Representative Current Cases:
- Melton represents Steven Lamar in a breach of a written royalty agreement case against Beats, Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. The case involved the design of the Beats headphones. In June 2018, the case was tried to a jury in Judge David Cunningham’s trial court in Los Angeles state court. Following a 3-week trial, the jury awarded Lamar $25.25 million in past damages. Post-trial motions are pending, and the judgment will include legal interest, attorney fees and an ongoing royalty on the Studio 3 headphone. Melton was interviewed about this case and his leadership on it in legal publication The Recorder’s Beating Beats: A Q&A With the Susman Lawyer Behind
the $25M Verdict Against Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine.
- Melton represents the University of New Mexico alleging patent infringement against Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. The infringement allegations are directed to the defendant’s FinFET, or Fin Field Effect Transistor, technology incorporated into its semiconductor chips. The case is pending in the Waco Division of Western District of Texas in Judge Alan Albright’s Court.
- Melton represents Texas Brine Corporation in multiple lawsuits relating to the Bayou Corne sinkhole that formed in Louisiana in 2012. This case involves complex technical and environmental issues surrounding the collapse of a salt dome.
- Melton represents Austin-based Click-to-Call Technologies alleging infringement against YP.com and Ingenio. The infringement allegations are directed to the defendants’ customer-facing retail websites. CTC’s patented technology relates to the popular features of retail websites that increase customer purchases and the customer’s entire shopping experience. The case is pending in the Western District of Texas in Judge Sam Sparks’ Court.
Representative Past Cases:
Humble Surgical Hospital v. Cigna. In 2016, Melton won over $19 million in a judgment for Houston-based Humble Surgical Hospital against Cigna. This was an ERISA lawsuit representing Humble Surgical Hospital against Cigna to recover for hundreds of surgeries performed on Cigna’s insured patients. The case was tried in Judge Kenneth Hoyt’s Court in January 2016. In Judge Hoyt’s written opinion, the Court awarded 100% of Humble’s actual damages, 100% of the requested attorney fees, a $2.3 million ERISA penalty, prejudgment interest and costs. Additionally, Judge Hoyt ruled that Cigna take nothing in its claims against Humble. This case was closely watched by the medical community, and was widely reported in the press. The case was vacated on appeal on legal grounds. Click here to view the Law360 article and click here to view the Texas Lawyer article (subscriptions required).
Dig Tech v. Star Operations. In March 2015, Melton tried and won a breach of contract lawsuit on behalf Austin-based Dig Tech against San Antonio-based Star Operations. Melton was hired on the eve of trial to try this case. Following a 2-week jury trial, the 12-person, Caldwell County jury awarded Dig-Tech 100% of its breach of contract damages, plus attorney fees. This case was filed in the 22nd Judicial District Court in Caldwell County with Judge Bruce Boyle presiding. The judgment was appealed, and Melton argued the appeal in Austin. The judgment was paid in full to Melton’s client following an appellate win. Click to view references. Click here to view reference letter.
GlobeRanger v. Software AG. In November 2014, Melton tried and won a theft of trade secret lawsuit on behalf of Dallas-based GlobeRanger Corporation against German-based Software AG alleging misappropriation of GlobeRanger’s proprietary radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. The case had been pending for two years before Melton was hired on a contingency fee basis to take the case to trial. After a two-week trial in Judge Jane Boyle’s Court in the Northern District of Texas, an eight person jury returned a $15 million verdict. The Court entered a judgment worth over $18 million, and Software AG bonded the judgment and appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Following a win on appeal, the judgment was paid in full. Click to view references.
Global Sessions v. Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Comerica and TD Bank. From December 2013 to December 2014, Melton settled five patent infringement lawsuits against these major banks on behalf of Global Sessions. The cases were pending in Judge Sam Sparks’ Court in the Western District of Texas. Global Sessions infringement allegations were directed to these banks’ online banking services. The Global Sessions patents relate to the maintenance of state for web pages, online content and services presented from multiple web engines. The settlement amounts are confidential.
Click-to-Call Technologies v. eHarmony. In November 2013, Melton settled a patent infringement lawsuit against eHarmony on behalf of Austin-based Click-to-Call Technologies pending in the Western District of Texas in Judge Sam Sparks’ Court. CTC’s infringement allegations were directed to the eHarmony’s customer-facing retail websites. CTC’s patented technology relates to the popular features of retail websites that increase customer purchases and the customer’s entire shopping experience. Click to view references.
Environmental Litigation. In Applications of Las Brisas Energy Center, LLC (Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings). From 2009 to 2013, Melton represented over 30 Texas cities challenging the construction of a $3 billion power plant that was to be constructed only five miles from downtown Corpus Christi. Contending that the plant would have caused increased rates of asthma and respiratory illness, environmental groups argued that the TCEQ have failed to require the plant to comply with air toxics standards or to adequately account for millions of tons of petroleum coke that would be piled on site. The plant owner withdrew its application after judges in two separate trials found in favor of Melton’s client.
Real Estate Developer Ron Holley. In 2012, Melton settled a real estate development partnership dispute, in which he represented Kingwood-based developer Ron Holley against partnerships controlled by Jimmy Foster. The three partnership agreements contained a binding arbitration clause, and Melton arranged a mediation prior to the arbitration with Houston mediator Alvin Zimmerman. Melton worked the case on a contingent fee arrangement, settled the case for both cash and property, and received his fee in cash and land. Melton’s preparation for mediation allowed the parties to understand the value of Holley’s partnership interest, and resolve their dispute without the cost and business disruption of a several-day arbitration proceeding. This is the fourth case Mr. Holley has hired Melton to handle for him. Click to view references.
Total Petrochemicals USA. From 2010 to 2012, Melton represented French-based Total Petrochemicals in several matters arising out of Total’s multi-billion dollar petrochemical facility in Port Arthur, Texas. Melton settled a dispute between Total and its general contractor, Fluor, on a $2 billion facility upgrade project. Melton’s creative dispute resolution ideas allowed this dispute to be settled without litigation being filed. Following the Fluor settlement, Melton settled a breach of contract case against Wisconsin-based Team Industries. Total accused Team of improper billing for pipe fabrication on $120 million contract. The case was in Judge Ellison’s Federal District Court in Houston. After aggressive discovery, to include several successful motions to compel discovery, Melton settled the case on terms favorable to Total. Former Supreme Court Justice, Deborah Hankinson, who mediated the case, had this to say about Melton: “Mr. Melton was a calming presence in a tough mediation. He advocated zealously for his client without offending the other side. Moreover, one of the keys to this mediation was that Melton had the respect and trust of both his client and opposing counsel. He navigated around impasses like few lawyers I’ve seen.” Click to view references.
High Island Health, LLC et al v. Libertybelle Marketing LTD et al. In July 2011, Melton settled a patent infringement lawsuit against UK-based Libertybelle, on behalf of High Island Health and Japanese inventor Jiro Takashima, alleging willful infringement of High Island’s medical device patent. The High Island patents covered both medical male prostate massage devices and adult sex toys. The sex toy aspect of the case was significant enough to garner the attention of Playboy Magazine. The case settled at mediation after Judge Lynn H. Hughes held a unique, mini-Markman/summary judgment hearing, during which Melton presented technical medical evidence to the Court. The settlement is confidential, and involved a running royalty on future sales and an exit from the U.S. market for certain products for the life of the patent. Click to view references.
ASCO Warehouse Fire. In December 2009, just 8 months after being hired by Scottish-based ASCO, Melton settled an $80 million warehouse fire dispute that involved over 20 parties, to include landlords, tenants, bailors, bailees, and over a dozen insurance companies. Melton did this by contacting each of the parties and earning credibility though straight-shooting. The experienced mediator and opposing counsel have referred to Melton’s work on this matter as extraordinary. Indeed, they say Melton’s novel solution implemented in this dispute is something they have never seen before. Melton’s tireless work prevented any lawsuits from being filed, save one small state court action to preserve a limitations issue for the claimant. The legal fees saved by not having lawsuits made the settlement possible. Click to view references.
Individual Networks v. Apple. In September 2009, Melton settled a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple on behalf of Individual Networks pending in the Eastern District of Texas. The Individual Networks patent involved the algorithm used in Apple’s iTunes store’s customized advertising process. The settlement amount is confidential. Click to view references.
Custom Molders Inc. v. Ford Motor Company. In August 2009, Melton reached a settlement with Ford on behalf of Raleigh-based CMI. Melton was hired by CMI’s bankruptcy trustee to evaluate and pursue CMI’s patent claims against Ford. Without filing a lawsuit, Melton arranged a one-day evidentiary presentation to North Carolina Bankruptcy Judge Rich Leonard, who then gave the parties a recommendation for settlement. A favorable settlement was reached shortly after Judge Leonard’s recommendation. The patented technology involved injection molding techniques and processes. Prior to bankruptcy, CMI had been a supplier to Ford, and Melton successfully argued that Ford’s supplier standard terms and conditions did not create a paid up license for Ford to continue making the parts. The settlement amount is confidential. Click to view references.
SuperSpeed v. IBM. In April 2009, Melton settled a patent infringement lawsuit against IBM on behalf of Boston-based SuperSpeed in the Eastern District of Texas. The SuperSpeed patented technology involved complex data caching technology. In the lawsuit, SuperSpeed alleged that IBM’s DB2 database products infringed its patents. The settlement amount is confidential. Click to view references.
Furry Brothers LLC v. FLIR Systems Inc. In February 2009, Melton settled a breach of contract lawsuit against FLIR on behalf of Texas-based Furry Brothers. The contract was a patent license agreement, and the underlying patented technology involved infrared camera technology for aerial detection of natural gas leaks along distribution pipelines. The case was pending in front of Judge Hughes in the Southern District of Texas. The settlement amount is confidential. Click to view references.
In Re: Carter et al. In January 2009, Melton settled a 100,000+ member class action lawsuit pending in a South Carolina state court. Although the case had been pending for years, we were hired in 2008 to prepare and take the case to trial in early 2009. This was the second massive class action that Melton has defended for this Fortune 50 retail client. Click to view references.
Droplets v. Adobe Inc. & Polaris Venture Capital. In September 2008, Melton settled a lawsuit against Adobe and Polaris on behalf of Dallas-based Droplets in the Eastern District of Texas alleging patent infringement, breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets. The Droplets patented technology involved the delivery of rich internet applications over the Internet. In the lawsuit, Droplets alleged that the Adobe Flex and AIR products infringed and incorporated Droplets trade secrets. The settlement amount is confidential.Click to view references.
Nokia v. Zurich. In August 2008, Melton won another appeal for Nokia in its duty to defend lawsuit against its multiple insurers. The Texas Supreme Court affirmed a Dallas Court of Appeals reversal of the trial court’s partial summary judgment for three insurance companies. Both appellate courts agreed that class action lawsuits seeking compensation for alleged exposure to radio frequency radiation from mobile phones asserted claims for “damages because of bodily injury” for which Nokia was owed a defense under its insurance policies. The underlying class actions in multiple states alleged that plaintiffs suffered “biological injury” including “cellular damage” as a result of exposure to radio frequency radiation when using mobile phones without headsets, and sought the cost of headsets among other damages. Nokia continues to dispute and defend against these underlying claims. Nokia tendered the cases to its insurers Zurich American Insurance Company, Federal Insurance Company, and National Union Fire Insurance Company, and sought reimbursement from them for its multi-million dollar defense costs. The insurers denied that their policies provided coverage and refused to defend the cases. Rejecting the insurers arguments that “biological injury” was not “bodily injury” and that the cost of headsets was not “damages” within the scope of their policies, the Texas Supreme Court and Court of Appeals held that Nokia was owed a duty of defense. Within months of this appellate victory, the insurance companies settled without any further trial court litigation. Click to view references.
Elkin v. Steamboat Semiconductor. In June 2008, Melton settled an executive compensation case on behalf of Steamboat Semiconductor. The lawsuit was brought against Steamboat by the former president of the company for wrongful termination and failure to pay an alleged contractual bonus structure. Melton’s thoughtful and aggressive pretrial strategy paid off, as the case was settled just months after filing for nuisance value. Click to view references.
Sky Technologies v. Oracle. In January 2008, Melton settled a patent infringement lawsuit against Oracle on behalf of Boston-based Sky Technologies filed in the Eastern District of Texas. The patents at issue relate to online commerce negotiations software. Oracle agreed to license Sky’s patents and technology. The settlement amount is confidential. Click to view references.
Emery v. Wachovia Bank. In March 2007, Melton settled a well-known Houstonian’s claims against Wachovia Bank for a confidential amount. Rocky Emery was a top-producing stock broker with Wachovia, which terminated him in 2004. Emery asserted claims against Wachovia for damages arising from his wrongful termination. Emery also claimed that Wachovia committed fraud and breached a contract by luring him away from his former employer with promises that were never kept. Emery’s alleged damages exceeded $70 million.Click to view references.
Valence v. Texas Genco/NRG Energy. From 2004 to 2007, Melton represented Valence Operating Company in its disputes against NRG Energy (formerly Texas Genco and Reliant Energy). These disputes involved, among other issues, the Accommodation Doctrine as set forth in the Texas Supreme Court’s 1971 Getty Oil decision. Getty Oil provides the legal framework for determining when, if ever, a mineral interest owner may be required to change its operations in order to accommodate the surface owner. During the course of these disputes, Valence received permits and drilled over 20 wells on NRG’s property. In conjunction with these disputes, Melton represented Valence at contested evidentiary proceedings in front of the Railroad Commission of Texas that resulted in the issuance of a disputed well permit. Also, Melton represented Valence in three Accommodation Doctrine lawsuits. In those lawsuits, Melton tried three temporary injunction hearings, two jury trials, and two appeals. The reported appellate decision from one of those lawsuits was declared by one commentator to be one of the most significant oil and gas decisions of 2006. Melton is one of the foremost legal experts in the state of Texas about the Accommodation Doctrine and the nuances of that doctrine that arise in actual disputes between mineral interest owners and surface land owners. Click to view references.
In Re: Hummel et al. In September and October 2006, Melton tried a 168,000 member class action lawsuit for 6 weeks in a Pennsylvania state court in Philadelphia. Although the case had been pending since 2002, we were hired in March of 2006 to prepare and take the case to trial. At the beginning of trial, the Plaintiffs contended that defendants owed them $300 million. The jury awarded just 25% of the amount sought by plaintiffs. The case is still pending and Melton has developed strong legal positions to overturn even that amount through post-verdict motions and on appeal.
Sky Technologies v. IBM. In March 2006, days before trial, Melton settled a lawsuit against IBM on behalf of Boston-based Sky Technologies in the Eastern District of Texas alleging patent infringement, breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets. IBM agreed to license Sky’s patents and technology for conducting online negotiation. The settlement amount is confidential. Click to view references.
Sky Technologies v. i2 Technologies. In May 2005, Melton settled a lawsuit against i2 Technologies on behalf of Boston-based Sky Technologies in the Eastern District of Texas alleging patent infringement, breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets. i2 agreed to license Sky’s patents and technology for conducting online negotiation. The settlement amount is confidential.
Cano v. ConocoPhillips. In March 2005, Melton obtained a dismissal by a federal district court in San Antonio of all claims by 53 plaintiffs suing ConocoPhillips and Rio Grande Resources, alleging that defendants’ uranium mining and milling operations caused cancer and other medical ailments. The case involved complex legal issues related to federal radiation exposure and release regulations and standards. Plaintiffs sought damages in excess of $50 million plus punitive damages — they recovered nothing. This dismissal has been upheld on appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Joseph Vecchio v. Waste Management Inc. In February 2005, Melton settled a $48 million securities fraud case against Waste Management, Inc. on behalf of shareholders who opted out of a federal class action settlement. We filed suit in Texas state court and developed theories of liability and evidence that had evaded the federal class plaintiffs and every other group of opt out plaintiffs in the country. We claimed that Waste Management violated Sections 11 and 12 of the 1933 Securities Act, violated the Texas Securities Act, and made fraudulent and negligent misrepresentations in its June 1998 Proxy Statement in connection with its $20 billion merger. We defeated Waste Management’s multiple motions for summary judgment and we filed a plaintiffs-side partial summary judgment motion of our own on liability. A few weeks before trial, we settled the case for more than 40 times what our clients would have received in the class action settlement. At Waste Management’s insistence, the actual amount of the settlement is confidential.
Simdesk Technologies v. First Genesis. In 2004, Melton represented Simdesk Technologies against First Genesis in a suit alleging misappropriation of trade secrets relating to Simdesk’s proprietary server-side applications and server-client communications protocol. Obtained a temporary restraining order and, after a week-long, 9-witness bench trial, a temporary injunction, barring First Genesis from using the software and system at issue. Following the entry of the temporary injunction, First Genesis agreed to the entry of a permanent injunction and settled the case.
Texas Instruments Insurance Coverage Litigation. In 2004, Melton represented Texas Instruments in a Dallas state court in a coverage dispute against its insurance company regarding defense costs and settlement costs Texas Instruments incurred defending against hundreds of product liability claims and lawsuits. The long-standing dispute was resolved and Texas Instruments recovered its costs.
Fresnel Technologies v. Rokonet. In June 2003, Melton tried and won a patent infringement case for Fresnel Technologies. Fresnel’s patent covered optic lens design and manufacturing. The case was tried in Judge McBride’s court in Fort Worth. Fresnel was awarded treble damages and attorney fees based on willfulness findings. While on appeal, Melton settled the case.
Anicom Securities Fraud Litigation. In February 2003, in federal court in Chicago, Melton obtained $40 million in settlements for the parties harmed by the fraud committed at the now-bankrupt wire distributor Anicom. Susman Godfrey served as lead counsel for a joint prosecution group consisting of the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (representing the shareholder class), the Anicom bankruptcy estate (on behalf of the creditors), and Anicom secured lenders (on behalf of the banks). The $40 million included a $21.5 million settlement by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and an $18.0 million settlement from certain officers and directors of Anicom, to include money paid out of the pockets of the individual defendants charged with wrongdoing.
Phillip Morris Litigation. In 2003, Melton defended Philip Morris, which was facing multi-hundred million or even multi-billion dollar claims. Susman Godfrey was on a National Steering Committee to organize the defense of tobacco litigation brought by dozens of foreign countries and Melton defended PM against all cases brought in Texas. These included lawsuits brought by the Brazilian states of Rio de Janeiro and Sau Paulo. The cases in Texas were dismissed, and those dismissals were upheld on appeal. Philip Morris ended up paying nothing.
Texas Instruments. In 2001 and 2002, Melton organized, litigated and settled over 40 products liability cases for the defendant Texas Instruments. These 40+ cases were spread out over 12 states and involved the hiring and managing of 11 sets of local counsel, while coordinating all discovery centrally for consistency. While Melton managed the docket, the number of cases greatly increased, but the overall attorney’s fees paid by Texas Instruments went down due to Melton’s sound case management techniques and his ability to control local counsel.
Western Resources v. Westinghouse. In 2000, Melton represented Western Resources in a purchase price adjustment arbitration and related litigation against Westinghouse Electric Corporation. The arbitration and related case involved Western Resources’s purchase of Westinghouse’s home-monitored security business in December 1996. The terms of the settlement were confidential, although Western Resources disclosed, as required by the SEC, that it received $37.5 million to resolve all the claims.
Premiere Global Services. In 1999 — 2000, Melton represented Atlanta-based Premiere Global Services as the plaintiff in two matters. The first was a $25 million dollar breach of contract claim against MCI WorldCom which settled very favorably to Premiere just months after we made an appearance in the already pending case. Premiere was so pleased with my representation of them in that case against MCI that they immediately re-hired us to pursue their patent infringement case against then competitor Z-Tel/Trinsic, which settled within months of filing the lawsuit on terms favorable to Premiere.