Recent Posts

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.

May 17, 2022

Wilson and Ritchie Speak at Mississippi Employment Law 2022 Seminar

Malissa Wilson and Spencer Ritchie were speakers at the Mississippi Employment Law 2022 seminar sponsored by the National Business Institute, which was held May 3, 2022. The basic level seminar examined current issues in Mississippi employment law for attorneys, human resources and financial professionals, and other business executives. Wilson and Ritchie spoke about issues related to hiring and firing employees and discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims against employers. Click here to learn more about FormanWatkins’ Labor & Employment practice.

May 16, 2022

FormanWatkins Secures Second Consecutive Dismissal in Maritime Case

Forman Watkins & Krutz attorneys Nick Giallourakis, Byron Kitchens and Margaret McLaughlin secured a second consecutive defense dismissal in an asbestos exposure case filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court on behalf of an energy company. Plaintiffs are Italian citizens, bringing maritime law claims for asbestos exposure they alleged occurred, in part, aboard vessels that docked in the Port of Orleans. The team argued that the case should be dismissed in Orleans Parish and properly brought in an Italian forum, where the vast majority of the relevant documents and witnesses would be located. Civil District Court Judge Kern A. Reese agreed, dismissed the case from Orleans Parish on forum non conveniens grounds, and ordered the matter to be transferred  to the appropriate forum in Italy.

May 16, 2022

FormanWatkins Wins Dismissal in Maritime Case

On April 29, 2022, an Orleans Parish District Court judge dismissed a mesothelioma asbestos exposure case in favor of two energy companies, represented by Forman Watkins & Krutz attorneys Nick Giallourakis, Byron Kitchens and Margaret McLaughlin, and Michael Abraham and Peter Moir, respectively. Plaintiffs are Italian citizens who filed suit under maritime law nearly ten years after their decedent’s mesothelioma diagnosis. Plaintiffs argued their lawsuit was timely filed because they did not learn of the connection between their decedent’s mesothelioma and his alleged asbestos exposures until late 2020 or early 2021. The parties submitted extensive briefing concerning maritime law prescription statutes (statute of limitations) and state of knowledge in Italy regarding the connection between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma. At the hearing, McLaughlin and Abraham were successful in excluding the plaintiffs’ evidence regarding what was known or knowable about the cause of decedent’s mesothelioma; and, ultimately, Civil District Court Judge Robin M. Giarrusso granted the clients’ Peremptory Exception of Prescription (motion to dismiss on statute of limitations grounds).

May 12, 2022

Savannah Tirey joins Forman Watkins & Krutz as director of marketing and recruiting

Savannah Tirey has joined Forman Watkins & Krutz as the firm’s director of marketing and recruiting. Tirey previously held marketing and public relations positions within the tourism, economic development and workforce development sectors. In her new role, Tirey will shape the vision and strategy to generate new business opportunities, influence public perceptions, maintain a positive brand and recruit top talent to the firm. “Savannah will be a great addition to the team,” said Robby Gathings, FormanWatkins chief operating officer. “Her professional background and skill set will not only complement the firm, but contribute to its growth.” She comes to the firm from the Ridgeland Tourism Commission, where she was director of marketing and public relations. Prior to that position, she served as a public relations specialist at the Mississippi Development Authority. Tirey received a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Mississippi in 2011.

May 4, 2022

FormanWatkins Hosts Second Annual Diversity Pipeline Program

The Diversity Pipeline Program is a three-and-a-half-day program for Tougaloo College pre-law students interest­ed in pursuing a career as a civil litigator. The FormanWatkins Jackson office hosted Amber Magee, Kevana Funches, Precious Thompson, Pierrerasha Goodwin and Octavious Henderson for the 2022 Diversity Pipeline Program. In addition to attending seminars providing overviews of “firm life,” civil litigation and the firm’s practice areas, the students partook in discussions regarding the firm’s Pro Bono, Recruiting, and Diversity & Inclusion committees. The students also attended speaker sessions led by diverse in-house counsel who are major firm clients and were given a legal research assignment with an opportunity to prepare a written memorandum of their findings. Firm attorneys led a professional development and resume workshop for the students. The firm also assigned attorney mentors during the program to facilitate discussions and to help with the research assignment. The program concluded with the Tougaloo students attending in-person criminal hearings before U.S. Magistrate Judge LaKeysha Greer-Isaac of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. At the conclusion of the hearings, Judge Greer-Isaac spoke with the students and held a question-and-answer session. This year’s group of students were smart, enjoyable and demonstrated a true eagerness to learn more about the legal profession. Amber, Kevana, Precious, Pierrerasha and Octavious are part of the Reuben V. Anderson Pre-Law Program at Tougaloo College under the direction of Julian Miller, an attorney in the FormanWatkins Jackson office. With highest academic honors, these students recently graduated from Tougaloo College […]