Legendary Texas trial lawyer John O’Quinn died last week following a car crash that also claimed the life of Johnny Lee Cutliff, who worked at The O’Quinn Law Firm http://www.oqlaw.com/.
He rose to the heights of legal fame and wealth after a hardscrabble beginning. Like many plaintiff lawyers of what increasingly feels like a golden era, his personality was outsized – which matched his successes, including $20 billion for smokers as well as huge wins against Dow Corning for faulty breast implants and Halliburton. The Texas press, in particular, has written many fine stories about O’Quinn, including the troubles and lawsuits that haunted part of his career. The Houston Chronicle is here http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/hotstories/6693964.html, the New York Times here http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/31/us/31oquinn.html and his friend and law school classmate Gerald Treece weighs in with a nice remembrance http://www.rosespeaks.com/rose-blog/2009/11/01/john-maurice-o%E2%80%99quinn%E2%80%99s-formal-obituary-by-friend-gerald-treece/. The blog Tex Parte is keeping up on his will and the future of the firm http://texaslawyer.typepad.com/texas_lawyer_blog/2009/11/oquinns-will-filed-for-probate-details-disposition-of-assets.html.
O’Quinn, who was among the Lawdragon 500 Leading Litigators in America, told the Texas Monthly about his view of plaintiff work in 1995: “When the bad guys come, who do you want? You don’t want some namby-pamby son of a bitch. If companies obeyed the law, I’d be the Maytag repairman.”