Michael Kelso
Associate
Houston Office Phone: (713) 653-7887 Email Download vCard Print Bio to PDF
Education
  • The University of California, Los Angeles (B.A., cum laude, 2010)
  • The University of Texas School of Law (J.D., with high honors, 2014)
Judicial Clerkship

Law Clerk to the Honorable Carolyn Dineen King, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (2014-2015)

Michael Kelso
Associate

Michael Kelso is a skilled trial lawyer who successfully represents plaintiffs and defendants in state court, federal court, and arbitrations across the country.  Michael’s practice spans a wide variety of subject matters, including class actions, antitrust cases, securities-fraud cases, the energy industry, commercial breach of contract disputes, the financial industry, and the alcoholic beverage industry.

Michael was recently recognized by the American Antitrust Institute with its award for Outstanding Antitrust Litigation Achievement by a Young Lawyer for his work in In re LIBOR-Based Financial Instruments Antitrust Litigation.  To date, the team has recovered over half a billion dollars for the direct-purchaser class in settlements with BarclaysCitibankDeutsche Bank, and HSBC*, and won class certification* for the plaintiffs they represent on their antitrust claims.  The team continues to pursue claims against the rest of the 16 LIBOR panel banks.  This story has received substantial news coverage including The New York TimesNASDAQNew York Law JournalReuters  and Law360*  (*subscription required).

Michael’s successes are just as prominent on the defense side.  In PDVSA US Litigation Trust v. Lukoil Pan Americas LLC, Case No. 18-cv-20818 (S.D. Fla. 2018), a special purpose litigation entity purported to bring Civil RICO and antitrust claims on behalf of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company and asked for more than $10 billion in damages against more than 40 defendants.  Michael successfully led the joint defense group’s legal briefing challenging the plaintiff’s standing to bring the lawsuit.  Less than 9 months after the case was filed, the Magistrate Judge recommended dismissal, and the District Court adopted that recommendation and dismissed the case in its entirety a few months later.  You can read Michael’s case-winning brief here.

In another notable matter, Michael serves alongside Neal Manne, Alex Kaplan, Chanler Langham, and Steven Shepard as counsel to Walmart, in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Texas Alcoholic Beverage Comm’n.  The case, tried in June 2017, challenges as unconstitutional Texas’s laws banning public companies from selling liquor for off-premises consumption.  You can read Michael’s cross examination of the State’s expert witness at trial here.

Michael joined Susman Godfrey after clerking for Judge Carolyn D. King of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and graduating with high honors from the University of Texas School of Law.

Notable Representations

CURRENT REPRESENTATIONS

In re LIBOR-Based Financial Instruments Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 11-md-2262 (S.D.N.Y.).   Michael serves as co-lead counsel along with Bill Carmody, Marc Seltzer, Barry Barnett, Karen Oshman, Arun Subramanian, Seth Ard, Matt Berry, Drew Hansen, and Geng Chen to the class of direct purchasers of LIBOR-based financial instruments.  To date, the team has recovered over half a billion dollars for the direct-purchaser class in settlements with BarclaysCitibankDeutsche Bank, and HSBC*, and recently won class certification* for the plaintiffs they represent on their antitrust claims.  The team continues to pursue claims against the rest of the 16 LIBOR panel banks.  This story has received substantial news coverage including The New York TimesNASDAQNew York Law Journal Reuters and Law360* (*subscription required).  For his work on the case, Michael was awarded the American Antitrust Institute’s award for Outstanding Antitrust Litigation Achievement by a Young Lawyer.

In re Bristow Group Inc. Securities Litigation, Case No. 19-cv-506 (S.D. Tex. 2019).  Alongside Barry Barnett and Co-Lead Counsel Kirby McInerney LLP, Michael represents a putative class of investors in a securities fraud case against helicopter services company Bristow Group Inc. arising out of Bristow’s disclosures beginning February 2019 that it had material weaknesses in its financial controls that had caused it to violate non-financial covenants in its lease agreements.

Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA, Inc. v. Intercontinental Terminals Company LLC, Case No. 20-cv-00019 (S.D. Tex.).  Alongside Erica Harris and Shawn Raymond, Michael represents Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA, Inc. on claims against ITC arising from the March 2019 fire at ITC’s tank farm in Deer Park, Texas.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Texas Alcoholic Beverage Comm’n, Case No. 15-CV-00134-RP (W.D. Tex.).  Alongside Neal Manne, Alex Kaplan, Chanler Langham, and Steven Shepard, Michael serves as counsel to Wal-Mart in a case challenging as unconstitutional Texas’s laws banning public companies from selling liquor for off-premises consumption.  The case was tried in June 2017.   You can read Michael’s cross examination of the State’s expert witness at trial here.

Autoridad de Energia Electrica de Puerto Rico v. Vitol Inc., Case No. 19-AP-00453-LTS (Bankr. D.P.R.).  Along with Neal Manne and Alex Kaplan, Michael is currently defending energy-trading companies Vitol Inc. and Vitol S.A. against statutory claims brought by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.

PREVIOUS REPRESENTATIONS

Shrode v. Silverberg, Case No. 19-cv-657 (W.D. Tex. 2019).—Along with Trey Peacock and Shawn Raymond, Michael represented a motorcycle leasing company in trade-secret misappropriation and breach of fiduciary duty claims against its former Co-President.  The case settled on confidential terms.

Confidential Arbitration.—Along with Erica Harris, Michael represented the operator of a gas processing plant in the Permian Basin in a dispute with a working interest owner over gas processing terms.  The case settled on confidential terms.

Santiago Mendez v. Autoridad de Energia Electrica de Puerto Rico (Aug. 2016).—Along with Neal Manne, Alex Kaplan, and Weston O’Black, Michael defended energy-trading companies Vitol Inc. and Vitol S.A. against antitrust claims alleging more than $500 million in damages in a putative class action filed in Puerto Rico state court.  The Susman Godfrey team removed the case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act and within a week of removal filed a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule 12(b)(6).  A week later, and before even filing a response, the plaintiffs dismissed with prejudice all of their claims against our client.

Honors and Distinctions

Recognized for Outstanding Antitrust Litigation Achievement by a Young Lawyer by the American Antitrust Institute (2019) for work on In re: Libor-based Financial Instruments Antitrust Litigation

Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation

Advisory Board Member of the Center for American & International Law, Institute for Energy Law

Chancellors Honor Society, Clerk of the Chancellors (Third-highest GPA in the class of 2014 at the University of Texas School of Law)

Order of the Coif

Second Highest Score, July 2014 Texas Bar Examination

Articles Editor, Texas Law Review (Volume 92)

Thad T. Hutcheson Moot Court Competition Champion

Interscholastic Moot Court

Professional Associations

State Bar of Texas

United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas

United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas

United States District Court for the Western District of Texas

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

Houston Young Lawyers Association

Language

French