False Claim & OCSLA Actions Against Major Oil Company (S.Dist. Tex. 2014)
Assumed a lead role in securing a final take-nothing summary judgment in a suit seeking $266 billion and an injunction to shut down a major oil company's offshore platform under the False Claims Act and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, based on purported misrepresentations about the platform designs.
Aguilar v. Heckmann Water Resources, No. 12-06-11697-DCVCLM (293rd Judicial Dist., Dimmit County)
Obtained a remittitur of $105 million and ultimately a full settlement after being hired post-verdict following the largest jury verdict in Texas in 2013. The underlying personal injury lawsuit arose from a vehicle and truck accident and lead to an initial $281 million jury verdict. The case involved intense negotiations with the carrier, a parallel declaratory judgment action, supersedeas bond disputes and post-trial discovery.
Heckmann Water Resources v. Aguilar, No. 04-14-240-CV (Tex. App.—San Antonio, August 13, 2014)(mem. op. setting aside and remanding judgment)
Handled the post-trial and appellate matters arising from the largest verdict in Texas in 2013. Following intense post-trial proceedings and negotiations, the company fully settled all claims arising from this personal injury lawsuit relating to a vehicle and truck accident in the Eagle Ford Shale. The jury initially awarded $281 million in damages, which were later reduced as a result of post-trial motions, including a remittitur of $105 million.
In re Woodfill, No. 14-14-00648-CV, 2014 WL 4088704 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Aug. 15, 2014, orig. proceeding) (mem. op.)
Defeated a petition for writ of mandamus in the Houston court of appeals that sought to rescind the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.
McBride v. Estis Well Service, L.L.C., No. 12-30714 (5th Cir. 2013, 2014)
Submitted amicus curiae briefs on behalf of the Offshore Marine Service Association, the International Association of Drilling Contractors and the American Waterways Operators in support of petition for rehearing en banc regarding availability of punitive damages for claims of unseaworthiness brought by Jones Act seamen and, upon the granting of the petition for rehearing en banc.
Greater Houston Partnership v. Abbott, No. 13-0745 (Tex. 2014, pet. filed)
Represent Greater Houston's chamber of commerce before the Texas Supreme Court in a challenge concerning the release of records under the Texas Public Information Act (TPIA). The court has ordered full briefing on the merits.
Class Action Against Major Refiner (S. Dist. Tex. 2013)
Defeated class certification in lawsuit alleging that owners' property values were diminished by alleged emissions from a refinery and seeking $10 billion in damages.
Belehu v. Lawniczak, No. 14-13-00619-CV (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2013, appeal pending)
Obtained a permissive appeal from a denial of a summary judgment concerning interpretation of liability under the Texas Tort Claims Act as applied to a driver for an independent contractor for a transit authority.
TimeGate Studios, Inc. v. SouthPeak Interactive, LLC, 860 F. Supp. 2d 350 (S.D. Tex. 2012)
Persuaded a federal district court to vacate a more than $9 million arbitration award entered against a video game developer under the Federal Arbitration Act because the award violated the essence of the publishing agreement that was the subject of the parties' dispute.
Texas Rice Land Partners, Ltd. v. Denbury Green Pipeline-Texas, LLC, 363 S.W.3d 192 (Tex. 2012)
Represented carbon dioxide pipeline in the Texas Supreme Court in eminent domain case that drew state and national attention for its pronouncements on the requirements for a pipeline to become a common carrier.
LHC Nashua Partnership, LTD v. PDNED Sagamore Nashua, LLC, 659 F.3d 450 (5th Cir. 2011)
Won reversal of a $25.5 million jury award in which the Fifth Circuit vacated the damages for alleged lost profits arising out of a contract concerning the transfer of rights to purchase shopping mall property.
Minnis v. Citrin Holdings, No. 2006-78939 (133rd Dist. Ct., Harris County, Tex.)
In a real estate partnership dispute, assisted plaintiff's trial counsel with post-trial briefing and formation of judgment issues in connection with the entry of $54.6 million judgment in favor of our client.
Midland Cent. Appraisal Dist. v. BP America Production Co., 282 S.W.3d 215 (Tex. App.-Eastland 2009, pet. denied), cert. denied, 2011 U.S. LEXIS 3129 (Apr. 18, 2011)
In the leading case on taxability of crude oil, persuaded the court to construe the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution to hold that oil moving through a tank farm remains in interstate commerce and therefore is not subject to ad valorem taxation. This appellate decision controls the outcome in numerous pending cases in which an appraisal district seeks to tax oil in transit through a pipeline system.
Homolka v. Clark, 416 Fed. App'x 408 (5th Cir. 2011)
Persuaded the Fifth Circuit to affirm a take-nothing summary judgment that defeated multi-million dollar claims for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract based on allegations of a joint venture between the parties.
Insurance Fraud Appeal (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2011)
In the wake of a massive scam involving the sale of counterfeit insurance policies, represented to resolution an insurance company in an appeal from a summary judgment on RICO claims and a jury verdict on fraud, the Lanham Act, and the Texas Insurance Code.
United States of America v. Hoeffner, No. 4:07-cr-00263 (S.D.-Houston Div. 2010)
Following a 15-count indictment charging him with conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, we represented a prominent lawyer, who had recovered millions of dollars for his clients in toxic tort lawsuits. The indictment alleged payment of bribes and kickbacks to two employees of an insurance company in connection with the settlements of these lawsuits. After a 6-week trial, the judge declared a mistrial when the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. The case involved thousands of documents, more than 30 witnesses, and numerous complex motions.
H. v. C. (S.D. Tex.-Houston Div. 2010)
Won a take-nothing summary judgment to defeat a multi-million dollar claim alleging breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract based on a claim that a joint venture existed between the parties.
Whirlpool v. Camacho, 298 S.W.3d 631 (Tex. 2009)
Obtained reversal from the Texas Supreme Court of a $14 million products liability judgment arising out of a fire because the plaintiffs’ expert’s causation testimony was scientifically unreliable. The Court held that both Texas tests for reliability – the “analytical gap” test and the Robinson
-factor test – typically should be used in evaluating expert testimony, and that an expert must offer a convincing explanation for failing to test critical aspects of his theories when such testing is possible.
In re Union Pacific Railroad Co., 294 S.W.3d 589 (Tex. 2009)
In a mandamus proceeding, persuaded the Texas Supreme Court to require a trial court to vacate its order compelling a railroad to produce trade secret information, including its formulas for setting shipping rates.
Ibarra v. Baker, No. 08-20220, 338 Fed. App'x 457, 2009 WL 2244659 (5th Cir. July 28, 2009)
Persuaded the Fifth Circuit to vacate a district court's findings that two attorneys engaged in misconduct by giving or abiding false testimony.
Navasota Resources, L.P. v. First Source Texas, Inc., 249 S.W.3d 526 (Tex. App.-Waco 2008, pet. denied)
On behalf of an oil and gas exploration company, obtained reversal of an adverse trial court ruling and rendition of an appellate judgment enforcing a preferential right to purchase oil and gas leasehold interests.
Williams v. Williams, 246 S.W.3d 207 (Tex. App. - Houston [14th Dist.] 2007, no pet.)
Successfully appealed a judgment dividing a marital estate by persuading the court of appeals that the trial court misinterpreted the parties’ premarital agreement.
In re Harris County, Texas, No. 05-20404, 240 Fed. Appx. 644 (5th Cir. June 28, 2007)
Persuaded the Fifth Circuit to grant mandamus relief and vacate an order that disqualified the Harris County Attorney’s office from representing Harris County and its law enforcement officers in a civil rights case.
Abraham v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., 233 S.W.3d 13 (Tex. App. - Houston [14th Dist.] 2007, pet. denied)
Successfully defended on appeal a take-nothing summary judgment in favor of a railroad based on the inadmissibility of expert testimony, in a case brought under the Federal Employers Liability Act by approximately 300 claimants.
7979 Airport Garage, L.L.C. v. Dollar Rent A Car Systems, Inc., 245 S.W.3d 488 (Tex. App. - Houston [14th Dist.] 2007, pet. denied)
Assisted trial counsel with the jury charge, legal briefing, and issues relating to judgment formation in a commercial real estate dispute involving successful contract and warranty claims and the defense of fraud and estoppel counterclaims, and litigated at trial and on appeal issues relating to the segregation and recoverability of attorneys’ fees.
In re SCS, No. 06-0129 (Tex.); In re Marriage of DIS and SCS, No 2005-45073 (310th Dist. Ct., Harris County)
In a divorce case involving simultaneous proceedings in Texas and California, defended against a mandamus petition in the Texas Supreme Court challenging a choice of forum under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, and provided pre-trial analysis and briefing on legal issues and strategies in both the Texas and California trial courts, resulting in a favorable settlement shortly before trial.
Jones v. Brass, No. 99-01743 (113th Dist. Ct., Harris County, Tex.)
Obtained reinstatement of the plaintiff’s claims following an adverse summary judgment, won summary judgment for the plaintiff dismissing one defendant’s counterclaims, successfully defeated an interlocutory appeal by two out-of-state defendants of the trial court’s denial of their special appearance, and ultimately achieved a very favorable settlement for the plaintiff in a breach of a commercial contract, fraudulent transfer and conspiracy case.
Pintail Production Co. v. Osprey Petroleum Co., Nos. 13-06-069-CV, 13-06-151-CV, 2006 WL 1030150 (Tex. App. - Corpus Christi Apr. 20, 2006, no pet.) (mem. op.)
In an oil and gas dispute, obtained dismissal of an accelerated appeal and a related petition for writs of injunction and mandamus.
Jim Wells County v. El Paso Production Oil & Gas Co., 189 S.W.3d 861 (Tex. App. - Houston [1st Dist.] 2006, pet. denied)
Persuaded the Texas Supreme Court to transfer 19 appeals pending in two courts of appeals to a third court of appeals, and successfully defended the trial court’s dismissal of 19 ad valorem taxing suits alleging fraud and negligent misrepresentation against scores of oil companies, where the taxing units filed the suits in district court in an attempt to circumvent the Tax Code administrative process and without exhausting their administrative remedies.
Harvest House Publishers v. The Local Church, 190 S.W.3d 204 (Tex. App. - Houston [1st Dist.] 2006, pet. denied)
In an interlocutory appeal following the trial court’s denial of summary judgment, obtained rendition of a take-nothing judgment for a media defendant in a defamation case.
BMG Direct Marketing, Inc. v. Peake, 178 S.W.3d 763 (Tex. 2005)
Won reversal of an order that certified a class of hundreds of thousands of Texas-based music club members who sought recovery of late fees paid on their compact disc purchases.
Trigeant Holdings, Ltd. v. Jones, 183 S.W.3d 717 (Tex. App. - Houston [1st Dist.] 2005, pet. denied)
Successfully defended two out-of-state entities’ interlocutory appeal of the denial of their special appearances by persuading the court of appeals that the entities committed acts in Texas for which they were potentially liable under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act.
Schott Glas v. Adame, 178 S.W.3d 307 (Tex. App. - Houston [14th Dist.] 2005, pet. denied)
Obtained reversal of an order denying a special appearance resulting in the dismissal of an action brought by thousands of plaintiffs against a major German manufacturer.
Texas First National Bank v. Ng, 167 S.W.3d 842 (Tex. App. - Houston [14th Dist.] 2005, pet. granted, judgment vacated w.r.m.)
Successfully appealed a partially adverse judgment and defeated a cross-appeal after a jury trial in a breach of fiduciary duty case.
Texas First National Bank v. Wu, 347 F. Supp. 2d 389 (S.D. Tex. 2004)
Obtained remand from federal district court to state court in a case involving a dispute by bank officers over control of the bank.
Tribble & Stephens Co. v. RGM Constructors, LP, 154 S.W.3d 639 (Tex. App. - Houston [14th Dist.] 2004, pet. denied)
Obtained reversal of a summary judgment in dispute over interpretation of a construction contract.
Laredo Medical Group Corp. v. Mireles, 155 S.W.3d 417 (Tex. App. - San Antonio 2004, pet. denied)
Obtained reversal of a $1.5 million judgment in a wrongful termination case against a hospital, based on an error in the jury charge.
Volkswagen of America v. Ramirez, 159 S.W.3d 897 (Tex. 2004)
In a products liability case, obtained reversal of a nearly $20 million judgment and rendition of a judgment that the plaintiffs take nothing, by persuading the Texas Supreme Court that the testimony of the plaintiffs’ expert witness concerning the cause of an automobile accident was scientifically unreliable.
Moni Pulo Ltd. v. Trutec Oil & Gas, Inc., 130 S.W.3d 170 (Tex. App. - Houston [14th Dist.] 2003, pet. denied)
Won reversal of an order denying a special appearance, resulting in dismissal of a suit that sought more than $100 million in contract damages against an oil company. This complex case involved a dispute over title to an oil field off the coast of Nigeria, with two separate parallel proceedings in the trial and appellate courts of Nigeria, and another in the International Court of Justice at the Hague.
N.P., Inc. v. Turboff, 111 S.W.3d 40 (Tex. 2003)
Obtained a unanimous reversal in the Texas Supreme Court of a judgment that denied a property owner recovery of a municipal utility district reimbursement valued at more than $2 million.
Frias v. Atlantic Richfield Co., 104 S.W.3d 925 (Tex. App. - Houston [14th Dist.] 2003, no pet.)
In an appeal in which the key issue was the reliability of an expert's testimony, successfully defended a no-evidence summary judgment against an employee of a petrochemical refinery.
Reversal of Class Certification Order Against Major National Retailer
Won reversal of a class certification order that certified a class of 350,000 employees against major national retailer.
Montgomery v. O’Quinn, No. 99-47502, (189th Dist. Ct., Harris County, Tex.)
In a breach of contract suit seeking $120 million in damages against an attorney and law firm, assisted trial counsel in formulating trial strategy, took responsibility for all law matters, filed and argued numerous pre-trial motions (including summary judgment motions, motions concerning privilege, and other discovery matters), and prepared the jury charge.
Piotrowski v. City of Houston, 237 F.3d 567 (5th Cir. 2001)
In a case that defined the limits of state-created danger as a basis for liability, won reversal of a $26 million judgment and rendition of a take-nothing judgment in favor of the City of Houston.
El Paso Natural Gas Co. v. Minco Oil & Gas, Inc., 8 S.W.3d 309 (Tex. 1999)
In an appeal of a multi-million dollar award in an oil and gas case, won reversal and rendition of a take-nothing judgment by persuading the Texas Supreme Court to hold that Texas law does not recognize a duty of good faith under Article Two of the Uniform Commercial Code.
Ensley v. Cody Resources, Inc., 171 F.3d 315 (5th Cir. 1999)
In a dispute involving a business acquisition and stock distribution, successfully defended an appellate challenge to a judgment in favor of a broker and consultant for petroleum-related businesses.
In the Interest of O.G.M., a Child, 988 S.W.2d 473 (Tex. App. - Houston [1st Dist.] 1999, pet. dism’d)
Prosecuted an appeal in the first Texas case to address parental rights involving a child conceived through in vitro fertilization; persuaded the Texas Supreme Court to hear the case and presented argument, after which the parties reached a settlement.
General Tire, Inc. v. Kepple, 970 S.W.2d 520 (Tex. 1998)
Prevented disclosure of trade secrets in the case in which the Texas Supreme Court established the procedural rules for sealing court records.
Bank One, Texas, N.A. v. Stewart, 967 S.W.2d 419 (Tex. App. - Houston [14th Dist.] 1998, pet. denied)
Obtained reversal and rendition of a take nothing judgment in a $20 million case concerning the financing of a land acquisition.
Williams v. WMX Technologies, Inc. 112 F.3d 175 (5th Cir. 1997)
Won a reversal through a permissive appeal to the Fifth Circuit, resulting in the dismissal of all claims in a fraud, securities fraud, and RICO case.
Exxon Corp. v. Lloyds of London, No. 93-40252, (189th Dist. Ct., Harris County, Tex.)
Acted as counsel in charge of legal proceedings (including summary judgments, privilege disputes, removal and remand, and the jury charge) for Exxon Corporation in its suit against Lloyds of London for failure to provide insurance coverage for the grounding of the Valdez; the trial resulted in a judgment for $420 million.
Universal Services Co., v. Ung, 904 S.W.2d 638 (Tex. 1995)
In a construction accident case persuaded the Texas Supreme Court to reverse a multi-million dollar judgment and render a take-nothing judgment in favor of an international engineering company.
State Bar of Texas v. Gomez, 891 S.W.2d 243 (Tex. 1994)
On behalf of the State Bar of Texas, won an appeal in the Texas Supreme Court in a case concerning mandatory pro bono for lawyers.
Boyles v. Kerr, 855 S.W.2d 593 (Tex. 1993)
In a case that established Texas law curtailing negligent infliction of emotional distress claims, won reversal by the Texas Supreme Court of a judgment for damages under a homeowner's policy.
Granite State Insurance Co. v. Tandy Corp., 507 U.S. 1026 (1993)
Represented a major corporation in the United States Supreme Court in a coverage matter involving a conflict between state and federal jurisdiction; the case settled favorably to the corporation following oral argument and was dismissed.
Sakowitz v. Gregory, No. 4:92-CV-01406 (S.D. Tex. 1993)
Successfully challenged a state probate court’s order improperly granting a new trial against a prominent individual; creative legal analysis enabled the client to prevail in civil rights proceedings brought in federal court to challenge the wrongful state court action.
Granada Corp. v. Honorable First Court of Appeals, 844 S.W.2d 223 (Tex. 1992)
Obtained a unanimous opinion from the Texas Supreme Court granting mandamus relief, in a case that established Texas law on the inadvertent production of documents and the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege.
United States ex rel. Abbott v. BP P.L.C., BP America, Inc., BP Exploration and Production, Inc.
Representation of BP in United States ex rel. Abbott v. BP P.L.C., BP America, Inc., BP Exploration and Production, Inc.
(S.D. Tex.), a False Claims Act qui tam
suit involving allegations of false certifications of compliance with regulations governing defendants’ offshore oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico.