Recent Posts

August 18, 2022

FormanWatkins Attorneys Included in 2023 Best Lawyers® List

FormanWatkins is pleased to announce that 24 attorneys have been named to The Best Lawyers in America© list for 2023. FormanWatkins Partner Malissa Wilson was named a “Lawyer of the Year” for Jackson, Miss., in Labor and Employment litigation. Those named “Lawyers of the Year” received the highest overall peer-feedback in the listed practice area and geographic region. Only one attorney is recognized as the “Lawyer of the Year” for each specialty and location. In addition, 15 FormanWatkins attorneys were named to The Best Lawyers in America: “Ones to Watch”  list, a recognition of attorneys who are on the rise, excelling in their career. Established in 1983, Best Lawyers® has earned the respect of the profession, the media and the public as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. For the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, more than 12.2 million votes were analyzed to identify the top legal talent, as identified by their peers. Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP would like to congratulate the following attorneys: 2023 Best Lawyers in America Charles H. Abbott  Commercial Litigation Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants Mary Clift Abdalla  Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants Product Liability Litigation – Defendants Michael H. Abraham Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants Product Liability Litigation – Defendants Pete F. Andarsio  Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants Mary R. Arthur Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants James L. Banks Commercial […]

August 16, 2022

FormanWatkins Hosts Diversity Pipeline Program Bootcamp

FormanWatkins recently concluded its Diversity Pipeline Program’s pre-law school bootcamp. Students from Tougaloo College, an historically black college located in Jackson, Mississippi, participated in an all-day educational event featuring a Q&A panel discussion with the firm’s summer clerks on what to expect the first year in law school; a seminar taught by FWK associates, Katherine Pettis and Chandler C. Agee, on case briefing and outlining; and, a mock law school lecture by University of Mississippi School of Law Professor Larry J. Pittman. In addition to the bootcamp, the students spent their spring break at the firm participating in a week-long series of activities that included a civil litigation legal education seminar, attorney shadowing opportunities and panel discussions with outside counsel. In partnership with the pre-law society at Tougaloo College, the FWK Pipeline Program is a firm diversity initiative to recruit stellar students attending historically black colleges and universities with an interest to practice law. All program participants are set to attend law school in the fall on full scholarships. Participants included: Precious Thompson, George Washington University Law School Amber Magee, Suffolk University Law School Clifford Benton, Jr., Suffolk University Law School Pierrerasha Goodwin, University of Alabama Law School Octavius Henderson, Vermont Law School Marvin Dale, Jr., Washburn University School of Law Samuel Patterson, III, Drake University Law School Kevana Funches, Columbia University School of Professional Studies

August 9, 2022

Charles Abbott Named Fellow of Litigation Counsel of America

Forman Watkins & Krutz New Orleans partner, Charles Abbott, has been selected as a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA). The Litigation Counsel of America is a trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers. Fellowship in the LCA is highly selective and by invitation only. Fellows are selected based upon excellence and accomplishment in litigation, both at the trial and appellate levels, and superior ethical reputation. Abbott, licensed in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, has a very diverse litigation practice. He routinely is retained in significant, high-dollar commercial, contractual, tort, admiralty/maritime, products liability, construction, and toxic tort cases pending in both federal and state courts. In addition, Charles serves as national coordinating counsel on behalf of a Fortune 100 client and its subsidiaries in connection with its toxic tort litigation. Abbott is also a frequent guest lecturer at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University teaching toxic tort classes consisting of second- and third-year law students, an assistant bar examiner for the Committee on Bar Admissions of the Supreme Court of Louisiana, and a member of the board of directors for the Brain Injury Association of Louisiana.

July 25, 2022

FormanWatkins New Orleans Office Awarded 2022 Top Workplaces Honor

The Forman Watkins & Krutz New Orleans office has been awarded a Top Workplaces honor for 2022 by The Times-Picayune and The New Orleans Advocate. Top Workplaces are determined solely by employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered through Energage LLC. The anonymous survey uniquely measures 15 culture drivers that are critical to the success of any organization including alignment, execution, and connection. Only 71 out of nearly 1,000 companies in the Greater New Orleans area earned this distinction.  

July 18, 2022

Fifth Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment Ruling in Favor of FormanWatkins Forest Products Client

FormanWatkins attorneys Joshua Metcalf, Peyton Smith, Chelsea Lewis and Charles Abbott secured a win in the U.S. Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit when the Court affirmed the Eastern District Court of Louisiana’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the firm’s forest products client in a pesticide application matter where the plaintiff sought monetary damages and an injunction. The FormanWatkins team secured the significant summary judgment in April 2021 after excluding all medical causation experts under Rule 702/Daubert and successfully convincing the district court to dismiss the plaintiff’s nuisance and negligence claims. The Appellant contested the District Court’s exclusion of a treating physician and challenged the summary judgment ruling, arguing that sufficient evidentiary and legal support was provided for the claims of negligent infliction of emotional distress. Metcalf presented oral argument to the Fifth Circuit in April of 2022, explaining why the treating physician’s testimony did not satisfy the requirements of Rule 702 and why summary judgment was appropriate. The Fifth Circuit issued its opinion July 1, 2022, affirming the expert exclusion and the dismissal of the case, continuing a series of significant victories for our forest products clients.

June 30, 2022

Krutz, Hannula and Stubbs Win Summary Judgment in Arkansas Federal Court

FWK attorneys Fred Krutz, Brian Hannula, and Andrew Stubbs win summary judgment in a wrongful death, product liability suit filed in Arkansas Federal Court. The case was filed in 2019 by the heirs at law of a deceased former plaintiff who had previously made the same allegations against the same respirator manufacturer in Mississippi state court in 2013. The 2013 suit ended in summary judgment in the manufacturer’s favor. The FWK team argued that the 2019 suit was barred by the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel, and the Federal Judge agreed in an 11-page opinion and order.

June 6, 2022

Forest Products Team Wins Again in Federal Court

FormanWatkins litigators Joshua Metcalf and Chelsea Lewis, as part of a national team representing a forest products client, helped win the complete dismissal of an antitrust case filed in federal court in the Southern District of Mississippi. The suit raised federal and state antitrust claims against many of the largest forest products manufacturers in the country. The joint defense team coordinated motions practice between all defendants and secured the dismissal of all claims. Metcalf and Lewis, who both clerked for federal judges early in their careers, were able to provide the client and the defense team meaningful insight into Mississippi law and local federal practice. This victory continues a series of federal court wins by the Forman Watkins forest products team.

June 2, 2022

Caroline Upchurch Selected as a Top 40 Under 40 Honoree

FormanWatkins partner Caroline Upchurch was selected as a 2022 Top 40 Under 40 honoree by the Mississippi Business Journal. The award recognizes 40 up-and-coming business leaders under the age of 40 in Mississippi. The full list of winners can be viewed here.  Caroline graduated magna cum laude from The University of Mississippi School of Law in 2008. She began practicing with FormanWatkins in 2008 and is a partner in the firm’s general litigation group. She has primarily handled defense litigation, including products liability, premises liability, contract disputes, as well as some asbestos defense. Caroline is chair of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee while also serving as a member of the Recruiting and Associate Development & Mentorship Committees. She has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America® and named a Mid-South Rising Star by Super Lawyers® every year since 2014. The Mississippi Business Journal previously recognized her as one of their Leaders in Law.

May 31, 2022

FormanWatkins Partners Participate in the Mississippi Bar’s Diversity Best Practices Workshop

FormanWatkins partner Malissa Wilson culminated her tenure as chair of the Mississippi Bar’s Diversity Committee with a workshop bringing together thought leaders, law school representatives and c-suite diversity officers to discuss diversity, inclusion and equity best practices for attracting and retaining diverse talent at law firms. The half-day workshop featured D&I committee chairs from various Mississippi firms, including FWK D&I Chair, Caroline Upchurch, who spoke on the topic of “What’s Working & What’s Not Working.” The workshop also featured a session on rethinking summer law clerk program recruitment and a corporate D&I representatives roundtable discussion.

May 24, 2022

FormanWatkins team helps asbestos defendant win summary judgment in Washington

On May 5, 2022, the FormanWatkins team won summary judgment in an asbestos case pending in King County, Washington. Nick Giallourakis, Peter Moir, and Ruth Huskey, working closely with attorneys from Bullivant Houser Bailey, convinced the trial court to exclude inadmissible deposition testimony because the testimony had been given in a matter that did not include our client. The Plaintiff had no other evidence to support her claims of household exposure, and after the exclusion of the inadmissible testimony, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of our client. This win represents a significant victory, especially coming in a jurisdiction where summary judgment is not typically granted to defendants in asbestos cases.