Less than ten years ago, John Houghtaling took a job moving boxes in the file room of the Gauthier firm to pay for room and board during law school at Loyola. Now at 40 years of age, he has become one of the most successful attorneys in the region.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Houghtaling won a $26 million settlement for a high-rise building owner in Metairie and a $7.2 million settlement for an owner of a damaged high-rise in New Orleans. To date, Gauthier, Houghtaling and Williams has collected over $100 million in property damage and business interruption claims.
In the summer of 2010, John Houghtaling took a brief leave of absence from Gauthier, Houghtaling and Williams to serve as Chief Executive Officer of Ocean Therapy Solutions, a company he cofounded with actor Kevin Costner. OTS markets centrifuge machines which separate oil and water and were used by BP to clean up the Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Houghtaling played a critical role in the company’s government and public relations, and was responsible for introducing the innovative technology to BP.
As managing partner, Mr. Houghtaling also oversees the firm's Houston office which successfully represented the owner of 11 high-rise office buildings and nine Baptist churches, all of which suffered damage during Ike.
Mr. Houghtaling has had astonishing litigation success, collecting over $100 million for individual clients since 2003: $12 million dollars for a local Louisiana business due to contamination of its land in 2003, and $6.25 million dollars for a local New Orleans business in a breach of contract action in 2005. Additional recoveries include $7 million dollars in one of the largest personal injury settlements in Louisiana, $5.25 million dollars in a multi-death fatality in Bordelon v. Kansas City Railroad in 2004, $4.7 million for a drunk driver fatality in Deshotel v. Classic Cable in 2004.
Mr. Houghtaling is listed in the 2011 Business Edition of Super Lawyers magazine and the 2010 edition of Louisiana SuperLawyers. To make the list, attorneys are evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. These include: verdicts, settlements, transactions, representative clients, experience, honors and awards, special licenses and certifications, position within law firm, bar and or other professional activity, pro bono and community service, scholarly lectures and writings, education and employment background and other outstanding achievements.
In March of 2005, in an article entitled "Legendary Law Firm Ruled by New Lawyer", CityBusiness Magazine featured Mr. Houghtaling on their front cover when he overtook the leadership of the Gauthier firm following Wendell Gauthier's passing. In 2008, for the fourth year in a row, Mr. Houghtaling was ranked as one of the "Top 50 Lawyers in New Orleans" by CityBusiness Magazine. He is the only lawyer to have been so recognized each year the honor has been given. He was inducted into the Magazine's Hall of Fame in 2009. Under his stewardship as managing partner, Gauthier, Houghtaling and Williams has been honored on three separate occasions by the magazine as one of New Orleans' "Best Places to Work."
Community involvement is important to Mr. Houghtaling. In 2010, cofounded the Harris Country Benevolent Foundation, raised $425,000 and became president of the nonprofit 501C3 corporation. In 2009, he gathered celebrity chef friends Thomas Keheller, Daniel Boulud and Jerome Bocuse and hosted the Dinner of the Decade, raising $100,000 for local charities.
In 2008, he personally raised $20,000 for the Make a Wish Foundation and donated $50,000 to Morgan Freeman's PLAN!T NOW, a non-profit organization founded by actor Morgan Freeman which provides assistance to communities at risk from the effects of storm and hurricane-related disasters.
He received his law degree from Loyola University where he was a member of the law review. He holds a B.A. from Emory University.
Board member, New Orleans World Trade Center
Board member, Cancer Crusaders
Founder, French Quarter Classic
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 New Orleans CityBusiness Leadership in Law Honoree
2009 Inductee, CityBusiness Leadership in Law Hall of Fame
2010 Louisiana SuperLawyer
2011 Super Lawyer, Business Edition