There's an interesting story in the San Antonio Express-News about Mikal Watts (Apr. 11) and his suits against Ford over rollovers, including the notable Crystal City case (OL Mar. 7 and links therein), a $31 million verdict where Ford was blamed for injuries caused by an unbelted drunk driver's intentionally reckless driving. Most intriguing is a settlement letter Watts apparently sent in a different case demanding $60 million:
"I believe it is wise for the individuals ... who will evaluate this case to remember, 'Toto, we aren't in Kansas anymore.' Politely put, South Texas venue by itself makes this a very dangerous lawsuit. ...
"[The 13th Court of Appeals in Corpus Christi] is comprised of six justices, all of whom are good Democrats. The Chief Justice, Hon. Rogelio Valdez, was recently elected with our firm's heavy support, and is a man who believes in the sanctity of jury verdicts. ..."
(John MacCormack, "Lawyer's war on Ford drawing notice", Oct. 17). Watts also recently won a $30.4 million verdict against Ford for an unbelted 16-year-old, Jessica Garcia, who was killed when she was ejected from an F-150 after it was struck by another driver at highway speeds. (Jeff Plungis, "Ford ordered to pay $30.4 million", Detroit News, Oct. 4; Watts firm press release). Ford confidentially settled a third case last month. (Britney Booth, "Ford settles suit", The Monitor, Oct. 6).