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Law Office of William J. Dyer

Attorney-at-Law ♦ Counselor ♦ Trial Advocate

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Lead trial counsel representing Allied Fitting, LP (n/k/a Allied Group) in proceedings culminating in a two-day bench trial in October 2006 on a temporary injunction application in a trademarks and tradenames case that, if granted, would have blocked millions of dollars of commerce in the international carbon-steel flange industry. Along with counsel for Allied’s co-defendant Galperti S.r.L. (represented by Houston’s Susman Godfrey), I persuaded Judge Grant Dorfman of the 129th District Court of Harris County first to limit and then to dissolve an ex parte temporary restraining order, and then to deny in full the temporary injunction that had been sought by the plaintiffs, Galperti Inc. and Galperti S.p.A. (represented by the Houston office of Dallas-based Thompson & Knight). The remainder of the case settled promptly on favorable terms. I was also co-lead counsel defending Allied during 2003-2004 in a multi-party unfair competition lawsuit involving the international carbon-steel fittings industry. The plaintiff, Weldbend Corporation (represented by Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw), brought its suit in federal district court in Chicago. But in the midst of my spirited, multi-month challenge to the federal court’s personal jurisdiction over Allied in Illinois (involving intensive pretrial discovery limited to jurisdictional issues), Weldbend voluntarily dismissed all of its claims — without having recovered even a dime by way of settlement or judgment.

Lead counsel representing PPI Technology Services, LP and Oil Technology Services, Inc. in a four-day jury trial in February 2006 in the 190th District Court of Harris County. I persuaded the jury to award PPI over $273,000 in offsets against a roughly $288,000 partial summary judgment liability to Onca Petroleum Development, Inc. under a consulting agreement signed when PPI acquired OTSI. I then successfully appealed the award of attorneys' fees under the partial summary judgment; the case settled on favorable terms while motions for rehearing were pending.  I also represented PPI in 2002-2003 in a tortious interference, theft of trade secrets, and unfair competition lawsuit that PPI brought against a large group of OTSI's ex-officers. That case settled on the brink of trial on favorable but confidential terms.

Lead counsel representing Southeast Keller Corporation, a non-profit company that provides occupational rehabilitation services, in its breach of contract lawsuit in Houston against a multinational German postage meter manufacturer, Francotyp-Postalia, and its American subsidiary (both represented by Chicago’s Schiff Hardin & Waite). After extensive international negotiations and an intense mediation before a retired chief judge of the Cook County state courts, the case settled in January 2005 — even before any pretrial discovery — on specific terms that my client, my colleagues, and I had to swear to keep strictly confidential as a condition of the settlement.

Lead trial counsel defending Millicom Incorporated, an international telecommunications company, against a $38 million claim for securities fraud and breach of contract arising out of a 1986 transaction in which Millicom sold its interest in a British cellular telephone licensee for $135 million. In December 1992, I obtained a defense verdict and a take-nothing judgment for Millicom after a five-week jury trial in state district court in Houston, during which over a dozen accountants and lawyers testified on accounting and corporate finance issues. The investor plaintiffs were represented by Houston's Vinson & Elkins. Earlier in the same case, I obtained a dismissal for want of personal jurisdiction for Millicom’s British co-defendant, Racal Electronics plc (n/k/a Vodafone Group plc).

Co-lead trial counsel defending Virginia City Nightclub & Saloon, Inc. and its insurer in a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit brought by the widow and family of Willie Born. The plaintiffs contended that during a "$10 Cover Charge/Drink for Free" promotion, Virginia City had over-served Born and a friend, leading to a one-vehicle accident in which Born was killed later that evening. After a week-long jury trial in April 1992 in state district court in Houston, my partner and I obtained a jury verdict of no liability and no damages, and that verdict was upheld on appeal.

Lead trial counsel for Greyhound Lines, Inc. in bankruptcy court proceedings in McAllen to estimate claims for back pay for over 6000 workers, as based on unfair labor practices alleged by the National Labor Relations Board and Amalgamated Council of Greyhound Local Unions. After six weeks of expedited discovery and a two-day summary trial in April 1991 — into which the parties compressed an anticipated seven years of administrative litigation on both liability and damages — the court sliced approximately 85% from the more than $200 million sought by the NLRB and the Union, capping Greyhound’s potential liability at $31.25 million in the event that the NLRB’s general counsel and the Union should ultimately prevail in the ongoing administrative litigation before the NLRB. As a direct result, neither the NLRB nor the Union was able to block confirmation of Greyhound’s plan of reorganization, and despite their appeal of the bankruptcy judge's decision, Greyhound emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 1991.

Lead counsel for The Prudential Insurance Company of America in a multi-defendant lender liability case arising out of the restructuring of a $165 million mortgage and long-term lease on a downtown Houston office tower, the First City Financial Center. Although the plaintiffs sought more than $300 million in actual and punitive damages, and eventually obtained a jury verdict for tens of millions against a remaining co-defendant whom I had not represented, The Prudential was dismissed with prejudice in May 1990 — without paying anything. In 1992 I also represented this client in successful eviction litigation and a resulting multi-location lease restructuring with a major department store chain who was the anchor tenant of a large Houston shopping mall that The Prudential owned and managed.

Lead Texas counsel for the ITT Hartford Insurance Group in two multi-defendant antitrust cases seeking tens of millions of dollars — one brought by the Texas Attorney General alleging an international conspiracy in the commercial general liability insurance market, and the other brought by a private insurance company alleging a conspiracy to monopolize the Texas market for worker’s compensation insurance. The latter case was dismissed by the trial court in mid-1990 on procedural grounds conceived and briefed by me and my staff, and later settled while appeals were pending. The former was settled on favorable terms in January 1991 after I successfully co-argued a key discovery motion on behalf of all of the defendants.

Lead trial counsel for Bank of Montreal in two lender liability lawsuits in state district court in Austin, both arising from the Bank’s foreclosure on a condominium project. In June 1990, I persuaded the court to dismiss the developer’s claim against the Bank with prejudice; to enter a $6 million judgment in favor of the Bank against the developer; and, mid-way through a jury trial, to direct a verdict of dismissal on several condominium owners’ related claims against the Bank. 

Lead counsel, obtaining favorable verdicts or settlements, in other significant commercial and personal injury lawsuits for clients such as Hicks, Muse & Co. (corporate acquisition); Matsushita/Panasonic (dealership relations cases); Shell Oil Co. (crude oil measurement dispute with Mobil); Houston Lighting & Power Co. (wrongful death and personal injury claims); Montgomery Ward & Co. (miscellaneous personal injury claims); General Homes Corporation (DTPA, warranty, and construction claims); and other similar clients.

And in the very first jury trial I ever watched or participated in, I was a law student sitting a silent third-chair (with the court's permission) in successfully defending Evel Knievel from breach of contract claims. That's me on the right, in a photo from the Austin American-Statesman.

Losses:  If I were uncomfortable talking about my losses, that would suggest that I'm either a courtroom virgin for all practical purposes — meaning a lawyer who always settles — or else badly out of touch with reality. The Brown v. Prudential case (also linked on my Appeals webpage), for example, was the single worst whipping I've ever taken on a first-chair trial and/or appeal — just over $1 million when pre- and post-judgment interest and attorneys' fees were factored in. That loss was all the more painful because it came in a re-trial after I'd won the initial jury trial. (I'm fortunate that that loyal client continued hiring me on even larger cases, including the two listed above.) This website focuses on some of my wins, but like any lawyer who's been willing (and sometimes obliged) to take risks in court, I've also lost enough cases (another of which is described here and here) to know that I really hate losing.
 
PLEASE NOTE:  My past results cannot guarantee our future results. The outcome of each of these cases depended in large part upon their specific, unique facts. I've provided these specific examples for the sole purpose of demonstrating some of the sorts of cases I've handled for particular clients. The results that I (or any other lawyer) might be able to achieve on your behalf would depend on your particular circumstances. Neither you nor I can make any meaningful predictions about those results solely on the basis of the examples listed here. As the car makers say: "Your mileage may vary." For additional important disclaimers, click here.