December 18, 2019

Offices Continue Traditions with Local Charities

In the spirit of giving, our New Jersey, Jackson, and New Orleans offices kept with past traditions and donated their efforts with local charities. New Jersey purchased various winter items and donated them to Lunch Break. Jackson adopted children from the Angel Tree Program through Prison Fellowship Ministries. New Orleans adopted a family through Catholic Charities’ Adopt-A-Family program. Thank you all for your compassion and continued support of these local charities! (Nicole Diesa and Donna Ross from the NJ office) (Jackson Office) (New Orleans Office)

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.

November 25, 2019

Gault and Banks Obtain Defense Verdict in TCPA Arbitration

On November 21, 2019, a Jackson, Mississippi Arbitrator returned an award in favor of a national retailer represented by Win Gault and Jake Banks.  The Claimant maintained that the retailer willfully violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) by using an automatic telephone dialing system (“ATDS”) to place 500 collection calls to his cellular telephone number.  Claimant sought statutory damages in excess of $750,000.00.  After holding an evidentiary hearing and reviewing extensive briefing, the Arbitrator ruled in favor of the retailer, finding that its telephone system did not qualify as an ATDS and, thus, the retailer’s collection calls did not violate the TCPA.  In 2020, Gault and Banks are slated to participate in 43 final arbitration hearings in six different states, regarding various consumer financial services matters, including the TCPA and Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”).

November 1, 2019

Breast Cancer Awareness

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness, on Thursday, October 31, our offices wore pink to honor those we have lost, those who are fighting, and those who have survived.

October 23, 2019

National Pro Bono Week

Happy National Pro Bono Week! So far in 2019…. Our pro bono successes include: Two partners winning asylum for an Iraqi Christian family; Two associates successfully defending a juvenile in a youth court trial; Spearheading a Veterans information and resources clinic; and Co-hosting a pro se clinic at the Hinds County Chancery Court. Our current pro bono projects include: Partnering with the Mississippi College of Law Education Clinic to represent students in school discipline and special education cases; 11 attorneys across three offices working on appeals for two juveniles sentenced to life without parole; Co-hosting another Veteran’s information and resources clinic in November; and Over 100 hours (and counting!) responding to the needs of recently detained immigrants. FormanWatkins encourages its attorneys to do meaningful pro bono work that serves the communities in which we live and work.  For more information on our commitment to pro bono service, please visit our page here.

September 26, 2019

McGuffey and Smith Win Asylum for Iraqi Christian Family

Mitch McGuffey and Peyton Smith successfully represented a family of five Iraqi Christians seeking asylum in the United States. The family fled from northern Iraq in fall of 2014 to escape ISIS and persecution on account of their religious beliefs. Mitch and Peyton drafted asylum briefs for each member of the family and represented them at their merits hearing in the New Orleans Immigration Court, where they were granted asylum. The firm is proud to have represented the family and prouder still that they can remain in the United States. The case was referred to FormanWatkins initially through its pro bono partnership with Catholic Charities of Jackson. Later, immigration attorney Amelia McGowan moved to a new position with another FormanWatkins pro bono partner, Mississippi Center for Justice. Amelia provided invaluable knowledge and support. The Firm’s Jackson attorneys are currently representing several other asylum seekers through its partnership with MCJ.

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.

July 1, 2019

Kapoor and White Win Pro Bono Criminal Trial

Jackson associates Sam Kapoor and Taylor White recently won a criminal trial in the youth court of Lafayette County, Mississippi.  Kapoor and White represented a minor charged with simple assault by threat.  After Kapoor and White put on the Youth Defendant’s case-in-chief, which involved the cross-examination of the victim, two police officers, and a detective, the Defense moved the Court for a directed verdict.  Finding the State failed to present sufficient evidence of subjective fear, an essential element of the charge of simple assault by threat, the Court granted their motion and directed a verdict in favor of the Youth Defendant.