May 20, 2024

Obligate Law

Professional Law Makers

Mass Tort Attorney Mikal Watts Says He Is ‘Restructuring’ Firm (2)

2 min read
Mass Tort Attorney Mikal Watts Says He Is ‘Restructuring’ Firm (2)

Prominent mass torts attorney Mikal Watts said in a statement Friday that he and partner Frank Guerra have agreed to restructure the partnership at the heart of Watts Guerra, a firm that routinely handles large mass tort litigation.

“I’ve been honored to practice law with Frank Guerra for more than 22 years,” he wrote. “We have been, are, and always will be, close friends. He is a man and a lawyer I admire very much, and I look forward to the great things he and our other partners will do for our clients.”

Watts told Bloomberg Law that he is not leaving the firm.

He is well known in the world of mass torts, leading big-dollar, multi-district litigation against corporations. Watts Guerra is among the firms handling some of the largest ongoing torts including water contamination at the Camp Lejeune Marine base causing cancer, and allegations of negligence from Hawaiian Electric causing deadly wildfires in Maui, and Johnson & Jonson talcum products linked to cancer. Watts is often the face of these cases, appearing in court and speaking to the media.

He represents around 16,000 J&J talc claimants and is part of the group of attorneys supporting a $8.9 billion proposed settlement.

In 2015, he was among seven people charged with fabricating thousands of clients in a bid to collect payouts from BP arising from a settlement over its 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Watts and four co-defendants were acquitted.

Last year, he spoke at the semi-annual conference Mass Torts Made Perfect and was vociferous about the prevalence of false claims being filed in large mass torts. He outlined the way money travels—from litigation funders to law firms and then eventually to lead generators—who at times sign up clients providing fake information. He said he and his firm audited their leads and found “hundreds and hundreds” were bogus.

Watts was among the lawyers representing plaintiffs in suits against makers of Tylenol and generic acetaminophen, alleging that when taken by pregnant women the drug can cause ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder among children.

A Daubert hearing was held in December and heard by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in the Southern District of New York, who ultimately ruled that the evidence was not admissible because it “cherry-picked and misrepresented study results and refused to acknowledge the role of genetics in the etiology of either ASD or ADHD.”

His founded his firm in 2002 and joined up with Francisco Guerra IV in 2009 to form Watts Guerra. It has offices in Texas and California.

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