News

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.

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.

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 12, 2019

Employment Law Update: Spring Has Sprung Proposed Overtime Rule and Confusion Over Wellness Incentives

The seasons have changed from Winter to Spring, but the EEOC’s position regarding wellness incentives remains the same. This year’s stalemate over employee wellness programs has increasingly caused employers to ask: have wellness incentives become more trouble than they are worth? In a dramatic shift from its former endorsement of wellness incentives, the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) has invalidated the incentive provisions of its wellness program regulations. The result: since January 1, 2019, when the EEOC regulations became ineffective, employers have been in limbo when it comes to implementing their employee wellness programs, with no guidance from the EEOC to speak of.

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.