Texas Tech University

John L. Watts

Charles B. “Tex” Thornton Professor of Law, 2015

Email: john.watts@ttu.edu

Phone: (806) 834-7950

Admitted to Practice in Virginia and Washington, DC

Upon graduation from law school, Professor Watts worked as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Henry Coke Morgan, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Following his clerkship, he practiced law for eight years in Norfolk, Virginia, as a civil litigator in the areas of personal injury, product liability, and False Claims Act, qui tam, "Whistleblower" litigation. Prior to joining the faculty of Texas Tech School of Law, Professor Watts was on the faculty of Barry University's Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law in Orlando, Florida.

Professor Watts teaches Torts, Evidence, Products Liability, Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, Civil Procedure, Remedies, Agricultural Law and Trial Advocacy.

Professor Watts was the recipient of the Texas Tech University President's Excellence in Teaching Award (2014); the Student Bar Associations Professor of the Year for 2009-2010, 2011-2012, 2012-2013, and 2013-2014; the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity of Texas Tech University School of Law for 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2013-2014, 2014-2015, and 2017-2018; and the Texas Tech University School of Law, Hispanic Law Student Association, Professor of the Year (2015-2016).

Prior to attending college, Professor Watts served four years in the United States Marine Corps and had the honor of guarding President Ronald Reagan at Camp David.

View Professor Watts's CV here.

Photo Description


  • J.D., Harvard Law School, 1996
  • B.A., University of Maryland, 1992


  • Torts
  • Evidence
  • Products Liability
  • Constitutional Law
  • Civil Procedure
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Products Liability
  • Agricultural Law
  • Trial Advocacy
  • Remedies
  • Public International Law

Selected Publications and Presentations

Freedom of Speech on Campus: University of Texas at San Antonio, Panelist with Daniel H. Sharphorn, Vice Chancellor and General Counsel of The University of Texas System, and David J. Hacker, Special Counsel for Civil Litigation Office of the Attorney General, October 24, 2018  

A Confused Sea: Vicarious Liability for Punitive Damages Under Maritime Law, 91 Tul. L. Rev. 691 (2017)

Tyranny by Proxy: State Action and the Private Use of Deadly Force, 89 Notre Dame L. Rev. 1237 (2014)

Fairness and Utility in Products Liability: Balancing Individual Rights and Social Welfare, 39 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 579 (2011)

Fairness and Utility in Products Liability, Southern Methodist University School of Law, Faculty Forum, September 9, 2009, Dallas, TX

Differences Without Distinctions: Boyle's Government Contractor Defense Fails to Recognize the Critical Differences Between Civilian and Military Plaintiffs and Between Military and Non-Military Procurement, 60 Okla. L. Rev. 647 (Winter 2007)

To Tell the Truth: A Qui Tam Action for Perjury in a Civil Proceeding is Necessary to Protect the Integrity of the Civil Judicial System, 79 Temple L. Rev. 773 (2006)