Thad Behrens

Practices

Education and Clerkships

J.D., McGeorge School of Law, 1997, with great distinction; Valedictorian Award; Outstanding Graduate Award; Order of the Coif; Chief Articles Editor, Pacific Law Journal (now McGeorge Law Review)

B.A., Bucknell University, 1990

Bar Admissions

California

Texas

Court Admissions

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

Profile

Thad Behrens is Chair of the firm's national Class Action Defense practice, and has helped numerous clients turn a seemingly intractable litigation challenge into a victory. 

Mr. Behrens frequently represents companies, directors and officers in securities fraud class actions, shareholder derivative cases, M&A litigation, proxy contest lawsuits, SEC investigations and internal investigations. He also is regularly called upon to represent companies in complex class actions and other commercial litigation, including cases involving consumer disputes, environmental claims and business torts. In 2012, Mr. Behrens was named a Best Lawyer in Dallas, based upon a survey of his peers conducted by D Magazine. He was recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer, 2013-2014.

A former federal law clerk and president of the Dallas Federal Bar Association, Mr. Behrens balances his practice between state and federal courts. He has represented clients in complex business disputes in courts throughout Texas and around the country. 

Mr. Behrens also frequently speaks and writes on issues related to securities litigation, fiduciary litigation and government enforcement. His recent speeches include: 

  • "Waking Up to Find a Whistleblower," Haynes and Boone Client Event 
  • "D&O Fiduciary Duties in M&A Transactions," Stafford Publishing Webinar 
  • "Avoiding the Government's Hot Buttons: A Practical Guide for Public Companies and Executives," Haynes and Boone Client Forum 
  • "Hostile Takeovers, Proxy Contests and Shareholder Activism in the 2009 Economic Environment," PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP Boardroom Group Presentation 
  • "Director and Officer Fiduciary Duties in the Insolvency Context," Texas State Bar Advanced In-House Counsel Course 
  • "Federal Court Discovery," Texas Bar CLE

Touchdown

NFL Super Bowl Trial

Haynes and Boone Garners National Attention for "A Series of Touchdowns" Scored on Behalf of the NFL in Super Bowl Seating Trial

The verdict in the federal jury trial arising from the issues with the installation of temporary seating at Super Bowl XLV continues to garner national attention.  As quoted in the New York Times, Haynes and Boone partner and lead trial attorney Thad Behrens noted that “the NFL has always accepted responsibility for the problems that were experienced by some of its fans at Super Bowl XLV and has attempted from the beginning to compensate them for their genuinely received losses and inconvenience."  But on the most disputed issue in the trial—whether the League fraudulently induced two of the plaintiffs into purchasing seats with obstructed views for the game—the NFL prevailed decisively.  NBC Sports hailed the verdict as “a big win for the league.”  The Texas Lawbook called the verdict in the case the latest in “a series of touchdowns for the NFL’s lawyers, who all practice at Haynes and Boone.”  
 
When the case was filed in February 2011, the plaintiffs designed it as a multi-million dollar class action on behalf of potentially hundreds of Super Bowl XLV ticketholders.   The Haynes and Boone trial team began dismantling the opposition back in July 2012 when the Court dismissed nearly all of the tort claims in the case.  That victory was followed by another in 2013, when the team secured the denial of class certification.  
 
That led to Haynes and Boone’s successful defense of the League in the jury trial of the remaining seven Plaintiffs in the case. The Plaintiffs were seeking approximately $496,000 in actual and punitive damages. The Court granted a directed verdict in favor of the NFL on Plaintiffs’ punitive damages claims, and the jury ultimately awarded the Plaintiffs a total of only $75,850 – about $421,000 less than they were claiming. Of the victory, Thad Behrens said, “It has been a privilege and honor to represent the NFL in this case, and I couldn’t be more proud of the extraordinary team of Haynes and Boone lawyers and professionals who brought about this result for our client.”
 
The jury verdict in this case comes less than two months after Haynes and Boone obtained the dismissal of all claims brought against the NFL in connection with a class action brought in New Jersey arising from claims that the NFL’s distribution of tickets to Super Bowl XLVIII violated New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act.

Links to coverage - 

Texas Lawbook (subscription required)

NBC Sports

New York Times (subscription required)


Selected Client Representations

  • Denial of Class Certification for the National Football League in Consumer Class Action: Defeated class certification for the National Football League in lawsuit alleging claims of breach of contract and fraud against the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys for allegedly not providing prescribed seats to ticketholders at the Super Bowl XLV game. 
  • Denial of Class Certification in Environmental Class Action Related to Alleged Refinery Emission: Defeated class certification for BP Products North America, Inc. in lawsuit alleging that 14,000 residential property owners' property values were diminished by alleged emissions at the company's former oil refinery in Texas City, Texas. 
  • Defense of Oil and Gas E&P Company in Shareholder Derivative Lawsuit. Defending a private exploration and production company in a shareholder derivative lawsuit challenging an acquisition of oil and gas working interests.
  • Dismissal of Shareholder Derivative Suit. Represented national dairy processor in shareholder derivative suit alleging that the board of directors breached fiduciary duties in connection with purported antitrust violations by the company. Obtained dismissal of suit on grounds that shareholder failed to make required demand or show that demand was futile.
  • Defense of Accounting Restatement Claims: Defended worldwide pump manufacturer in a securities class action arising from multiple accounting restatements. Obtained order from Dallas federal court denying class certification and granting summary judgment in favor of the defendants. After appellate court remanded case for further proceedings and rejected plaintiffs' damages theory, achieved settlement. 
  • Denial of Class Certification and Dismissal of IPO Class Action: Successfully opposed class certification and obtained dismissal of "strict liability" claims under Section 11 of the Securities Act brought against a technology company client. Won affirmance of dismissal on appeal. 
  • Proxy Contest Victory: Obtained temporary restraining order against insurgent shareholders who had launched proxy contest to unseat three directors of independent oil and gas company. Restraining order prompted immediate settlement whereby proxy contest was withdrawn. 
  • Texas Securities Act Class Action Dismissal: Obtained dismissal on behalf of a chair manufacturer and its officers and directors of class action lawsuit alleging violations of Texas securities laws. 
  • Hedge Fund Litigation Win: Obtained complete refund of investment on behalf of hedge fund client in suit for securities violations related to a PIPE transaction. 
  • Limited Liability Company Fiduciary Litigation Victory: Prosecuted and defended related fiduciary duty lawsuits in Texas and California between business partners in limited liability company in the pharmaceutical industry. Secured ouster of chief executive officer and installation of new management, after which a favorable settlement was reached. 
  • White-Collar Criminal Jury Trial: Defended lawyer against federal criminal charges that he participated in a multi-million dollar bribe and kickback scheme. After the six-week trial, the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict and a mistrial was declared. 

Year in Review

2014 YEAR IN REVIEW – CLASS ACTION LITIGATION

The inaugural Class Action Litigation Year in Review focuses on key federal court decisions issued this year on class action issues. It does not attempt to catalogue every case, but rather, the focus is on a big picture overview of key cases and trends on issues that cut across all types of class actions.

Year in Review

Year in Review

Our annual Year in Review comments on significant securities-related decisions by the Supreme Court, federal appellate courts and district courts, notes key developments in SEC enforcement, and summarizes significant rulings in state law fiduciary litigation against directors and officers of public companies.

Professional and Community Activities

  • President, Federal Bar Association, Dallas Chapter, 2007-2008 
  • Executive Committee, Federal Bar Association, Dallas Chapter, 2003-2009 
  • Barrister, Patrick E. Higginbotham Inn of Court, 2010-2013 
  • Leadership Dallas Alumni 
  • Dallas Bar Association 
  • Board of Directors, Dallas Education Foundation

News and Publications

Securities Regulation

Bloomberg BNA

Thad Behrens comments in Bloomberg BNA's Securities Regulation & Law Report: Justices Could Take Middle Ground Over §11 Liability for Opinion Statements.

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