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Warren T. Burns

Overview

I am a partner at Susman Godfrey LLP in Dallas, Texas.  As a trial lawyer, I trade in risk.  My clients depend on me to weigh the odds of any particular action or litigation strategy before engaging.  Most importantly, they depend on me to make the right decision.

Over the past several years as a partner at one of the nation’s premiere litigation boutiques, I have built a reputation for hard work and effectiveness.  I have carved a niche for myself in high-stakes, multidistrict antitrust litigation, along with other complex class action and commercial cases, including intellectual property matters.

I achieve results.  In 2012, I helped lead a Susman Godfrey trial team that took the first mortgage-backed-securities related case to trial.  We represented a bond insurer seeking to enforce its contractual rights against a bank that issued the securities.  In a landmark and game-changing trial, we secured a $106 million judgment on behalf of our client and obtained key pre-trial determinations that have had a domino effect in related cases. 

I am always ready for a new challenge, and I would like to talk to you about your case.  Please call me on my office or cell phone, and I will return your call promptly.

My Education and Non-Legal Work Experience

I am from a small town in Mississippi called Kosciusko.  My extended family on both sides has lived there for generations.  My upbringing had a profound impact on me.  I learned the value of community, the importance of joining in the lives of those around you and of making an impact in them.  I learned that to take the measure of someone, you need to spend time in that person’s shoes.  These are lessons I have carried with me throughout my career. 

I spent my college years at Ole Miss, studying the classics and obsessing over Rebel football.  I also played four years of rugby, starting each season as a second-row forward.  After college, I moved to the District of Columbia to work in public relations and fundraising.  I took a job as a junior fundraising staffer at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the largest Catholic church in the Americas.  Within a year, I was promoted to serve as the Communications Director at the Basilica.

I next moved to the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Institute, a social-services non-profit dedicated to assisting people with developmental disabilities in their efforts to live full and complete lives.  There, I served as the Director of Development and Public Relations.  Later, I moved to Asheville, North Carolina, to assume the role of Development Director at Riverlink, a regional non-profit.  At Riverlink, our focus was on restoration of the French Broad River and developing the economy along its banks.

I left Riverlink to attend Tulane Law School.  There, I graduated summa cum laude and Order of the Coif, and received the John Minor Wisdom Award, Tulane’s highest prize for graduating law students.  I also served as Editor in Chief of the Tulane Law Review. 

My Legal Experience

After law school, I served as a law clerk to the Honorable Paul J. Kelly, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.  I spent a year with Judge Kelly in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I assisted him with both appeals and the numerous district court cases he handled by designation.

After clerking, I joined Susman Godfrey in 2005.  I have been here ever since.  I am well versed in every aspect of litigation, and my clients look to me to represent them from case intake to ultimate resolution.  I pride myself on being available at any time to further my client’s objectives.  What follows is a representative list of my significant cases:

  • ANTITRUST CLASS ACTION / CLAIMS LIKELY EXCEEDING $1 BILLION / ONGOING:  Co-lead counsel in In re Automotive Parts Antitrust Litigation (E.D. Mich.) (2011-present) the civil follow-on to the largest Department of Justice antitrust investigation in history.  The consolidated proceedings involve nearly 30 separate parts cases.  I have briefed and argued class responses to motions to dismiss, and the case is now proceeding to discovery.
  • ANTITRUST CLASS ACTION / CLAIMS LIKELY EXCEEDING $100 MILLION / ONGOING:  Co-lead counsel in the first-filed case in In re Vehicle Carrier Services Antitrust Litigation (M.D. Fla.) (2013-present) now pending in the District of New Jersey.  I worked up this case up from conception to filing.
  • CONSUMER CLASS ACTION:  Lead trial counsel in Jackson v. Equifax (N.D. Ga.) (2013 to present).  I brought this case on behalf of a class of consumers that may ultimately number in the millions.  My clients seek statutory damages for a credit reporting agency’s multiple violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. 
  • COMMERCIAL CASES / CONFIDENTIAL SETTLEMENTS: Lead trial counsel in three cases against gas giant Chesapeake for breach of contract and underpayment of royalties relating to the oil and gas lease on the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.  I have represented minority and women-owned business enterprises in their efforts to enforce contractual provisions against Chesapeake.  I have settled all three cases successfully over the past three years, including one case that settled two days before trial.  
  • COMMERCIAL CASE / ONGOING:  Counsel in Trinity Valley School District v. Chesapeake (N.D. Tex.) (2013-present).  I currently serve as co-lead counsel in a royalty dispute on behalf of certain Fort Worth entities against Chesapeake for underpayment of royalties in the Barnett Shale.  
  • COMMERCIAL CASE / CONFIDENTIAL SETTLEMENT:  Lead trial counsel in a confidential arbitration representing a telecommunications company in its suit against its former billing aggregator.  My client hired me with less than three months to go before trial.   
  • SECURITIES CLASS ACTION / DEFENSE COUNSEL:  Counsel in Brady v. Kosmos Energy, Ltd. (N.D. Tex.) (2012-present) defending a start-up oil and gas company against allegations centering on its initial public offering.  The court recently denied plaintiffs’ motion for class certification. 
  • COMMERCIAL CASE / JUDGMENT EXCEEDING $100 MILLION:  Counsel in Assured Guaranty v. Flagstar Bank (S.D.N.Y.) (2011-2012), the first case to go to trial related to the residential mortgage backed securities market meltdown.  I represented a bond insurer in a suit against the securities issuer, resulting in a judgment of over $100 million.  In this expert-driven case, I managed plaintiff’s principal liability expert, on whose opinion Judge Jed Rakoff relied in reaching his judgment.  At trial, I cross-examined defendant’s principal liability expert, whose opinion Judge Rakoff ultimately discredited.  The case settled after trial for a confidential amount.
  • CLASS ACTION / JUDGMENT EXCEEDING $16 MILLION:  Counsel in In re Universal Service Fund Litigation (D. Kan.) (2005-2013).  We prevailed at trial on a breach of contract claim for AT&T’s California landline telecommunications customers.   The class received more than $10 million net of attorneys' fees and expenses.
  • ANTITRUST CLASS ACTION / SETTLEMENTS EXCEEDING $50 MILLION:  Counsel in In re Ready-Mixed Concrete Antitrust Litigation (S.D. Ind. 2005-2010).  We resolved the case before trial with class members receiving more than $50 million net of attorneys fees more than 100 percent of their actual damages after deduction of attorneys’ fees.  
  • PATENT CASE / CONFIDENTIAL SETTLEMENT:  Counsel in Individual Network v. Apple (E.D. Tex.) (2007-2009), representing an inventor in its patent infringement case against Apple.  This case involved Apple’s Genius recommendation engine.  I managed all aspects of discovery and motion practice, including taking the depositions of all defense experts and managing plaintiffs infringement and validity expert.  The case was resolved before trial. 
  • ANTITRUST CASE / CONFIDENTIAL SETTLEMENT:  Counsel in Morris & Dickson Co. v. Abbot Labs. (M.D. La.) (2006-2008), representing a regional pharmaceutical wholesaler in its suit against Abbott Laboratories for violation of the Robinson-Patman Act by unfairly favoring my client’s competitors.  I managed all aspects of the litigation, including settlement negotiations.  The case was resolved before trial.

I am an active member of the Dallas Bar Association and the American Bar Association.  In the ABA, I sit on the steering committee for the international litigation committee.  I also sit on the Board of Advisory Editors of the Tulane Law Review, a national board comprised of distinguished alumni.

I occasionally lecture and teach at continuing legal education events.  I recently gave the Starr Lecture at New York Law School on comparative approaches to civil antitrust enforcement.

Every year since 2009, I have been named a Texas Rising Star in Business Litigation.  I have also been named to the International Who’s Who of Competition Lawyers for 2014.   

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