Litigation

April 2, 2018

Forman Watkins Wins at the Fifth Circuit

On April 2, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the Western District of Louisiana’s grant of summary judgment, finding persuasive the argument presented by Forman Watkins that the testimony of Appellant’s expert failed to create a genuine issue of material fact. The case was argued before a three-judge panel on March 5, 2018 by Alison McMinn and Peyton Smith.

March 7, 2018

Forman Watkins Defends Summary Judgment Before Fifth Circuit

On March 5, 2018, Alison McMinn and Peyton Smith argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, defending the summary judgment granted to their client last year. The Appellant contended that summary judgment was improper because fact questions remained regarding the cause of a truck rollover because their expert witness testified that the only possible cause of the accident related to the packaging of the load. In response, Alison McMinn urged the court to affirm summary judgment by highlighting several deficiencies in the expert’s opinion to underscore its speculative nature.

February 8, 2018

Gault and Smith Argue Wrongful Death Products Liability Case Before the Texas Supreme Court

Win Gault and Peyton Smith argued before the Texas Supreme Court on Wednesday on behalf of Mahindra USA Inc. Sharon Garner assisted in the briefing. This wrongful death products liability case presented the Texas Supreme Court with the first opportunity to address the 2015 amendments to the Texas Residency Exception in the Forum Non Conveniens statute.

January 17, 2018

Maccherone Wins Arbitration of Environmental Contamination Dispute

New Orleans Partner Amy Maccherone recently prevailed in an arbitration of a significant environmental contamination case. Maccherone’s client, a regional abrasive blasting and painting subcontractor, was accused of contaminating a jobsite with lead based paint during the performance of its work. The general contractor on the job claimed that the alleged contamination resulted in over $1.5 million in clean-up costs. It also claimed the Client was in breach of its subcontract and was liable for over $4 million related to that breach. In total, the general contractor sought roughly $5.5 million from the Client.

December 18, 2017

Banks and Smith Obtain Favorable Verdict in Hinds County Personal Injury Suit

On December 13, 2017, Forman Watkins attorneys Jake Banks and Ahmad Smith obtained a favorable jury verdict in the County Court of Hinds County.  Plaintiff claimed she suffered serious personal injuries and sought to recover significant damages. Though the Defendant conceded liability for the accident, she maintained that the Plaintiff was only entitled to recover her past medical bills, and that is exactly what the jury awarded.

December 5, 2017

Forman Watkins Wins Summary Judgment in Pennsylvania State Court

On November 27, 2017 Judge New granted summary judgment for two Forman Watkins clients in an asbestos exposure case filed in the Court of Common Pleas for Philadelphia County.  Our clients were two of the three remaining defendants when summary judgment was granted one week prior to the start of trial. Despite a seven-figure demand against each of our clients in a jurisdiction where summary judgment is seldom granted, the court dismissed all claims against our clients, with prejudice.  The court denied the motion for summary judgment of the third remaining defendant. Alison McMinn, Ruth Maron, Sam Kapoor and our Pennsylvania counsel successfully argued that the plaintiff provided no evidence of asbestos exposure from our clients’ products, highlighting the speculative nature of plaintiff’s testimony.

November 8, 2017

Abbott & Kitchens Win Early Defense Victory for National Power Tools Manufacturer

Charles Abbott and Byron Kitchens undertook representation of a national power tools manufacturer in July 2017 in claims arising out of a residential fire in Orleans Parish, Louisiana in which the homeowner’s insurer claimed losses of nearly $700,000.00, casting allegations of sole fault for the loss upon the power tool manufacturer, claiming its product was defective under the Louisiana Products Liability Act. Partnering with attorneys from Lightfoot, Franklin & White, our team quickly removed the lawsuit from the Civil District Court of Orleans Parish to the United States Eastern District of Louisiana.  Within two weeks of removal, the Plaintiff-Insurer transmitted a settlement offer. Assessing the evidence, or more particularly lack thereof, the defense counter-offer was simply an opportunity for the Plaintiff-Insurer to dismiss its case with prejudice.  A week later, the Plaintiff-Insurer accepted the “offer” and agreed to dismiss its case with prejudice.

October 23, 2017

Watkins & Arthur Win Contested Motion in Eastern District of Louisiana

Forman Watkins’ O-I Louisiana team recently won a contested motion in the Eastern District of Louisiana in the Joseph Savoie case. In 1991, Joseph Savoie filed an asbestosis lawsuit against O-I and other defendants. O-I settled his claim as part of group settlement, and Mr. Savoie and his wife executed an agreement releasing O-I from any cause of action arising out of Mr. Savoie’s asbestos-related injury, including mesothelioma, cancer, wrongful death, and survival claims. Seventeen years later, Mr. Savoie contracted mesothelioma. His wife and children sued O-I again, seeking survival and wrongful death damages. In response, O-I filed an Exception of Res Judicata, arguing for dismissal of the plaintiffs’ claims because the prior release explicitly compromised any prospective mesothelioma claims. A co-defendant removed the case to federal court, where O-I re-urged its state court exception. The plaintiffs opposed O-I’s motion, arguing that Mr. and Mrs. Savoie never intended to release any mesothelioma claims as evidenced by the small settlement sum they received. After reviewing the briefing, Judge Barbier found the prior release was valid and that Mr. Savoie’s mesothelioma claim existed when he executed the release because the prior settlement agreement expressly included mesothelioma and wrongful death claims. Further, Louisiana law provides that the actual settlement value a party receives is inconsequential if the settlement agreement includes a specific reference to the claim released. The Court granted O-I’s exception and dismissed all Mr. Savoie’s survival claims and Mrs. Savoie’s wrongful death claims. Forman Watkins attorneys Trey Watkins and Mimi Arthur […]

October 6, 2017

Forman Watkins Wins Summary Judgment in Louisiana Take-Home Asbestos Case

On October 4, 2017, Forman Watkins won summary judgment on behalf of a premises defendant in the 23rd Judicial Circuit Court for the Parish of St. James, Louisiana.  Plaintiffs in the case alleged that their decedent was exposed to asbestos on the clothing of her late husband, who worked at numerous industrial worksites, including the premises defendant represented by Forman Watkins.  Plaintiffs’ counsel issued a $650,000 settlement demand to our client. Our team completely defended the action for our client; taking all fact and expert witness depositions and preparing the motion for summary judgment.  Forman Watkins successfully persuaded the Court to grant its client’s motion during oral argument. The summary judgment briefing was prepared by Michael Abraham, and the motion was argued by Daniel Roberts.