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Joseph C. Portera

Partner

In the wake of the financial crisis, Joseph represented various financial institutions, including mortgage insurers, bond insurers, investment advisors, and financial guaranty insurers. While representing these clients, he was integrally involved in some of the nation’s first trials and arbitrations involving improperly and fraudulently underwritten loans.  The innovative work performed by Joseph and his colleagues in these matters included identifying and developing expert witnesses, creating new damage assessment methods and persuading courts to redress these claims. Other firms have looked to this model in similar cases. Today, Joseph continues in his innovative approach to complex legal issues by coupling creative legal strategies with highly developed, stand-up trial presentation skills.

Joseph’s exceptional ability to quickly grasp the workings of any industry and then distill and simplify the critical issues has enabled Joseph to develop a practice covering a broad range of industries. In the courtroom, he combines his industry knowledge with tested trial presentation skills to achieve success for his clients. Working with his Susman Godfrey colleagues, Joseph represents clients in a number of different fields, including investment management, mortgage insurance, energy, steel servicing and distribution, manufacturing, and fine art brokerage. Within these and other fields, Joseph has successfully handled diverse matters, including complex disputes involving structured financial products, product liability, intellectual property, contracts, insurance, fiduciary duties, and fraud.

Joseph is driven to provide his clients with the best possible results, and he expects his work to be judged on those results alone. He understands that the financial realities of litigation are a serious concern for both small businesses as well as large corporations. As a result, he encourages his clients to work with him to develop alternative billing options that will best meet their needs. This includes fixed fee, contingency fee, and other non-hourly fee arrangements that reward him for achieving positive results, and not merely for effort.

REPRESENTATIVE ENGAGEMENTS

  • Currently defending a New York art gallery in a breach of contract and fraud dispute brought by Marguerite Hoffman concerning the sale of a painting by Mark Rothko. (Marguerite Hoffman v. L&M Arts, et al., The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, No. 3:10-cv-00953-D). Successfully obtained dismissal of Hoffman’s fraud claim on summary judgment, and defeated Hoffman’s claim for $20-plus million in claimed damages against my client after a 6 day jury trial.
  • Represented Assured Guaranty in litigation against Flagstar Bancorp, Inc. concerning the quality of thousands of loans that were pooled to create mortgage-backed securities. After a bench trial, Joseph and his colleagues obtained a judgment in the amount of $106.5 million. The matter successfully concluded with a $105 million settlement. (Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. v. Flagstar Bank FSB, The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 11-02375).
  • Represented Genworth Mortgage Insurance Company in numerous confidential arbitrations concerning—in the aggregate—over a billion dollars in mortgage insurance coverage and related damages claims arising out of improperly underwritten residential home loans. Through this representation, Joseph helped Genworth navigate the financial crisis and saved them hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • Defended Energy Future Holdings in a suit brought by Alcoa involving a $500 million breach of contract claim. The case was tried to verdict in Milam County. After a jury and a bench trial, Alcoa was awarded nothing and our clients were awarded $10 million in damages on their counterclaim. (Alcoa Inc., v. Luminant Generation Company, LLC, 20th Judicial District Court Milam County Texas, No. 32,540).
  • Represented Dillard’s against i2 Technologies in a large fraud and breach of contract case, defeating a motion for summary judgment and later winning a $200 million+ verdict at a jury trial. (Dillard’s, Inc. v. i2 Technologies, Inc., 191st Judicial District Court Dallas County Texas, No. 07-10924-J).  The case subsequently settled for $57 million, and the client received $44,460,000.00 net of attorneys' fees.
  • Defended Sensata Technologies, Inc. (f/k/a/ Texas Instruments Incorporated) in dozens of product liability cases and obtained numerous summary judgments and dismissals. Additionally, Joseph successfully briefed, orally argued, and won a key appellate ruling before the Texas Court of Appeals. (Joyce Driskill, et al. v. Ford Motor Company, et al., The Court of Appeals for the Sixth District Texarkana Texas, No. 06-07-00119-cv).
  • Represented a confidential client in a large will contest case in Dallas County District Court and Probate Court concerning the death of a high net worth individual.
  • Represented Lockton Companies in an insurance broker negligence case involving a multi-million dollar damages claim against E21.
  • Briefed and won an appellate ruling from the Texas Court of Appeals in a multi-million dollar case concerning the acceleration of a promissory note and successfully defeated a petition for certiorari to the Texas Supreme Court. (Allan L. Burns, et al. v. Lawrence S. Stanton, The Court of Appeals for the Sixth District Texarkana Texas, No. 06-08-00070-cv).

EDUCATION

University of Texas School of Law (J.D., with high honors, 2006)
Università degli Studi di Siena, Facoltà di Giurisprudenza (2005)
St. Edmund Hall, University of Oxford (2001)
Colgate University (B.A., English Literature, magna cum laude, 2001)

JUDICIAL CLERKSHIP

Law Clerk to the Honorable Sidney A. Fitzwater
United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas

HONORS AND DISTINCTIONS

  • Selected as a "Rising Star" by Texas Super Lawyers magazine (2014, Law & Politics magazine, Thomson Reuters)
  • Order of the Coif
  • Member, Texas Law Review
  • Dean's Award in Cyberlaw
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Dean's Award for Academic Excellence (1997-2000)
  • Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society
  • Boris Zhitkov Prize in Russian Studies