Houston federal judge orders stay in former sandblaster's case against John M. O'Quinn & Associates

By John Suayan | Jul 11, 2016

A Houston federal judge recently suspended a Mississippi man’s lawsuit accusing Houston-based John M. O’Quinn & Associates and its related firms of malfeasance.

According to recent court records, United States District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt issued a memorandum and order to temporarily stay the litigation between Clifton Gatlin and The O’Quinn Law Firm on June 15.

Gatlin, a former sandblaster who claims to have suffered silicosis because of his work, sued the defendants in March on allegations that the latter failed to process settlements with various underlying silica defendants.

The suit shows that the respondents entered into numerous settlements given the seriousness of Gatlin’s exposure and that the late John M. O’Quinn himself promised Gatlin “his settlement will be more than $4 million” to which the complainant states never materialized because his legal team neglected to finalize the aforementioned settlements, including but not limited to a $250,000 settlement from 3M and a $150,000 settlement from Halliburton.

The defendants, in turn, submitted a motion in May to stay the case pending arbitration. Per Hoyt’s order, all parties, including Gatlin himself, consented to arbitrate all disputes “that might arise” under the “Power of Attorney and Contingent Fee Contract.”

“The plaintiff has not pointed to any statute or policy that prohibits arbitration of the issue(s) raised in this suit,” the three-page document says.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas Case No. 4:16-CV-0629

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