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10/29/2010

One year ago: John O'Quinn

October 29, 2010 |  6:00 am

John-oquinn John M. O'Quinn was a Texas lawyer who lived a lavish lifestyle furnished by the riches he received from high-profile lawsuit victories over wealthy corporations. He died one year ago at age 68 in an auto accident that also killed his passenger.

The 6-foot-4 O'Quinn, one of Houston's best-known trial attorneys, was known as a Texas-sized lawyer with a Texas-sized ego and a wallet to match. His John M. O'Quinn Foundation donated millions of dollars to the University of Houston, the Baylor College of Medicine and other institutions.

He also was the single largest contributor in the Texas governor's race, giving Democrat Chris Bell $1 million and loaning him an additional $1.7 million.

O'Quinn said he took in $3 billion from more than 3,000 breast-implant cases between 1992 and 2000. In 1995, Dow Corning, an implant manufacturer, cited his lawsuits as reasons for its bankruptcy filing.

Among his biggest prizes was a $3.3-billion fee he shared among five lawyers for helping the state of Texas settle its lawsuit against the tobacco industry.

For more on the high-spending Houston lawyer, read the entirety of John M. O'Quinn's obituary that appeared in The Times.

--Times staff and wire reports

Photo: John O'Quinn in 2006. Credit: Associated Press

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