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Experience

Melissa Davis focuses her practice on civil appeals. She has represented clients in the United States Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of Texas, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, other federal Court of Appeals, Texas and other states’ courts of appeals, and trial courts across the county.

Ms. Davis is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She focuses her practice on appellate briefing and oral argument, strategic dispositive motions, expert challenges, preservation of error, and jury charges. Her areas of expertise include federal preemption, expert evidence in Texas, shareholder litigation, partnership disputes, and oil-and-gas litigation. She has particular insight into judicial decision making due to her experience working as an attorney for the Texas Supreme Court and the First Court of Appeals in Houston, as well as a clerkship with the Texas Supreme Court.

Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization

Received a top national ranking for Appellate Law in U.S. News - Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” 2020

Representative Matters

  • Boltex Manufacturing Co. v. Galperti, Inc., No. 19-20440, 2020 WL 5506404 (5th Cir. 2020) (obtained summary judgment for manufacturing clients on competitors’ claims against them for more than $100 million; Fifth Circuit affirmed summary judgment on appeal)
  • Brazos Elec. Power Coop., Inc. v. Tex. Comm’n on Envtl. Quality, 576 S.W.3d 374 (Tex. 2019) (obtained victory for Texas electricity provider on an issue of first impression that required the Court to interpret a statute that creates a tax exemption for pollution-control equipment)
  • Griffioen v. Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway Co., No. 18-499 (2019) (successfully opposed certiorari by plaintiff from U.S. Supreme Court, preserving defense victory for railroad client in multi-billion-dollar class-action lawsuit)
  • Burlington Res. Oil & Gas Co. LP v. Tex. Crude Energy, LLC, 573 S.W.3d 198 (Tex. 2019) (represented Texas Oil and Gas Association in amicus briefing before the Texas Supreme Court in this case requiring interpretation of critical and customary oil-and-gas-lease language)
  • Shannon Med. Ctr. v. Triad Holdings III, L.L.C., No. 14-18-00638-CV, 2019 WL 6606406 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2019, no pet.) (obtained jury verdict in favor of client on the opposing party’s claims for dissolution and on counterclaims brought individually and derivatively on behalf of the partnership; Court of Appeals affirmed judgment in favor of Thompson & Knight’s client on derivative claims and against opposing party on dissolution claims
  • Westfall v. Luna, 903 F.3d 534 (5th Cir. 2018) (prevailed in obtaining rare appellate opinion from Fifth Circuit that overturns a district court’s immunity-based summary judgment in Section 1983 litigation)
  • Boytim v. Brigham Expl. Co., No. 03-17-00722-CV, 2018 WL 6816827 (Tex. App.—Austin Dec. 28, 2018, pet. denied); Brigham Expl. Co. v. Boytim, No. 03-15-00248-CV, 2016 WL 3390287, at *1 (Tex. App.—Austin June 15, 2016, no pet.); Brigham Exploration Co. v. Boytim, No. 03-13-00191-CV, 2014 WL 4058965 (Tex. App.—Austin Aug. 15, 2014, no pet.) (obtained multiple reversals of orders certifying a class and subsequently obtained affirmance of an order denying class certification in putative shareholder class-action lawsuit)
  • Jackson v. Michelin N. Am., Inc., No. 07-16-00325-CV, 2018 WL 4323624 (Tex. App.—Amarillo 2018, pet. denied); No. 18-1222 (Tex. 2019) (obtained summary judgment in favor of manufacturer client after successfully excluding all of the plaintiff’s proffered experts; the Court of Appeals affirmed; and the Texas Supreme Court denied plaintiff’s petition for review in products-liability suit)
  • Wyeth v. Levine, 555 U.S. 555, 129 S. Ct. 1187, 173 L. Ed. 2d 51 (2009); Altria Group, Inc. v. Good, 555 U.S. 70, 129 S. Ct. 538, 172 L. Ed. 2d 398 (2008) (represented amici in briefing in support of prevailing party in two federal-preemption cases decided by U.S. Supreme Court)
  • City Dallas, Ltd. v. Carlisle Corp., 251 S.W.3d 55 (Tex. 2008) (prevailed on argument that attorney’s fees are recoverable by statute in Texas for express-warranty claims in statutory-construction case involving an issue of first impression before the Texas Supreme Court)

Prior Employment

  • Attorney for the Honorable Jeffrey S. Boyd, Justice, Texas Supreme Court, 2013-2016
  • Attorney for the Honorable Harvey G. Brown, First Court of Appeals, 2011-2013
  • Judicial Clerk to the Honorable Don R. Willett, Justice, Texas Supreme Court, 2005-2006

Honors & Affiliations

Distinctions/Honors

  • The Best Lawyers in America® by Woodward/White Inc. (Appellate Practice), 2021
  • Texas Rising Stars® by Thomson Reuters (Appellate), 2018-2019
  • Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Civil Appellate Law Advisory Commission
  • National Center for State Courts, Lawyers Committee

Memberships/Affiliations

  • Advisory Commission Member, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Civil Appellate Law Advisory Commission
  • Counsel Member, Austin Bar Association Appellate Section
  • Lawyers’ Committee Member, National Center for State Courts
  • Committee Member, Third Court of Appeals Pro Bono Committee
  • Member, American Bar Association; Section of Litigation, Judicial Division
  • Member, State Bar of Texas; Appellate and Advocacy Section
  • Member, Austin Bar Association; Civil Appellate Section
  • Member, Houston Bar Association; Appellate Practice Section

Education & Admissions

Education

  • J.D., 2004, with honors, The University of Texas School of Law; Texas Law Review; Teaching Quizmaster; William O. Huie Endowed Presidential Scholarship; Bob Gibbins Endowed Presidential Scholarship; Keith Morrison Endowed Presidential Scholarship
  • B.S., 2001, magna cum laude, Texas A&M University; Distinguished Student Award (Liberal Arts); Vice President of Alpha Chi Omega

Admissions

  • Texas
  • U.S. Supreme Ct.
  • U.S. Ct. of App., First Circuit
  • U.S. Ct. of App., Second Circuit
  • U.S. Ct. of App., Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Ct. of App., Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Ct. of App., Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Dist. Ct., E. Dist. Texas
  • U.S. Dist. Ct., N. Dist. Texas
  • U.S. Dist. Ct., S. Dist. Texas
  • U.S. Dist. Ct., W. Dist. Texas