sidebar for p5: Watts renowned for taking on corporate giants

The SE Texas Record Mar. 29, 2007, 11:13am

Corpus Christi plaintiff's attorney Mikal C. Watts boasts of more than $1 billion in verdicts since 1997, but his courtroom prowess was no match for a Madison County, Ill. jury which recently rejected his Vioxx claim against Merck.

A four-week trial ended last week in favor of the pharmaceutical. After the verdict a juror told the Madison/St. Clair Record that plaintiffs' attorneys spent too much time attacking Merck and not enough time on the plaintiff's personal situation.

Considered one of the most successful trial lawyers in Texas, Watts has made Merck and other pharmaceuticals frequent targets in court. He explained in a May 2004 Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report how he "worked the court of public opinion," to gain advantage in his suits against the German company Bayer.

Watts was quoted as saying he was feeding information to the U.S. and European media about his case against Bayer over the cholesterol-lowering drug Baycol. Watts tried the first Baycol product liability case in his hometown court.

"It was part of my strategy to affect the stock price, which I was very successful at," Watts stated in the WSJ article.

Watts also is renowned for taking on Ford Motor Co. in product liability cases in Texas. He has won more than $100 million in three separate claims.

A Ford attorney was quoted as saying, "Mikal Watts is engaged in this jihad against Ford, but is it really in the best interests of his clients?"

"There's a war going on right now between Mikal Watts and Ford, but Ford is not making the war," David Prichard of San Antonio told a San Antonio newspaper.

Prichard also told the newspaper that the Ford verdicts will be appealed and that none of the plaintiffs have been paid a nickel.

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