Recent Posts

July 9, 2024

FormanWatkins Successfully Defends Construction Client in Multi-Million Dollar, 190-Plaintiff Case

FormanWatkins secured a significant win on behalf of a construction client when the Jefferson County Circuit Court granted summary judgment and dismissed all claims brought by 190 residents of a downtown Birmingham neighborhood.  Several FormanWatkins attorneys worked on the case during the nearly 6-year span of litigation in state and federal court, including Win Gault, Caroline Upchurch, Jake Banks, Mitch McGuffey, Haley Arndt, and Catherine Pettis Rule. The 190 plaintiffs alleged millions of dollars in damages resulting from construction activities during an Alabama Department of Transportation’s (“ALDOT”) I-59/I-20 interstate and bridge project. Our client served as the general contractor for the project. Plaintiffs made claims for trespass, private nuisance, and negligence, among others. The FormanWatkins team successfully argued statutory immunity under Alabama law arising from compliance with contract specifications as set by ALDOT. On July 2, 2024, Judge Marshell Jackson Hatcher found that the plaintiffs failed to meet the burden of proof required to nullify the statutory immunity. The scope of the immunity statute has not been fully examined by the Alabama appellate courts.   This ruling stands as a pivotal outcome in a complex legal battle centered on the impacts of large-scale, government-led infrastructure projects on local communities. FormanWatkins also served as lead counsel in enforcing indemnity and additional insurance obligations related to the claims.

June 27, 2024

McLaughlin and Gray Selected as 2023 Leadership in Law Honorees

Congratulations to FormanWatkins Associate Margaret McLaughlin and Partner Tim Gray who were recently recognized by New Orleans CityBusiness as 2024 Leadership in Law honorees. This is an especially significant honor, as Margaret is the first Firm Associate to earn the distinction. For 20 years, the publication has recognized area professionals in the field of law for their career and community accomplishments. To see the full list of honorees, click here. Margaret joined the firm in 2018 and quickly established herself as a vital team member in the products liability and premises liability litigation practice areas. She has a proven track record of success in court having represented a Fortune 50 energy company in multiple Louisiana trials, specializing in cross-examination preparation and briefing on intricate law issues. Currently, she is dedicated to representing a Fortune 100 client in premises and products liability cases across Louisiana and Texas and representing a Fortune 200 client in the coordination of its national toxic tort docket. Complementing her professional achievements, Margaret is an active member of the Firm’s Pro Bono Committee, earning Pro Bono Star distinction since 2020. Notable pro bono successes include drafting impactful briefs that overturned USCIS denials and securing Special Immigrant Juvenile Status for a young Guatemalan client.  She has been selected to The Best Lawyers in America® Ones to Watch in Commercial Litigation and Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions (Defendants), Personal Injury Litigation (Defendants) and Product Liability Litigation (Defendants). She has also been selected to the Louisiana Rising Stars by SuperLawyers. Tim has served as national […]

June 26, 2024

New Orleans Office Awarded Third Consecutive Top Workplace Honor

The Forman Watkins & Krutz New Orleans office has been awarded a Top Workplaces honor for 2024 by The TimesPicayune 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 80 out of nearly 1,000 companies in the Greater New Orleans area earned this distinction. The firm has previously received the honor in 2020, 2022 and 2023. (The awards were suspended in 2021 due to Covid-19.)

June 13, 2024

FormanWatkins Ranked in 2024 Chambers and Partners USA Guide

FormanWatkins Partners Win Gault, Fred Krutz and  and W.G. Watkins have again been recognized and ranked by Chambers and Partners in the Chambers USA Guide for 2024. The guide also highlighted the firm’s work in general commercial litigation defense matters in Mississippi. Win Gault (Litigation: General Commercial) W.G. Watkins (Litigation: General Commercial) Fred Krutz (“Senior Statesperson” for Mississippi Litigation: General Commercial) London-based Chambers and Partners annually ranks the leading firms and lawyers across the United States, as well as internationally. Rankings are based upon independent research that assesses each firm and lawyer’s technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commitment and other client-valued qualities. The Chambers USA guide is widely recognized by industry-leading companies and organizations across the nation.

May 29, 2024

FormanWatkins Hosts Fourth Annual Diversity Pipeline Program

The FormanWatkins Diversity Pipeline Program is a three-day program for Jackson State University Bob Owens Pre-Law Center and Tougaloo College Reuben V. Anderson Pre-Law Society students interested in pursuing careers as civil litigators. The Firm’s Jackson office welcomed Corrin Dixon, Tyshshia Frazier, Destiny Ivory, LaChassity Jackson, Markita Shell, Naya Singleton, Andreze Suggs-Ewing, Walter Townsend and Sha’Nyla Wilson as 2024 participants. This year’s program included a presentation by career consultant Candie Simmons on business etiquette in the modern workplace, as well as seminars with FormanWatkins attorneys on “firm life,” the firm’s practice areas, civil litigation 101, and research and writing. The students also met with members of the firm’s Pro Bono, Recruiting, and Diversity & Inclusion committees. In an effort to best prepare the students for what to expect at law school, Karen Peairs with the University of Mississippi School of Law Career Center presented on law school admissions and experiences while firm attorneys provided a workshop on resume writing and interview best practices. A special highlight and key component of the program was the opportunity for the students to engage with in-house counsel. These attorneys shared their personal accounts of pursuing careers in law, what life is like as in-house counsel of major corporations and how they work with FormanWatkins attorneys. The students were then invited to engage in Q&A. The collective goal of the program is to provide students an up-close experience as to what life might be like as a civil litigator and provide them with the knowledge and […]

May 15, 2024

2023 Pro Bono and Civic Stars Dedicate Time and Effort to Incredible Causes

The Firm is pleased to announce that Andrew Stubbs and Shelli Oulliber, respectively, received the FormanWatkins Pro Bono Star and Civic Star awards! Andrew Stubbs was awarded the 2023 Pro Bono Star for hours dedicated to a Venezuelan immigration asylum matter that first originated in 2016. More than six years later, on October 24, 2023, asylum was granted to Simon Barinas, who was represented by Andrew and fellow FormanWatkins attorney Jake Banks. Simon came to the United States from Venezuela in 2008 as a college student. Several years later, the political and socioeconomic climate in Venezuela had reached a boiling point forcing his mother and immediate family to flee the country for their safety. It was no longer safe for Simon to return to Venezuela, and he filed for asylum, along with his mother. After 6 years, his case came up for a merits hearing. After hearing the proof and testimony of Simon and his mother, Judge Du Puy granted Simon asylum, thus opening the door for the path to citizenship for Simon. Shelli Oulliber was awarded the Civic Star for dedicating an astounding 423 civic hours throughout 2023. More impressive, these hours were dedicated to Bring a Noodle, a 501c-3 non-profit of which Shelli is Founder, CEO and President. Bring a Noodle works diligently with multiple local beach rescue groups, several National Weather Service offices as well as NOAA to help increase rip current awareness along the Gulf Coast. Last year, Bring a Noodle partnered with the Lt. Governor of Louisiana to […]

April 17, 2024

New Orleans Office Welcomes Etienne René as an Associate

The Firm is pleased to announce that Etienne René has joined the New Orleans office as an Associate. A 2016 graduate of LSU’s Hebert Law Center, Etienne has practiced as a toxic tort defense litigation attorney for a Fortune 10 oil company along with other contractor and product defendants throughout his career. He additionally spent two years on the West Coast brokering commercial real estate transactions and working with a growth engine start-up company. He is admitted to practice before the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts for the U.S. District Courts, and all Louisiana courts.  Among his many accomplishments while in law school, Etienne was accepted as an intern with The Honorable Jay C. Zainey, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, accepted as an extern with The Honorable James Brady of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, received the CALI Award For Excellence: Federal Civil Procedure I, participated in the Robert Lee Tullis Moot Court Competition, and served as Senior Articles Editor for the LSU Journal of Energy Law and Resources.

April 11, 2024

Malissa Wilson Honored as a Fellow by The Mississippi Bar Foundation

The Mississippi Bar Foundation’s Board of Trustees unanimously selected Malissa Wilson as one of twenty new Fellows of the Foundation. The Fellows designation is the Mississippi Bar Foundation’s highest honor, as only 10% of the lawyers in Mississippi are eligible for membership. Fellows are selected for membership based not only on their excellence as a lawyer, but also by their dedication and service to the public and profession. Their selection is recognition by their peers that the attorney has achieved the highest level of professionalism, competence, and leadership.

February 28, 2024

NCAA Compliance and Sports Litigation Team Wins Dismissal of Head Coach in Player Lawsuit

FormanWatkins NCAA Compliance and Sports Litigation team members WG Watkins, Courtney Hunt and Mitch McGuffey secured dismissal of a lawsuit against their client, an SEC head football coach. The plaintiff was a student athlete seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages from FormanWatkins’ client personally and from the university that employed him. He brought numerous claims under federal and state law for alleged discrimination based on race and sex, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and gross negligence. FormanWatkins along with counsel for the university, filed a motion to dismiss, which was converted to a motion for summary judgment. The judge found there was no showing of discriminatory intent, that immunity defenses applied, and that the plaintiff could not meet the legal requirements to prevail on any of his claims. The decision has been appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, where the FormanWatkins team will continue to defend its client.

February 27, 2024

Fair Credit Reporting Act Claimant Singing the Blues After Failed Bid for Big Payday

On February 21, 2024, a Memphis, Tennessee, arbitrator returned an award in favor of a national retailer represented by FormanWatkins attorney Jake Banks. Claimant sought damages totaling $202,721.00, based on the retailer’s alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. After hearing testimony and reviewing the parties’ briefing, the arbitrator entered an award in the retailer’s favor, awarding nothing to the Claimant.