Stephen represents businesses and individuals in high-stakes, complex civil disputes across a wide range of industries, including aviation/aerospace, insurance, higher education, real estate, and construction. He has a dozen years of significant “first chair” experience in all stages and types of litigation and dispute resolution. He also provides legal advice to clients on risk assessment and management, and develops legal strategies for achieving business objectives while avoiding or mitigating potential disputes. Stephen has a strong track record of building trusting relationships with clients through collaboration, sound judgment, creative problem solving, hard work, and good results.
Before joining the firm in 2011, Stephen served as a law clerk for Circuit Judge Edward C. Prado of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Chief Judge Mark E. Fuller of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.
- Co-led a multi-disciplinary team of attorneys advising The University of Texas at Austin in connection with its move from the Big 12 Conference to the Southeastern Conference.
- Won a multi-week federal jury trial for Transamerica Life Insurance Company after five years of litigation regarding whether a Mexican national who was insured under two life insurance policies worth $26 million was part of a conspiracy to submit false insurance applications and then fake his own death to collect the proceeds.
- Negotiated a favorable commercial settlement for a manufacturer of components and assemblies for commercial and military aircraft in a complex supply-chain dispute regarding the Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft programs.
- Defended a nonprofit organization partnering with the City of Dallas to fund and build an urban bike-trial network from a lawsuit filed by a losing bidder in a competitive public bidding process.
Aviation and Aerospace
- Representing the City of Austin in a dispute with the private operator of the South Terminal at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport over the operator’s alleged rights to participate in airport expansions and new facilities.
- Representing an aerospace and defense industry supplier in multiple supply-chain and commercial disputes involving other industry participants.
- Provide legal advice to major airline in connection with its dispute with a subsidiary of another major airline arising from the termination and wind-down of the parties’ long-standing feel maintenance and repair program.
- Represented a publicly traded aerospace structures and systems manufacturer in a sealed federal lawsuit seeking to enjoin a key supplier from using multiple commercial disputes between the parties as an excuse not to continue performing a sole-source requirements contract.
- Defended a leading aircraft component supplier in a $1.1 billion dispute in federal court with an aircraft manufacturer over the development and manufacture of the wings for a new business jet.
- Secured a settlement on the eve of trial for an aerospace company in a lawsuit seeking $2.25 million in damages caused by defective manufacturing equipment.
- Obtained a judgment for a defense contractor in excess of $1.4 million following a bench trial in state court against the manufacturer of a defective ultrasonic nondestructive inspection machine.
- Led a team of attorneys that analyzed and improved a major airline’s garnishment and creditor-withholding processes for employees in multiple jurisdictions around the country.
Life, Health, and Disability Insurance
- Represented life, health, and disability insurers in dozens of lawsuits throughout the United States involving all aspects of their businesses, including underwriting, suitability, sales practices and marketing, regulatory compliance, premiums and rates, policy rescissions based on material misrepresentations, disputes over the cause and manner of the insured’s death, allegations of improper claim handling, conditional insurance, cross-border issues, and competing claimants.
- Secured a favorable settlement of a $14.2 million dispute in arbitration between an international life insurance and annuity company and one of its most profitable independent producers regarding regulatory compliance issues relating to a group hospital indemnity insurance product.
- Defended a large life insurance company in state court lawsuit alleging that the client had improperly increased the monthly charges on universal life insurance policies.
- Prosecuted a state court action for a multinational life insurance company to preempt several pending federal lawsuits in other states by enforcing a decades-old nationwide class action settlement agreement. Presented oral argument to the Dallas Court of Appeals on novel issues of law.
- Obtained the dismissals of multiple class actions filed in jurisdictions around the country against a large life insurance company and its affiliates alleging that a supplemental health benefits program violated state-law insurance requirements and seeking disgorgement of millions of dollars in premiums and fees. Argued and won appeals before the Eighth and Eleventh Circuits.
- Defended a private university from claims arising from the termination of a vendor agreement to provide electronic research administration services.
- Defended a private university in a lawsuit relating to the termination of a consulting agreement for the development of an executive education program.
- Represented a public university in a will dispute between the tenants of an 8,000-acre ranch, who claimed to have an enforceable option to purchase the ranch, and the university, which was the beneficiary of the estate.
Real Estate and Construction
- Representing a private equity firm in several disputes with the general contractor and development manager of a hotel and convention center development project relating to lingering construction issues.
- Representing a North Texas commercial real estate developer in multiple construction defect cases.
- Representing a local high-rise condominium association as “outside general counsel” and as litigation counsel in several disputes involving maintenance and repair issues
- Defended the former lessee of a 315-acre industrial manufacturing plant in Grand Prairie, Texas, from a lawsuit filed by the owner of the property seeking over $40 million in damages for environmental contamination and other breaches of the lease agreement.
- Defended a real estate developer from challenges to the approval and construction of a planned commercial retail development in Uptown Dallas. Defeated the plaintiff’s application for a temporary injunction pending trial.
- Represented a property management services company based in Dallas in multiple disputes with competitors, construction contractors, and owner associations.
- Secured a favorable settlement for one of the largest producers of construction aggregate materials in a state court lawsuit seeking damages from the general contractor of a highway construction project.
- Represented a Dallas-based manufacturer of aluminum extrusion products in several property tax disputes with local tax appraisal districts.
- Represented midstream pipeline companies in the acquisition of easements for the construction of oil and gas pipelines and in related litigation throughout Texas.
- Defended a California company that owns and operates nursing and rehabilitation facilities from contract claims made by a Texas therapy-services provider.
- Represented a Dallas-based municipal specialty finance company in several disputes with borrowers, other lenders, and brokers.
- Prosecuted claims for a telecommunications software, device, and network-systems company against a mobile application developer that improperly disclosed the client’s confidential proprietary information.
- Defended a professional consulting firm from a claw-back lawsuit brought by the court-appointed receiver of the Stanford Financial group of entities.
- Represented physicians, employees, and owners in numerous business disputes regarding the ownership, control, and dissolution of private medical practices in North Texas.
- Advised the operator of the American Airlines Center in Dallas regarding compliance issues and disputes with suppliers and vendors.
- Represented the widow of the founder of a $40 million closely held corporation in a lawsuit over control of the corporation. Obtained an injunction against the misuse of corporate assets, which was affirmed on appeal, and multiple summary judgments invalidating an unlawful redemption of the client’s preferred stock and dismissing all claims against the client.
- Defended a certified public accountant from claims that he breached his fiduciary duties and committed fraud by accepting compensation for brokering the sale of two car dealerships.