The Mikal Watts trial commenced in July. He’s the Texas plaintiff’s lawyer indicted along with six others (including Watts’ brother) for fraud in connection with the BP oil spill class action. In essence, he’s charged with lying about the claimants he had signed up as a way to get on the plaintiff’s steering committee. Some of the plaintiffs were dead; another was a dog named Lucy Lu. One of his codefendants, Gregory Warren, pleaded guilty in 2005 in connection with similar wrongdoing with fen-phen plaintiffs in the same case that sent attorney Robert Arledge to prison (Arledge’s arrest prompted one wild forfeiture pleading; Arledge collected stuffed African wildlife, all kinds of guns, and expensive large-sized suits).
The trial kicked off July 20, 2016, in federal court in Gulfport. Watts started out by hiring Rob McDuff (always a smart move). He’s now representing himself.
From the Louisiana Record (story linked below):
David Watts smelled fraud in 41,000 oil spill claims that brother Mikal Watts filed against BP, and so did BP’s claims director and Louisiana attorney regulators, but Mikal Watts turned those claims into $2.3 billion.He might not have worked so hard to preserve the illusion of representation if he had known it would result in indictments for him, brother David, and five others.
Watts fraud and identity theft indictment unsealed: dog was among plaintiffs in oil spill litigation (Louisiana Record Nov. 4, 2015)
Testimony: claims from 41K fishermen got suspicions up (Sun Herald July 20)
At his criminal trial, Mikal Watts counters Ken Feinberg’s testimony (Texas Lawyer, July 25)
Reporter Desi Caneli’s Facebook coverage
Five Vietnamese fisherman sued Watts in 2014 claiming he misappropriated their identities.
It’s a fascinating tale and and a frightening look into the greed and corruption that inevitably accompany mass torts litigation.