Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP

January 17, 2023

Courtney C. Hunt Promoted to Partner

FormanWatkins is pleased to announce that Courtney C. Hunt has been promoted to Partner. Ms. Hunt joined the firm in 2016. She is a graduate of Smith College and Harvard Law School, and spent five years as a public interest lawyer in Jackson before becoming an integral part of FormanWatkins’ strategic legal team. In her time with the firm, Ms. Hunt has been involved in a wide range of toxic tort litigation, products and premises liability, commercial litigation, real property litigation, insurance coverage defense, and NCAA compliance and investigation matters. Ms. Hunt has received recognition as a Mid-South Rising Star and Best Lawyers in America Ones to Watch. She is an active member of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee and recipient of the firm’s Pro Bono Star Award.

January 10, 2023

FWK Partner Malissa Wilson Joins International Association of Defense Counsel

The International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) has announced that Malissa Wilson has accepted an invitation to join the IADC, the preeminent invitation-only global legal organization for attorneys who represent corporate and insurance interests. “I am happy to join an organization such as the IADC with like-minded people who have a consistent record of displaying high professional standards and a passion to advance the legal profession by promoting ethics and character, in addition to social justice and diversity,” Ms. Wilson said. With nearly 20 years of litigation and trial experience, Malissa focuses her practice on employment law, as well as matters involving civil rights, premises liability, product liability, and insurance. Previously, she worked as a special assistant attorney general in the Civil Division of the Office of the Mississippi Attorney General and as a senior assistant city attorney in the Labor, Employment and Civil Rights Division of the City of Houston (Texas). She also has served as in-house counsel for a national insurance company overseeing cases in Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi, as well as for Mississippi’s largest public employer, the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Malissa received her J.D. (cum laude) from the University of Mississippi School of Law. She also holds a Master of Science from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts (magna cum laude) from Texas Southern University. About the International Association of Defense Counsel The IADC is the preeminent invitation-only global legal organization for attorneys who represent corporate and insurance interests. Founded […]

December 19, 2022

Krutz, Hannula and Stubbs’ 2021 Summary Judgment Win Upheld by the Fourth Circuit

Attorneys Fred Krutz, Brian Hannula and Andrew Stubbs won summary judgment in 2021 arguing the statute of limitations barred plaintiff’s product liability action claiming that defendant’s respirators were defective and caused him to develop coal workers pneumoconiosis. The lawsuit was pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, and Chief Judge Gina Groh delivered the District Court’s opinion. The plaintiff appealed the case to the United States Court of Appeals For The Fourth Circuit who recently released an opinion affirming the lower court’s judgment.

December 13, 2022

FormanWatkins Foundation Supports Area Causes

In the last quarter of 2022, via the FormanWatkins Foundation, the Forman Watkins & Krutz’s Jackson office participated in and helped support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF) One Walk, the Blazer Bolt for Brain Cancer 5k and the American Heart Association’s Metro Jackson Heart Walk. The JDRF One Walk (October 22) raised funds for life-saving treatments for individuals living with type 1 diabetes. The Blazer Bolt for Brain Cancer run (October 15) had 600 registrants and 40 teams this year, all raising funds to support individuals and families battling brain cancer. The Metro Jackson Heart Walk (November 12) raised more than $150,000 for the American Heart Association. FormanWatkins’ CFO, Robby Gathings, was the second highest fundraiser in the corporate category for the Heart Walk. The Forman Watkins & Krutz Foundation is proud to join in supporting these events.  

December 13, 2022

FormanWatkins Wins Second Dismissal in Maritime Case

On October 10, 2022, an Orleans Parish District Court judge for a second and final time dismissed a mesothelioma asbestos exposure case in favor of two energy companies, represented by Forman Watkins & Krutz attorneys Byron Kitchens and Margaret McLaughlin, and Michael Abraham and Peter Moir, respectively. Plaintiffs are Italian citizens who initially filed suit under maritime law nearly ten years after their decedent’s mesothelioma diagnosis. The parties re-filed a new motion and Plaintiffs brought two witnesses to testify on their behalf, including one of the Plaintiffs and an Italian lawyer. After successful cross-examination executed by McLaughlin and Kitchens, the case was brought home by the testimony of the defense’s Italian medical expert, brought in by Moir. Ultimately, Civil District Court Judge Giarrusso granted the clients’ Renewed Exception of Prescription (motion to dismiss due to statute of limitations).

December 2, 2022

Abbott, Smith, and Agee Win Summary Judgment in Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act Case

FormanWatkins attorneys Charles Abbott, Peyton Smith, and Chandler Agee won summary judgment in a Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act (“LUPTA”) case filed in Louisiana state court.  The case was filed in October of 2020 by a plaintiff claiming a forest products client violated the LUTPA in connection with a sand and gravel mining lease on property owned by the client.  The FormanWatkins team exposed the baseless nature of the claims through multiple, extensive depositions, principally conducted by Mr. Smith, and then filed a detailed motion for summary judgment, providing the necessary evidence to disprove the plaintiff’s allegations.  On November 22, 2022, Mr. Abbott argued the motion before the state court judge, who ruled from the bench, granting the motion and dismissing all of plaintiff’s claims against the client with prejudice.

December 1, 2022

FormanWatkins Partners Named to New Orleans Magazine 2022 Top Lawyers List

Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP is proud to announce that Charles Abbott, Michael Abraham, Melissa Fuller, Tim Gray and Byron Kitchens were selected to the 2022 Top Lawyers list by New Orleans Magazine. New Orleans Magazine presents the Top Lawyers list annually, and this year’s list was prepared by Detroit-based Professional Research Services.  Honorees were selected via a voting system, in which voting was open to all licensed attorneys in New Orleans.  The voters were asked which attorney, other than themselves, they would recommend in the New Orleans area, and each attorney was allowed to recommend up to three colleagues in each given legal specialty.  Once the online nominations were complete, each nominee was carefully evaluated on the basis of the survey results, the legitimacy of their license, and their current standing with the State Bar Association of Louisiana.  Attorneys who received the highest number of votes in each specialty are reflected in the Top Lawyers list.

November 29, 2022

23 FormanWatkins Attorneys Named 2022 Mid-South Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP  is once again represented in the latest edition of Super Lawyers, the prominent legal ranking published by Thomson Reuters, with 23 attorneys earning distinctions on the 2022 Mid-South Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists. Super Lawyers recognizes outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement, with no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state receiving the honor. The patented selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations to select lawyers across all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Congratulations to the following attorneys on their selection to this year’s lists: 2022 Mid-South Super Lawyers: Tanya Ellis, Win Gault,  Nick Giallourakis, Brian Hannula, Fred Krutz**, Mitch McGuffey, Alison McMinn, Joshua Metcalf, Jennifer Studebaker, Trey Watkins*, and WG Watkins** 2022 Mid-South Rising Stars: Mary Clift Abdalla, Patrick Fields, Joel Fyke, Courtney Hunt, Ruth Maron Huskey, Sampada Kapoor, Chelsea Lewis, Vernon McFarland, Daniel Roberts, Peyton Smith, Andrew Stubbs, and Caroline Upchurch **Also named to the Top 50 in Mississippi list *Selected as a Super Lawyer for 10 years

October 6, 2022

FormanWatkins Attorneys Featured at National Asbestos Litigation Conference

Malissa Wilson, a Partner in the FormanWatkins Jackson office, and Margaret McLaughlin, an Associate in the firm’s New Orleans office, were featured speakers at Perrin Conferences’ National Asbestos Litigation Conference on Sept. 14-15 in Charleston, South Carolina.  Malissa served as a featured panelist during the Women’s Symposium Lunch, where she gave thoughtful insights to fellow women and leaders in the industry on work-life integration in the post-Covid era, with topics including effective time management, mentoring the next generation, and balancing professional and personal life. Margaret participated in the Non-Traditional Jurisdictions and Exposures panel and dived into which non-traditional jurisdictions are experiencing increased filings, recent cases with non-traditional exposures, a-typical job sites and emerging areas of asbestos exposures. The conference program included both national and jurisdictional asbestos litigation updates and offered attendees the opportunity to attend numerous informative and dynamic panel discussions, presentations, and demonstrations on a variety of topics related to asbestos litigation. Speakers and attendees included many of the nation’s premiere plaintiff and defense attorneys, judges, and insurance professionals.