation were Courtney Hunt and Taylor White.

January 30, 2019

Gault and Ritchie Obtain Bench Trial Verdict

Win Gault and Spencer Ritchie obtained a bench trial verdict in favor of an oil and gas company in a contractual indemnity action pending in the Eastern District of Louisiana. The Court awarded our client contractual damages, attorney fees, prejudgment interest, and post-judgment interest totaling more than $800,000.