News

September 28, 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.  

September 12, 2022

FormanWatkins Co-Hosts Hinds County Family Law Clinic

FormanWatkins attorneys and summer associates from the Jackson office were among those who volunteered July 29,2022, at the Hinds County Family Law Clinic, a pro se legal clinic held at the Hinds County Chancery Courthouse. The clinic assisted individuals with a variety of legal matters, including irreconcilable differences divorces, uncontested guardianships, birth certificate corrections, and name changes. The clinic was hosted by the Fifth Chancery District (Hinds County Chancery Court), Jackson Public Schools, the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project, Mission First, the Capital Area Bar Association, and Forman Watkins & Krutz. Our participating team included Mary Clift Abdalla, Mimi Arthur, Jean Folsom, Ruth Huskey, Sampada Kapoor, and summer associates, Kelsi Baldwin (Mississippi College School of Law, May 2023), Merritt Baria (University of Mississippi School of Law, May 2024), Keri Herrington (Mississippi College School of Law, May 2024), Teresa Jones (University of Mississippi School of Law, May 2023) and Cailin Sims (Mississippi College School of Law, May 2024).

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.

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 […]

April 14, 2022

Nixon and Abbott Guest Lecture Toxic Torts Class at LSU Law School

On March 30, 2022, New Orleans attorneys Jordan Nixon and Charles Abbott guest lectured at LSU Law School. The lecture was the second one in a series of Toxic Tort classes guest lectured by attorneys from FormanWatkins at LSU Law School this semester. The lecture, presented to second and third year law students, focused on all aspects of asbestos, silica, and benzene litigation and discussed many of the scientific, as well as practical, issues and topics regularly encountered in their practices.

April 13, 2022

McGuffey, Ritchie, and Fyke Attend Events Honoring Judge Rhesa H. Barksdale

On April 9-10, 2022, Jackson Partners Mitch McGuffey, Spencer Ritchie, and Joel Fyke attended events in New Orleans, Louisiana honoring U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Senior Judge Rhesa H. Barksdale. The events were held in celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of Judge Barksdale’s appointment to the federal appellate bench by President George H. W. Bush in 1990.