Justices reject appeal in Deepwater Horizon ID theft suit, Cracken Law keeps summary judgment win

By David Yates | Sep 11, 2017

HOUSTON – Last year, a lawsuit seeking an award of $100 million in exemplary damages was filed 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.

On Sept. 7, Texas’ First Court of Appeals denied an appeal brought by the plaintiffs in the case who sought to overturn a Cracken Law Firm summary judgment win.

In September 2015, plaintiff’s attorney Mikal Watts was indicted on allegations that he committed fraud when he purportedly signed up 44,550 coastal clients after the disaster. Watts and his co-defendants were acquitted last August.

The indictment referred to the involvement of two unnamed attorneys, which, according to the lawsuit, are presumably Cracken and Hilliard.


The plaintiffs claimed the attorneys “shamefully stole” the identities of 44,510 Vietnamese-Americans.

Court records show Cracken Law moved for summary judgment on limitations, which was granted by a district court in Harris County.

On appeal, justices opined that the trial court’s order does not find, and the petition fails to establish, that the challenged order concerns a controlling question of law for which there is a substantial ground for difference of opinion, or that an immediate appeal may materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation.

The plaintiffs are represented in part by The Tammy Tran Law Firm.

The lawsuit was filed March 3 in Harris County District Court.

Trial court case No. 2016-13749

Appeals case No. 01-17-00424-CV

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