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New York, NY
Tel: 212-336-8334
Fax: 212-336-8340

Admitted in New York and Texas

EDUCATION:

United States Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y. (B.S. 1981)

The University of Tulsa College of Law (J.D., with honors, 1988), Order of the Curule Chair, TULSA LAW JOURNAL

Hall of Fame Inductee, The University of Tulsa College of Law

Distinguished Alumni, The University of Tulsa

Trial Lawyers College (2000)

Bill Carmody

Print/Download PDF

New York, NY
Tel: 212-336-8334
Fax: 212-336-8340

Admitted in New York and Texas

EDUCATION:

United States Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y. (B.S. 1981)

The University of Tulsa College of Law (J.D., with honors, 1988), Order of the Curule Chair, TULSA LAW JOURNAL

Hall of Fame Inductee, The University of Tulsa College of Law

Distinguished Alumni, The University of Tulsa

Trial Lawyers College (2000)


With the trial of a generation captivating the nation, ABC News needed an authority on the psychology of juries. Millions of viewers were following the O. J. Simpson murder trial, and ABC wanted to show America how jurors really decide cases. It tracked down a heralded Texas trial lawyer known for his use of mock trials, Bill Carmody, who was busy preparing a long-shot case for a fired employee of a large steel company. ABC filmed Bill’s presentation of the evidence to the mock jurors as well as their deliberations. The network used the footage...and so did Bill. He played ABC’s tape of the mock jury’s deliberations at an eleventh hour mediation session – and his client walked away with a substantial settlement.

In the two decades since, Bill Carmody’s reputation has only grown. Today he is a nationally recognized trial lawyer who tries bet-the-company cases for plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal courts throughout the country.He is a permanent member of Susman Godfrey’s Executive Committee and heads its New York office. Carmody is experienced in a wide- range of complex business and intellectual property litigation and has handled a variety of cases, including antitrust, commercial and securities fraud, structured finance and derivatives litigation, class actions, false claims act, oil & gas, trust and estates, trade secrets, trademark, and patent infringement.



RECENT SUCCESSES

Plaintiff: On behalf of whistleblower, David Kester, prosecuted novel anti-kickback claims in the Novartis qui tam litigation that resulted in total settlements of $465 million – which for a case of its kind is the largest recovery ever. Click for Bloomberg interview.

Defense: Bill and his team won a take-nothing judgment for the Greenspun Corporation in a shareholder derivative trial in Silicon Valley and three resounding Summary Judgments that are currently on appeal:

  • For Dan Loeb and Third Point in the Fairfax litigation where Plaintiffs sought damages of $8 billion;
  • For Dorfman Pacific in a hotly contested trademark infringement case; and
  • For Aragon Pharmaceuticals in a bet-the-company case where the San Francisco trial court confirmed Aragon’s exclusive rights to a novel prostate cancer drug.



RESULT BASED FEES

Whether representing plaintiffs or defendants, Bill puts his money where his mouth is by betting on his ability to win for his clients. A pioneer in structuring result-driven fee deals, he aligns his interests with those of his clients by making his fees dependent on the success he earns – and not on hours billed. It’s a creative approach to billing in a profession that doesn’t often stray outside the box. Case Studies

That’s never been a problem for Bill, whose bold and creative trial tactics have earned the respect of his peers, the media, and legal educators alike. He previously taught Trial Advocacy at Southern Methodist University School of Law, where he still serves on the Executive Board. Carmody is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Bill is perennially listed in the Lawdragon 500, the guide to America’s leading 500 lawyers (Lawdragon, 2003 - 2016). He’s ranked in the Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers and included in Benchmark’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers. According to Benchmark, here’s how a peer described Bill:

“Of all the lawyers I’ve worked with in all my years, this guy [Carmody] was the best in every respect. As a trial lawyer he could do it all. He’s based in New York now but stylistically was absolutely ‘Texas hot!’ He is just in another league.”

His peers have voted him both a “New York Super Lawyer” and a “Texas Super Lawyer” (Thomas Reuters, New York: 2008 - 2016, Texas: 2003 - 2006). Carmody is also listed in The Best Lawyers in America in five categories, including Bet-the-Company Litigation.

Carmody has appeared in national and international media, and his trial victories have been profiled in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Week, Bloomberg, The National Law Journal, Texas Lawyer and The American Lawyer. Lawdragon interviewed Bill for “The Producers” series Click to ReadForbes also interviewed him for its #BigBusiness section Click to Read, and Law 360 featured him in its “Trial Pro” series. Click to Read While his trial tactics and betting on his client’s results have received widespread acclaim, most important to Bill and his clients are the victories earned in the courtroom – and here are a few.


SELECTED CASE BRIEFS

Worth Every Penny

In a huge defense victory, Carmody orchestrated events outside the lawsuit to defeat a local hero in his hometown court. Carmody’s client, a Dallas investment brokerage, got sued for over $50 million. A loss was sure to break the company. The plaintiff was a “big fish” businessman who had sued Bill’s client in his “small pond,” the little town of Rockport, Texas.

The case stood second on the trial docket. If the first case went as set, Carmody’s case would be bumped for months. A postponement could have cost the brokerage an advantage it had gained during discovery: Although Carmody had deposed all of the opponent’s experts, he had shielded his client’s key expert from deposition. So, the opposition was ill prepared for the expert’s trial testimony. If the case was reset, the opposition would be able to depose the expert and erase their disadvantage.

To prevent this, Bill took the unprecedented step of brokering a deal in which his client funded a $180,000 settlement of the first case on the docket. This enabled Carmody’s case to be tried while his client still had the edge. Bill did go to trial and won a resounding take-nothing judgment – and jury debriefing confirmed the deciding role of the key expert’s testimony. Bill’s client also won a counterclaim of almost $700,000.

Despite the plaintiff’s vigorous attempts to overturn the take-nothing judgment, this remarkable victory withstood appellate scrutiny; it was affirmed by both the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court. Wowed with Carmody’s results throughout the trial and appellate process, the company’s CEO remarked “I’ve dealt with lots of trial lawyers and, by far, Bill Carmody is the best I’ve ever seen.” Bill Woodruff, CEO, Wm. K. Woodruff and Co., Dallas, TX.
For media coverage of the brokered settlement, see National Law Journal, February 2, 1998, “Two Texas Litigators Leapfrog to Trial Win.”


David Beats Goliath

By uncovering evidence of commercial fraud, Carmody helped a small contractor conquer a multi-national conglomerate. This “David v. Goliath” scenario pitted Carmody’s plaintiff client against one of the world’s largest oil companies. The case centered around the defendant’s refusal to pay for refinery construction work performed by the plaintiff in El Paso. But Bill capitalized on then-favorable venue rules to hold the case more than 800 miles away, in Beaumont – where the oil company had recently laid off hundreds of workers.

The case was originally viewed only as a million-dollar breach of contract claim; however, Carmody identified a wholly different type of claim that his client's previous lawyers had missed. It capitalized on the oil company’s most vulnerable conduct – its reckless disregard for worker safety. The argument was novel: The defendant’s false assurances of safe working conditions inside crude oil towers constituted fraudulent misrepresentations. While the damages of the workers who suffered illnesses was obvious, much less obvious was his client’s fraud damages, in the form of increased workers compensation premiums. After an arduous 2-month trial – featuring a paperless, multi-media presentation, complete with an in-court, full- size model of a quarter section of a crude oil tower – the jury found that the oil company committed fraud and awarded Bill’s client over $61 million.

To cash in on this big verdict, Bill quickly negotiated a substantial confidential settlement on behalf of his client. The client’s reaction to this happy ending? “Any firm can supply lots of bodies. I’d rather have just one brain like Bill Carmody’s.” Jerry Strickland, CEO, AltairStrickland, Inc., Houston, Texas.
See, National Law Journal, February 10, 1997, “The Big Numbers of 1996” and Dallas Business Journal, January 17-23, 1997, “Carmody Firm May be Tiny, but Judgment was Mighty.”


Crush Or Be Crushed

In some cases, an innovative trial lawyer may be the only thing that can keep momentum from crushing his client. The world’s then-largest recycler of aluminum found this out the hard way. When the recycler was sued for negligence by an employee injured in a fire at one of its plants, things looked bad. When it got tagged with a $4 million adverse judgment in the case, things looked even worse. When the recycler’s umbrella insurance company sought a declaratory judgment that it did not have to cover the judgment because it had not received timely notice of the negligence suit, things looked downright bleak. If momentum was not reversed fast, the recycler would be crushed like an old tin can and left on the scrap heap.

The recycler replaced its counsel and hired Carmody to dig it out of this $4 million hole. One big problem – the company had in fact given its umbrella carrier only 18 hours notice of the negligence suit. To deal with this potentially devastating fact, Carmody made a deft strategic move. He successfully got the parties realigned – making his client the plaintiff rather than the defendant – giving him the opportunity to speak first and last to the jury.

Bill then used his extra time with the jury to develop two creative theories. First, he argued that the recycler had fulfilled the umbrella policy’s notice provision by giving timely notice of the negligence suit to its own insurance agent. Devising a fresh use of the theory of dual agency, Bill established that notice to the recycler’s agent served as notice to the insurance company as well – because the insurance agent was effectively an agent for both the recycler and the umbrella carrier. Second, pointing to the insurer’s participation in settlement talks of the underlying suit, Bill proved that, even if the insurer had not received timely notice, it had not been prejudiced by this fact.

The jury found for Carmody’s client on all counts and the court granted the recycler complete relief. Soon afterward, the case settled on appeal with the insurer paying the entire underlying $4 million judgment and paying the recycler over $600,000 in attorneys’ fees. The momentum had not only turned but had carried Bill’s client to victory. Don Ingram, then CEO and Chairman of IMCO Recycling, summed up his impressions: “When litigation is threatening your company’s bottom line, hiring Bill Carmody is the best business decision you can make.
See, Verdict Search Commercial Litigation, July 2004, p. 19.


Shifting into Victory Lane

The defendants in a Silicon Valley shareholder derivative lawsuit were watching their case head in the wrong direction. Their previous counsel had failed to come up with a winning strategy and the trial date was speeding toward them. Backs to the wall, the new defense team added Carmody to supply a new angle and increased trial horsepower.

The plaintiff, a start-up technology firm, accused its principal investors (the defendants) of looting the company and shooting down the promising new venture. Worse yet, under the plain wording of a poorly drafted amendment to the operative agreement, the defendants in fact should not have withdrawn their multi-million dollar investment. The upshot? Carmody’s clients would be in all kinds of hot water unless the court invalidated the amendment.

Carmody mapped out the best road to reach this result. He realized that the key to success was not to attack the plaintiff directly but instead to challenge his dubious interpretation of the operative agreement. To pull off this shift in strategy, Carmody cut a deal with plaintiff’s counsel to dismiss the defendants’ previously-pled fraud counterclaim in exchange for adding an otherwise time-barred defense of mutual mistake. After making this deft detour, the team next kicked the defense case into high gear by nailing down the key piece of evidence. Carmody got the plaintiff’s own corporate counsel to admit that the disputed amendment did not in fact reflect the parties’ agreement and was the product of a mutual mistake. Quite simply, Bill turned the company’s own lawyer into the key defense witness.

The new defense of mutual mistake and the convincing evidence supporting it gave the court what it needed to invalidate the troublesome amendment. The defendants won a resounding take-nothing judgment and also prevailed on their defenses and counterclaims. The leverage from this judgment then propelled the defendants to a quick settlement in which they not only retained their previously withdrawn millions, but also drove home with the disputed funds being held by the liquidator of the now defunct start-up company. The client was “amazed” at the outcome: “Carmody saw a sliver of victory that previous counsel missed.” Josh Targoff, General Counsel, Third Point LLC.


Better Late Than Never

In a perfect world, a lawyer would always have unlimited time and resources to prepare for trial. But the world is not perfect and, often, time is not on your side. In a case where he suited up for the defense, Carmody demonstrated the experience and guts required to take over and win big at the eleventh hour.

The case arose when a life insurance company was sued in a class action case by 25,000 of its policyholders. The plaintiff class alleged that the insurer had breached the terms of its policies, causing the plaintiffs to be overcharged for their insurance. The class sought $108 million in damages. In this bet-your-company case, a loss could have wiped out the company’s net worth – and forced a shut down.

The case had been pending for five years, as the insurance company was represented by a large, full-service law firm. But with the make-or-break trial looming, the insurance company decided it needed a proven trial lawyer – someone who made his reputation in the courtroom.

So, just 6 days before trial, the insurer asked Carmody to try the case. Carmody quickly learned the case cold, devised the trial strategy, and presented the case during an eight-day jury trial. The jury promptly and unanimously delivered a complete defense verdict – and the case was dismissed. Given a new lease on life, the company heaved a sigh of relief and its General Counsel praised Carmody’s command: “Just six days before trial, most lawyers would have refused to take the case. But Bill Carmody thought of, and seized upon, every tactical advantage. Bill was a clutch performer winning us an incredible trial victory.” Bryan R. Newcombe, General Counsel, Legal & General America, Inc., Rockville, Maryland.
See, The American Lawyer, Sept. 2007, Big Suits, “Beller et al. v. William Penn.”



TRIAL REFERENCES

It’s one thing just to read about the way Bill Carmody tries a case. But the best proof of his unique approach comes from talking to people who have actually seen Carmody at work. The following people are clients who have hired Carmody to represent them, lawyers who tried a case with or against him, and judges who presided over one of Carmody’s trials. All are willing to speak with you about Bill Carmody’s prowess in the courtroom.

 

Clients
  • Jerry Strickland  CEO     Altair Strickland, Inc.     Houston, Texas     281-478-6200
  • Josh Targoff  General Counsel     Third Point LLC     New York, NY     212-715-3403
  • Robert Mnuchin  CEO     Mnuchin Gallery     New York, NY     212-861-6269
  • Richard Heyman  CEO     Seragon Pharmaceuticals     San Diego, CA     858-735-4581
  • Avi Katz  Pres./Gen. Counsel      Loral Space & Communications     New York, NY     212-697-1105
  • David Turock  Director     C2 Communications     Cedar Grove, New Jersey     954-226-9333
  • Bryan Newcombe  Gen. Counsel     Legal & General America     Rockville, MD     301-294-6968
Co-counsel
  • Gilbert Adams, Jr.     Law Offices of Gilbert Adams     Beaumont, Texas     409-835-3000
  • Hon. Eric Moyé     14th District Court     Dallas, Texas     214-653-7737
  • John Gionis     Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP     East Meadow, New York     516-296-7000
  • Daryl Barger     Hartline, Dacus, Barger, Dreyer & Kern     Corpus Christi, Texas     361-866-8009
  • Matthew Dontzin     Dontzin, Nagy & Fleissig     New York, NY     212-717-2900
  • Gordon Shapiro     Jackson Walker     Dallas, Texas     214-953-6059
  • Paul Bekman   Salsbury Clements Bekman Marder & Adkins     Baltimore, MD     410-539-6633
Opposing Counsel
  • Paul Saunders     Cravath, Swaine & Moore     New York, New York     212-474-1404
  • Barry McNeil     Haynes and Boone     Dallas, Texas     214-651-5000
  • Charles Verhoeven     Quinn Emanuel     San Francisco, California    415-875-6600
  • Bob Krakow     Gibson Dunn    Dallas, Texas     214-698-3100
  • Jim Flynn     Harwood Feffer     New York, New York     212-935-7400
  • Christopher Hall     DLA Piper     New York, New York     212-335-4705
  • David Beck     Beck, Redden & Secrest     Houston, Texas     713-951-3700
Judges
  • Hon. T. John Ward    (Formerly) U.S. District Court   Ward & Smith     Longview, TX     903-935-3868
  • Hon. William J. Monahan    Santa Clara Superior Court     San Jose, CA     408-882-2270
  • Hon. Sidney Fitzwater    U.S. District Court     Dallas, Texas     214-753-2333
  • Hon. Charles Shaw    U.S. District Court     St. Louis, Missouri     314-244-3480
  • Hon. David Godbey    U.S. District Court     Dallas, Texas     214-753-2700
  • Hon. Marilyn Huff    U.S. District Court    San Diego, California     619-557-6016
  • Hon. Ira Warshawsky    Supreme Court, Comm. Div.     Nassau Co., New York     516-571-3351

†Bill has been listed in Lawdragon 500 (Lawdragon Lawyer Profiles and Legal News) since its inception in 2003. Super Lawyers are published in Law & Politics Magazine by Thomson Reuters. Bill was a Texas Super Lawyer from 2003 to 2006 and a New York Super Lawyer from 2008 through 2016. Bill has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America (published by Woodward White Inc.) since 2004.

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