Litigation

March 19, 2020

Gault and Ritchie Complete Successful Jury Trial

Win Gault and Spencer Ritchie completed a successful jury trial for an international oil field supply company in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.  The plaintiff claimed almost $10 million for property damage to its business and clean-up costs resulting from a spill of hydrochloric acid.  After a successful partial motion to dismiss, a partial motion for summary judgment, and an eight day jury trial, the jury awarded plaintiff 5% of the original damage claim.

March 4, 2020

Maron, Metcalf, and Giallourakis Win Summary Judgment

FormanWatkins attorneys Ruth Maron, Joshua Metcalf, and Nick Giallourakis worked with attorneys from Bullivant Houser Bailey to obtain summary judgment in a King County, Washington living mesothelioma case on February 28, 2020.  FormanWatkins and Bullivant Houser convinced Judge John Ruhl that plaintiffs’ claims should be dismissed because neither the plaintiffs nor plaintiffs’ experts had offered sufficient evidence of exposure to our client’s product.  Judge Ruhl determined that plaintiffs had not actually testified to exposure to our client’s product and further rejected an affidavit from plaintiffs’ expert, Dr. Arthur Frank, as too speculative and conclusory to create a genuine issue of material fact.  Our client was one of only two remaining defendants, and the case is set for trial on April 6, 2020.

February 28, 2020

Forest Products Team Wins Summary Judgment

In another win for our forest products team, on February 21, 2020, FormanWatkins won summary judgment on all counts on behalf of a dimensional lumber manufacturer in a case involving a plaintiff’s alleged childhood exposure to softwood dust in his father’s hobby woodshop. FormanWatkins argued that because it was not reasonable to foresee that exposure to wood dust could cause sinonasal cancer, the manufacturer had no duty to warn the plaintiff of such risk. FormanWatkins also argued that regardless of the manufacturer’s duty, any alleged failure to warn was not the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury. The Eastern District of North Carolina agreed and dismissed the case. In her in-depth opinion, Judge Flanagan reasoned that based on state of the art, wood dust was not a known cause of sinonasal cancer during the exposure period, and the manufacturer therefore had no duty to warn. Furthermore, there was no foreseeable risk of cancer from wood dust to a retail consumer of mostly softwood products, such as the plaintiff’s father. In addition, the Court held that the plaintiff failed to establish proximate causation, as it was speculative to assume that the plaintiff’s father would have taken any different action or avoided wood dust exposure if an additional warning had been provided. Congratulations to FormanWatkins team members Joshua Metcalf, Alison McMinn, Tanya Ellis, Ruth Maron, Courtney Hunt, and Sam Kapoor, who all contributed to the win.

February 27, 2020

Gault and Ritchie Win in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Win Gault and Spencer Ritchie recently won in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, where the Court affirmed the District Court’s ruling that awarded our client contractual damages, attorney fees, pre-judgment interest, and post-judgment interest totaling more than $900,000. In January 2019, Win and Spencer obtained a bench trial verdict in favor of our client, an oil and gas company, in a contractual indemnity action pending in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Win and Spencer presented oral argument before the Fifth Circuit in December 2019. The Court issued its opinion in February and designated it for publication.

December 9, 2019

Gault and Ritchie Present Oral Argument Before U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Win Gault and Spencer Ritchie presented oral argument before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Gault and Ritchie appeared before the Court on behalf of an oil and gas company after having obtained a bench trial verdict for the company in the Eastern District of Louisiana. The District Court awarded our client contractual damages, attorney fees, prejudgment interest, and post-judgment interest totaling more than $800,000.

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

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.