As a 35-year partner with Susman Godfrey L.L.P., I have played a key role in some of the most significant lawsuits in the United States — half for plaintiffs and half for large corporate defendants.
And the result: a long track record of success of in-court and out-of-court settlements involving disputes as large as hundreds of millions and billions of dollars.
There is a common theme in all of them: the ability to quickly organize, simplify and resolve big lawsuits — in many cases, within months of my first day on the file:
- Around the world — including huge cases involving China, Australia, Canada, and Dubai.
- In virtually every major industry and financial sector — pension funds, energy companies, airlines, HMOs, hospitals, many types of manufacturing, Internet, accounting, banking, railroads, power companies, pipelines, law firms, and the automobile industry.
- Across most areas of law — securities, antitrust, contract, ERISA, patent, fraud and other commercial torts, bankruptcy, accounting malpractice, actuarial malpractice, oil and gas law, international law, environmental law, administrative law, Native American law, libel/disparagement, enforcement of foreign judgments, Lanham Act trademark infringement, false advertising and trust law.
- In complex crisis management for massive “perfect storm” situations — unexpected “bet-your-company” cases and other disastrous problems (ranging from HMOs to energy companies to pension funds).
- Chief outside litigation counsel for almost 20 years for what was at one time the fourth-largest U.S.-based energy company.
- Lead trial lawyer for plaintiff shareholders and creditors in Chicago “mini-Enron” case that was cited in American Lawyer article in 2005 naming Susman Godfrey LLP as one of the top two boutique commercial litigation law firms in the United States.
Honors & Distinctions
Honors and Awards
- Former U.S. Fifth Circuit Judicial Clerk
- Former university professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Selected by a lawyer poll to appear on Woodward White Inc.’s list of “Best Lawyers in America” (2014-2024, Woodward White Inc.)
- Speaker, Conference on Fiduciary Duty in Support of Responsible Investment and Financial Behavior, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, January 14, 2015
- Co-Organizer and Speaker, “Helping Institutional Investors Increase Recoveries in Corporate Fraud Litigation” Conference, held at University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, Chicago, Illinois
- Speaker, American Conference Institute’s 16th Annual Summit on D&O Liability
- Speaker, New York Law School Symposium on the Plaintiffs’ Bar
- Speaker, 29th Annual Securities Regulation Institute, sponsored by Northwestern University School of Law
- Speaker, “Vanishing Trials” Seminar, ABA Litigation Section, San Francisco
- Speaker, Canadian Institute Seminar on Class Actions, Toronto, Canada
- Speaker, Seminar on Federal Class Actions, State Bar of Texas, Antitrust & Litigation Section, Houston, Texas
- Articles Editor, University of Wisconsin Law Review
- Order of the Coif, University of Wisconsin Law School
- Honorable Sam Johnson, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 1981-1982
- Vanderbilt University (Ph. D.)
- The University of Wisconsin (J.D., cum laude)
- Served as lead settlement counsel in a major dispute over drainage and environmental cleanup problems affecting a large shopping center tract.
- The shopping center tract was being developed in one of the largest cities in the United States.
- The client, owner of a large shopping center tract, is a nationally prominent businessman, who had earlier founded a company that by merger became a leading Fortune 500 company.
- This client had been trying for a decade to resolve the environmental and drainage issues on adjoining tracts, and it was slowing his ability to develop the shopping center.
- The settlement after a number of months resolved the problem to the client’s satisfaction – while avoiding any depositions or trial in this complex matter.
- Served as lead outside counsel for Fortune-500 company Apache Corporation and its Australian subsidiaries in overseeing defense at trial of a $2 billion lawsuit.
- The trial in Melbourne, Australia, against these defendants and others, was the largest in Melbourne’s history, as reported by Australian newspapers.
- The trial began in June 2016.
- The plaintiffs were members of billionaire families in India.
- We developed a half-billion dollar counterclaim.
- We made Australian legal history at trial by using the first beginning-to-end PowerPoint narrative graphic opening statement.
- Only a week after that presentation was made, the plaintiffs entered settlement negotiations and settled with Apache.
- The agreement is confidential, but our client is happy with the results.
- Served as lead outside counsel for Apache Corporation and certain Australian affiliates in overseeing major Australian lawsuits, relating to a gas pipeline explosion in Western Australia in 2008.
- These claims – brought by mining companies and others in a number of lawsuits – involved hundreds of millions of dollars.
- In 2015, these were successfully resolved, including with London-based insurers.
- The terms of the settlements are confidential, but the clients are happy with the results.
- Served as lead outside counsel overseeing litigation defense relating to alleged Australian Trade Practices Act claims brought against Apache Corporation involving hundreds of millions of dollars.
- Less than one month before the 2015 trial, the plaintiff dropped his lawsuit and all claims in it.
- Our client paid nothing.
- Served as lead advocate in a major international arbitration matter in Dubai representing the owners of the one of the largest chains of hospitals in the Middle East.
- The matter settled in 2014 after only the second day of the arbitration hearing – during my cross-examination of the opposing party’s CEO.
- It was settled confïdentially to the client’s strong satisfaction, including settlement of a related matter as well.
- Opposing party was represented by a veteran British Queen’s Counsel from a prestigious London chambers.
- Served as lead counsel defending one Fortune 500 company against another Fortune 500 company in a major products liability dispute involving over $200 million.
- Settled the case after a number of weeks of negotiation – before any lawsuit was filed.
- Settled very favorably to the client.
OTHER RECENT TRIAL AND SETTLEMENT RESULTS
- Served as lead plaintiff lawyer for Milwaukee County and the Milwaukee County Pension Fund.
- Obtained a $45 million settlement after two weeks of jury trial in Milwaukee federal district court.
- The recovery was paid by defendant Mercer, Inc., the largest employee-benefits company in the U.S.
- The lawsuit had allegations of actuarial malpractice in connection with passage of a new employee benefits package in 2000-2001 by Milwaukee County.
- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was then Milwaukee County Executive and worked closely on the case.
- Served as lead plaintiff lawyer overseeing Canadian trial team in a major Canadian trial victory.
- Was hired to oversee the Canadian trial team in a case in Canada where Apache Corporation’s Canadian subsidiary faced a $300 million counterclaim in a dispute over drilling rights.
- The trial lasted eight weeks.
- The judge’s decision just gave Apache a big victory — dismissing the counterclaim, and awarding disputed drilling lands and production proceeds to Apache worth tens of millions.
- The court decision made new Canadian law on theft of confidential information.
- Served as lead plaintiff lawyer for Bank of Montreal in a major commercial dispute.
- Obtained a confidential settlement within 12 weeks of being retained to the client’s satisfaction.
- Settled the case before a lawsuit was even filed.
- Served as lead plaintiff trial lawyer — JURY TRIAL LISTED IN “TOP 100 VERDICTS OF 2005” by Verdict Search magazine.
- The jury trial involved our client’s purchase of a large Florida HMO from HIP New York (New York City’s HMO for its government employees) — and was in state court, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
- The jury returned a $38 million actual damages jury verdict — for fraud, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment against HIP New York.
- Plus the jury had found clear and convincing evidence that punitive damages were warranted (rarely awarded in Florida in a commercial case).
- The case settled one day after verdict to the client’s satisfaction.
- Our client is now a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
- Served as lead defense trial lawyer and settled a major patent dispute for Rockwell Automation, Inc., a Fortune 500 company.
- Was hired by Rockwell Automation to represent it as lead counsel in a major patent, antitrust and unfair competition dispute.
- The dispute had been ongoing for four years before I was hired.
- It was resolved approximately two months after I was hired.
- The settlement resolved the dispute and provided significant business benefits to Rockwell.
- Served as lead plaintiff trial lawyer for a North Carolina bankruptcy estate in settling a dispute with Ford Motor Company over alleged patent infringement by Ford.
- Was settled without filing any lawsuit.
- Settled after a mock trial before a U.S. bankruptcy court judge as part of a mediation.
- Served as lead settlement counsel for a leading national builder of housing projects for the working poor in a dispute with Sun Trust Bank.
- The dispute involved allegations of $20 million – $40 million against the client.
- The case was resolved with the client paying nothing.
Other Results in 2004-06
- 2006 Selected to Special Counsel list for the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System.
- 2004 Retained as special settlement counsel for the City of San Diego in a dispute with its auditing firm.
- 2004 Selected to Special Counsel list for State Retirement System of Maryland.
Other Results in 2000-2004
Served as lead trial lawyer for a joint prosecution group — the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (for a shareholder class), the Anicom bankruptcy estate, and several Chicago banks.
- $21.5 million settlement from accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
- $18.0 million settlement from certain officers and directors of Anicom, Inc.
- $40 million in total settlements were obtained in federal court in Chicago involving now-bankrupt wire distributor Anicom, Inc.
- Two directors paid $12 million out of their own pockets, not from D&O insurer.
Obtained first-ever U.S. temporary restraining order against three oil companies of the People’s Republic of China.
- Lead trial counsel in a $100 million lawsuit filed by a subsidiary of Apache Corporation against Petrochina, et al.
- Involved a $120 million investment in a major drilling project on the coast of China, where the Apache subsidiary is operator.
- Settled favorably for Apache 10 days after the TRO was obtained.
- Resolved issues that had been holding up the project for 2 years.
Obtained settlement of a major dispute by a Fortune 500 company against a “big-six” accounting firm within 6 months from filing the lawsuit.
- Represented a multi-billion-dollar corporation as plaintiff.
- Settled favorably to client.
Obtained settlement of a major dispute against a national insurance company in 13 days.
- Represented an East Coast corporation in a dispute with its insurer over denial of coverage.
- Settled for the entire multi-million-dollar payment the client sought from the insurer.
Obtained settlement of another major dispute against a “big-six” accounting firm within 15 months from filing of the lawsuit.
Obtained settlement of an employment termination dispute in 3 weeks on terms which the client sought.
Other Plaintiff Contingent-Fee Litigation
Settled two major cases during May and June 1999 ($12 million).
- Served as lead counsel in June 1999 in obtaining $6.25 million settlement in an international oil and gas dispute.
- Served as co-lead counsel in May 1999 in obtaining a $6 million settlement for a terminated CEO of a telecommunications company.
Obtained the largest Employee Stock Ownership Plan recovery in history ($27 million).
- Lead counsel for much of the case, which settled in 1996.
- One of the largest recoveries in the history of North Carolina courts.
- Defendants were Morgan Stanley, NationsBank, and Burlington Industries.
Obtained $120 million stock appraisal award against Royal Dutch Shell.
- Won against Shell in connection with its cash-out merger of Shell Oil U.S. stock.
- Upheld by the Delaware Supreme Court in 1992.
Won $38 million disclosure violation award for class of Shell stockholders who tendered their Shell stock.
- Resulted from my discovery of a $1 billion error in Shell’s published oil and gas reserve calculations.
- Award upheld by the Delaware Supreme Court in 1992.
Won $40 million award for plaintiff class in antitrust class action.
- Plaintiff class included Wisconsin Power and Light, and other electrical utilities suing for alleged bid-rigging in fabricated steel provided to construction projects.
- Final settlement occurred just before trial.
Served as client attorney for our firm, which served as lead counsel for the first six months of the Exxon Valdez litigation against Exxon.
- Worked with Steve Susman in setting up coordination among dozens of plaintiff-side law firms in the case.
- Left that role only because of a technical conflict that appeared with one of numerous defendants.
- After our firm left the case, plaintiffs we organized won a substantial judgment and recovered hundreds of millions of dollars, net of attorneys’ fees and expenses.
Other Plaintiff Litigation on an Hourly Basis
Served as lead counsel in a successful 3-day trial in 1999, defending my client for filing an involuntary bankruptcy petition against an opposing party for failing to pay $10 million.
- Client was lead lawyer for a large publicly-traded oil and gas company creditor.
- Opponent debtor filed a $17 million arbitration claim as offset.
- Opposing party was represented by distinguished counsel.
- Court held the opponent did not even raise a “bona fide” dispute over the vast majority of its claims.
Served as lead counsel in 1998 in a very favorable settlement for our clients (majority shareholders of a telecommunications company), just one month after minority shareholders instituted this legal dispute.
Served as lead counsel in a 1998 case in which our client, president of a large title company, was allowed by settlement to become president of a competing title company in the same city within weeks of leaving the first company, despite an attempt to enforce a non-compete restriction on him.
Served as lead counsel in a case representing Enron Oil & Gas against Meridian Oil.
- Won bench trial in North Dakota.
- Opinion issued in 1997.
Served as lead counsel in 1996 in a major dispute over a $50 million trust fund.
- Several major law firms in Atlanta initially represented my client, the trust beneficiary.
- I entered the case four years into the litigation.
- It settled three weeks later, and my client got what she wanted.
Appointed head of expert witness work for Northwest Airlines and Continental Airlines in largest antitrust litigation in airline history — against American Airlines (1994).
- Organized expert work among economics professors from M.I.T., Stanford and University of Chicago, and attacked expert work of American Airlines witnesses.
- Worked with lead trial lawyers David Boies of Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Joe Jamail.
- American Airlines stopped the practice in dispute after this lawsuit got underway.
Other Defense Litigation on an Hourly Basis
Served as lead counsel in 1998 successful defense of a $30 million lawsuit, brought against our client, a major midwest public utility holding company.
- Was retained by client, NIPSCO, to try this six-year-old case just weeks before trial.
- Case was tried in federal district court in Chicago.
- After two weeks of trial, confidential settlement was reached.
Successfully defended NIPSCO Industries (Northern Indiana’s public utility holding company) in 1997 against allegations of $60 million actual damages and $140 million punitive damages.
- Case settled two weeks into trial at a tiny fraction of alleged actual damages.
- Contingency-fee lawyers who brought the case failed to get from the public settlement anything close to even their regular hourly billing rates.
Served as co-lead counsel in successful defense in 1997 of Sysco Corporation, one of the largest food distributors in the nation, against allegations by the owners of the popular Houston-based Ninfa’s restaurant chain for tens of millions of dollars.
- Case settled within five months after the opposing side filed the case.
- Sysco received a public apology from Mama Ninfa, the founder of the Ninfa’s restaurant chain, for ever bringing the lawsuit.
- Sysco was allowed to keep its entire creditor claim in bankruptcy against the plaintiff.
Represented of Placid Oil, Penrod Drilling, and Hunt Trusts in $1.5 billion counterclaim lawsuit against 22 banks (1986).
- An estimated 200 lawyers on other side.
- Five to six main lawyers working on our side.
- Headed up key parts of discovery in the case.
Track Record for Quick Settlement
I have a long track record of resolution of cases ranging from $5 million to $600 million or more in dispute — some even without taking them to court. Some recent settlements involve times as short as 2 days in dispute, 5 days, and 30 days. Among the clients for whom these have occurred are Apache Corporation, Bank of Montreal, Enron Oil and Gas, Rockwell Automation, and the owner of a major HMO.
Leadership & Professional Memberships
- Member, Board of Directors, Lawyers’ Committee on Civil Rights, founded by President John F. Kennedy (2006- ).
- President, Wisconsin Law Alumni Association (national association of 12,000 alumni of the University of Wisconsin Law School) (1999-2001).
- Member of 12-person Civil Justice Institute of the American Bar Association, Litigation Section (2001-2004).
- Chair of the Antitrust & Business Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas (1996).
- Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America