John W. Houghtaling, II
John Houghtaling is managing partner and majority owner of Gauthier, Houghtaling LLP, a law firm with a 42 year old legacy that paved the way to the $358 billion U.S. tobacco settlement in 1998, and won settlements and verdicts in an additional $4 billion.
Houghtaling began his career in 1996 moving boxes of files for $8 an hour in the Gauthier Firm. At the time, Wendell Gauthier was leading a coalition of 100 law firms against the U.S. tobacco industry, an epic battle that would lead to the $358 billion U.S. tobacco settlement in 1998. Gauthier and his partner took Houghtaling out of the file room and promoted him to a law clerk in 1997, and as an attorney in 1998. By 2013, Houghtaling would be featured on the front cover of CityBusiness Magazine in an article entitled, "Famed N.O. Practice Ruled by New Lawyer,” describing how within 8 years Houghtaling rose from the file room to managing partner of the firm.
In 2014, Houghtaling's career was featured in an hour long CNN documentary episode of Inside Man with Morgan Spurlock. In addition to CNN, Houghtaling’s career has been featured in a documentary on Frontline, and appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, Fox News, and more than 100 print and TV media. One of Houghtaling’s high profile corporate fraud cases against a U.S. billionaire served as the basis for the 2017 Hollywood legal thriller, Misconduct, staring Al Pacino as the New Orleans lawyer, and Anthony Hopkins.
Houghtaling has personally collected hundreds of millions of dollars for his clients in his career, and his business development legal work has been responsible for ongoing infrastructure development of more than $8 billion. He practices in three main fields: 1) property insurance; 2) catastrophic personal injury; and 3) project developmental strategy and enforcement in the oil, gas and energy sectors.
For the past decade, Houghtaling has been at the forefront of the collection surrounding the national property insurance industry. In 2014, Houghtaling was appointed Plaintiffs Liaison counsel by the United States Federal Court for the Eastern District in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The legal team put together by Houghtaling uncovered widespread fraud within the FEMA Flood Insurance Program. While representing over two thousand property owners in New York and New Jersey, the legal victories of his team collected over $100 million for victims, led FEMA to admit that third parties committed fraud to underpay storm victims, and also led FEMA to reopen the program for over 144,000 storm victims. The work of his legal team was profiled in the Frontline documentary, "The Business of Disaster," on 60 Minutes, and on CNN's Inside Man and led to the arrest of insurance industry executives by the Attorney General of New York.
In 2005, Houghtaling served as special counsel to the Attorney General of Louisiana in the multi-billion dollar litigation of policyholder rights in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. His firm secured hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance funds to rebuild thousands of properties in several states.
He is the only attorney in Louisiana who has ranked as one of CityBusiness Magazine’s top 50 lawyers in New Orleans for five consecutive years, and he was named Louisiana SuperLawyer from 2010 through 2014.
Houghtaling has had a string of wrongful death and product liability victories that have set records in Louisiana including a $4.3 million marine wrongful death settlement in 1999, and a $6.25 million settlement for a local New Orleans business in a breach of contract action in 2005. Additional recoveries include $7 million in one of the largest personal injury settlements in Louisiana, $5.25 million in a multi-death fatality, $4.7 million for a drunk driver fatality in in 2004, and in 2015 he headed the expert discovery and theory that led to a $49 million personal injury verdict in the case of Taylor vs. American Home Insurance.
Contacts: Energy & Corporate Development
Houghtaling also specializes in energy sector contracts. From 1998-2004, he was involved in the development of the 144MW Nejapa Power Plant, the first IPP power plant in El Salvador. In 2003, he won a $12 million settlement for a local Louisiana business due to contamination of its land.
In 2010, Houghtaling became the CEO of Ocean Therapy Solutions, an oil service company he founded with business partner, Kevin Costner. In the aftermath of the BP Horizon oil spill, Houghtaling secured a $167 million contract with Houghtaling and Costner's company to deployed 32 centrifuge devices on vessels designed by Edison Chouest Offshore. Houghtaling also served as special legal counsel to BP for state and Federal relations in the aftermath of the spill.
In 2014, Houghtaling won a $17 million settlement against a closely held private company on a fuel supply contract.
In 2014, Houghtaling negotiated and contracted for the raising of over $50 million of private equity for an investment start-up, and $250 million contingent capital investment in the oil and gas energy sector.
In 2015, Houghtaling negotiated directly with the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea for a preliminary Power Purchase Agreement for an establishment of a $1.5 billion power project in Papua New Guinea.
In 2016, Houghtaling, as general counsel and CEO of the company American Ethane, assisted in negotiating and signing fuel Supply Agreements of over 5 million tons of ethane gas to two of the largest ports in China, and is currently involved in the negotiations of contracts associated with over $8 billion of debt and equity associated with domestic and international LEG infrastructure.
● 2/28/05, CityBusiness Magazine, Cover: “Famed N.O. Practice Ruled by New Lawyer”
● 3/29/05, Times Picayune, Chris Rose article and interview, “Law Firm Celebration rolls out the Red Carpet with KC & Sunshine Band"
● 12/2009, New Orleans Living Magazine, Cover: “John Houghtaling is Making His Mark”
● 12/15/2009, New Orleans Living TV, “Executive Profile: John Houghtaling”
● 2005, CityBusiness Magazine, “Leadership in Law, Top 50 Lawyers”
● 2006, CityBusiness Magazine, “Leadership in Law, Top 50 Lawyers"
● 2007, CityBusiness Magazine, “Leadership in Law, Top 50 Lawyers"
● 2008, CityBusiness Magazine, “Leadership in Law, Top 50 Lawyers"
● 2009, CityBusiness Magazine, “Leadership in Law, Top 50 Lawyers"
● 1/2010, SuperLawyers Magazine, re: SuperlawyersRecognition bios
● 1/2011, Superlawyers Magazine, Superlawyers Recognition
● 1/2013, SuperLawyers Magazine, re: SuperlawyersRecognition bios
Oil & Gas, Energy Business
● 5/14/2010, WWL Eyewitness Morning News at 6 AM; WGNO ABC 26 News at 6:30 PM re: Oil Spill Clean up Machine
● 5/18/2010, WDSU New Channel 6 at 10pm; WVUE Fox 8 at 9pm; and WGNO ABC 26 News at 10pm, re: Ocean Therapy Solutions
● 5/19/2010, WVUE Fox 8 at 9PM, re: Clean Up Solutions – Doug Suttles
● 5/19/2010, NewYorkTimes.com, “Ocean Therapy Solutions: If You Build It…”
● 5/19/2010, NYPost.com, “Kevin Costner’s Machine to Help Clean Up Gulf Oil Spill: Report”
● 5/20/10, ABA Journal, “Kevin Costner & Trial Lawyer Partner Come to BP’s Aid With Oil Spill ‘Vacuum Cleaner’”
● 5/23/10, The London Times, “Kevin Costner’s Clean-Up Operation”
● 6/2010 - CNN News Room re: Ocean Therapy Solutions
● 6/2010, FNC Fox & Friends at 7 AM re: Ocean Therapy Solutions
● 6/2010, WVUE Fox 8 at 5 PM re: Ocean Therapy Solutions
● 6/2/2010, CBS Evening News at 5:30 PM re: BP Suggestions.
● 6/3/10, The New York Times, “Oil Leak Inspires Novel Ideas”
● 6/18/2010, WWL Eyewitness News at 6p.m.; WDSU News Channel 6 at 5p.m.; WVUE Fox 8 at 9 p.m.; WGNO ABC 26News at 10p.m. re: Ocean Therapy Solutions
● 8/2010, WVUE Fox 8 at 6 AM re: BIRDS Fundraiser
● 6/10/2010, The Denver Post, “Costner Touts His Oil Mop-Up Machine On Hill”
● 8/25/2010, UCLA Today, “Engineering Team Optimizes New Device to Remove Oil From Gulf Waters”
● 9/2010, WWL Eyewitness Morning News at 6 AM and WDSU News Channel 6 at 10PM and WVU
● 8/21/06, WWL News re: Katrina Insurance Lawsuits
● 8/23/06, WWL News / WDSU News re: Katrina Insurance Lawsuits
● 11/17/06, WDSU News re: Insurance Lawsuits
● 8/2/07, WDSU News Channel 6 at 6:00PM & 9:00PM re: Insurance Ruling
● 8/3/07, WDSU New Channel 6 at 12:00PM re: Insurance
● 8/13/07, CityBusiness Magazine, “7,000 Katrina Cases Filed”
● 9/12/07, WDSU News Channel 6 at 6:00PM, and WVUE Fox 8 at 5:00PM & 9:00PM re: Insurance Appeal
● 4/8/08, WWL News / WVUE Fox 8 re: Lafayette Insurance Ruling
● 9/22/08, WDSU News re: Insurance Company Paying for Evacuation Expenses
● 11/29/2012 - Village Tattler, “John Houghtaling Speaks at Hurricane Sandy Recovery Night”
● 11/30/2012, Town of Huntington, “Building Department Open Dec. 1 to Process Sandy-Related Applications”
● 1/9/2013, Long Beach Patch, “New Orleans Attorney to Offer Tips on Hurricane Recovery”
● 1/10/2013, Long Beach Herald, “Residents Learn the Ropes: New Orleans Attorney Shares His Expertise with Hundreds”
● 1/10/2013, NBC 4, “Long Beach Hurricane Victims Offered Insurance Advice”
● 1/10/2013, YouTube.com, “Hurricane Sandy Insurance Claims Info Presentation”
● 11/29/2013, Newsday, Gulf Coast firms help more than 1,000 New Yorkers with post-Sandy suits
● 6/1/14, Morgan Spurlock Inside Man on CNN at 10 pm. EST., “Income Inequality and the American Dream”
● 10/16/14, E&E Publishing, LLC. “Lawyers allege insurance fraud is part of the big mess left by Superstorm Sandy.”
● 2/17/15, InternationalBusinessTimes.com, “Hurricane Sandy Lawsuit Battle: Homeowners Take On Insurers Claiming 'Secretly' Altered Engineering Reports”
● 3/1/15, CBS 60 Minutes documentary, “The Storm After The Storm”
● 3/13/15, InternationalBusinessTimes.com, “Hurricane Sandy: Four Class Action Lawsuits Allege Insurers Manipulated Software to Underpay FEMA Flood Claims”
● 3/13/15, Newsday.com, “New Sandy suits accuse insurance companies of shaving settlements”
● 5/1/15, Newsday.com, “FEMA: Thousands of insurance settlements did not include sales tax”
● 5/24/16, Frontline/PBS at 10:00 pm PDT, special report “Business of Disaster”
● 5/27/16, The Forum, “‘Business of Disaster’ Examines who Profits When Disasters like Superstorm Sandy Strike”
● 8/1/16, New York Times, “Long Island Company Charged in Insurance Scheme After Hurricane Sandy”
● 8/1/16, Fox News, “Indictment: Engineering firm altered Sandy damage reports”