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"A very dangerous lawsuit": the tactics of Mikal Watts

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).



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.