HOUSTON – A recently filed lawsuit seeks an award of $100 million in exemplary damages against Texas attorneys John Cracken and Bob Hilliard for allegedly using case runners to steal the identities of Vietnamese-Americans damaged by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
In September, plaintiff’s attorney Mikal Watts was indicated on allegations that he committed fraud when purportedly signed up 44,550 coastal clients after the disaster. The following month, the indictment was unsealed.
The indictment refers to the involvement of two unnamed attorneys, which, according to the lawsuit, are presumably Cracken, of The Cracken Law Firm, and Hilliard, of Hilliard Munoz Gonzales LLP.
Plaintiff Thim Nguyen, a Louisiana resident, claims to be one of “tens of thousands of victims” whose names and identities “were egregiously stolen or conspired to be stolen” by the two defendant attorneys.
“These high-power lawyers shamefully stole … the identities of 44,510 Vietnamese-Americans,” the suit states.
“Defendants Cracken and Hilliard caused Watts to file over 25 complaints … using the names of the 44,510 Vietnamese-Americans whom they never represented.
“Defendants paid $10,900,000 to runners Greg Warren and Kristy Le to obtain these names and identities.”
Nguyen, a fisherman, maintains that on Oct. 29, 2015, (the date indictment was unsealed) she learned that Cracken and Hilliard were funding Watts’ operation, expecting share to share more than $2 billion dollars from BP funds set aside for victims whose livelihood had been affected by the oil spill.
In addition to $100,000,000 in exemplary damages, Nguyen also seeks a “substantial” award for her mental anguish, contending the ordeal has brought back “nightmarish memories” of days under the Communist regime in Vietnam.
She is represented by The Tammy Tran Law Firm.
The lawsuit was filed March 3 in Harris County District Court.
Case No. 2016-13749