Skip to content

Appellate

With appellate attorneys in Dallas, Houston, and Austin, Thompson & Knight handles appeals throughout Texas, across the Southwest, and around the country. We regularly appear in the Texas Supreme Court, all 14 Texas courts of appeals, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as in other state and federal courts.

Overview

In the high-stakes world of appellate litigation, Thompson & Knight’s appellate attorneys offer depth, experience, and knowledge. Several of our appellate partners are Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, are former judicial law clerks, and have served on a law review while in law school.

With appellate attorneys in Dallas, Houston, and Austin, Thompson & Knight’s appellate attorneys handle appeals throughout Texas, across the Southwest, and around the country. We practice in the Texas Supreme Court, all 14 Texas courts of appeals, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as in other state and federal courts. Additionally, we actively participate at the trial court level, preparing strategic motions, drafting jury charges, and structuring cases for appeal or emergency relief.

Collectively, we have handled appeals in the following areas of law, among others:

  • Antitrust
  • Aviation
  • Business disputes
  • Constitutional issues
  • Government and regulation
  • Insurance coverage
  • Intellectual property
  • Labor and employment
  • Oil, gas, and energy
  • Personal injury
  • Preemption
  • Products liability
  • Railroads
  • Tax
  • Toxic torts
  • Trade regulation
  • Usury

Besides being dedicated to providing the highest quality appellate services, our attorneys are also passionate about appellate law. That is why, for example, our appellate attorneys frequently speak and write, both locally and nationally, on effective legal writing, persuasive oral argument, and other appellate-related topics.

To learn more about recent developments in Texas appellate law, please view the Texas Appellate Watch blog.

Received a top national ranking for Appellate Law in U.S. News - Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” 2019

3

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

Experience

  • Our client, a large oil and gas company, was sued for breach of contract and on various tort theories arising out of the pooling of oil and gas properties; district court granted our motion for summary judgment on all claims, and Corpus Christi Court of Appeals affirmed the summary judgment and denied a motion for rehearing; Texas Supreme Court denied a petition for review and overruled a motion for rehearing
  • Our client, a large energy company, suffered a blowout while drilling a gas well in the Austin Chalk; insurers refused to pay the claim, contending that the Austin Chalk was a “single formation” where blowout insurance did not apply; district court granted a summary judgment in favor of the insurance companies, but the Fourteenth Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the decision, holding that the policy language was inherently ambiguous, and overruled the motion for rehearing; Texas Supreme Court denied the appellants’ petition for review and overruled their motions for rehearing
  • Our client, a national airline, was sued on various tort claims arising from the discharge of an employee after drug test results reflected improper alteration; district court denied a motion to dismiss on federal preemption grounds but granted our motion to certify the question to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals; Fifth Circuit reversed and rendered judgment in our client’s favor, finding all of the state law claims to be preempted by federal drug testing statutes and regulations.
  • Our client, a large railroad operator, was sued in federal court in Oklahoma by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act in refusing to hire an applicant for a train-conductor position; district court accepted our request to limit proceedings to a threshold issue, and after discovery on that issue, granted our motion for summary judgment; Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the summary judgment
  • Our client, a municipality, received an unfavorable opinion from the court of appeals in a case involving alleged takings and nuisances resulting in sewer backups; after the client engaged us, we sought and obtained review by the Texas Supreme Court; the court rejected the ruling by the court of appeals that our clients had waived error for inadequate briefing in the lower court and agreed with our position on the substantive standard, reversing and rendering judgment in our client’s favor
  • Our client, a national hotel chain, was sued for failure to let a franchisee open a hotel under the client’s “flag”; our client defended on the ground that the franchisee had not completed the contractually specified renovations; jury awarded the franchisee more than $12 million, but the court of appeals reversed and remanded because of error in the jury charge
  • Our client, a large U.S.-based computer manufacturer, brought suit to recover about $12 million for computer chips delivered to the defendant; trial court granted summary judgment for the defendant based on a contractual statute of limitations; court of appeals reversed, agreeing with our client that the defendant did not conclusively prove the claim was time-barred; Texas Supreme Court denied the defendant’s petition for review
  • Our client, a large auto manufacturer, was sued in an automobile rollover case; after the trial court ordered our client to produce privileged documents, we sought mandamus relief in the court of appeals; appellate court granted such relief, holding that most of the documents were privileged
  • After the Firestone tire recall, Plaintiffs’ attorneys across the country repeatedly sought orders allowing production of the rubber compound formulas and inspection of the tire manufacturing plants; as these formulas and manufacturing facilities are closely guarded trade secrets, we filed emergency appeals from orders compelling disclosure of the secret rubber formulas and ordering plant inspections and appeared as counsel for manufacturers or as amicus counsel for a trade association in the highest courts of Texas, New York, South Carolina, and Alabama to prohibit such disclosure
  • Our client, a leading telecommunications company, was sued to enjoin it from selling certain mobile phones; the claim was that the designs infringed a patent directed to mobile devices having a swiveling configuration; Federal Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with our argument that our client’s designs did not infringe and affirmed the district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction
  • Our client, a large railroad operator, was involved in a class action suit seeking hundreds of millions of dollars filed against our client, claiming a special distribution to shareholders should have allocated taxable components of the distribution differently, thus causing a worldwide class of nearly a million shareholders to overpay their taxes; trial court agreed with our position that proving damages for overpayment of taxes is an individual inquiry and not susceptible to being answered on a class-wide basis and denied class certification; court of appeals affirmed, and Texas Supreme Court declined review
  • Our client, a large oil and gas company, was sued by numerous taxing authorities for allegedly undervaluing its properties for ad valorem tax purposes; court of appeals granted mandamus relief from one trial court’s refusal to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction; while some cases were voluntarily dismissed, the remaining cases were consolidated before one court, which dismissed the remaining cases for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction; court of appeals affirmed, and Texas Supreme Court denied review
  • Our client, an automobile and industrial manufacturer, appealed an adverse judgment in a complex dispute over responsibility for the failure of wave-stabilization riser tensioner equipment specially designed and manufactured for deepwater drilling operations; court of appeals reversed and rendered judgment in favor of our client, and Texas Supreme Court denied review
  • Our client, a national financial institution, defended an appeal in the Fifth Circuit after obtaining a take-nothing judgment in district court; at the conclusion of a two-week trial, the district court denied the plaintiffs’ multi-million dollar claim against our client for breach of contract and conversion for post-closing destruction of loan origination documents in a loan pool; on appeal, the Fifth Circuit found that the plaintiffs were unable to show that the absence of loan documentation caused any harm to the plaintiffs and that their damages were speculative and remote
  • Our clients, eight relatives of a Houston attorney, were involved in a will contest against an individual claiming he was named the executor of the estate under a purported photocopy of the attorney’s will; a diligent search of the attorney’s property failed to produce an original will, leading our clients to conclude that the executor’s “photocopied” will was inauthentic or one revoked before death; jury returned a verdict favorable to the executor, but the probate judge granted our motion to disregard the jury verdict, ruling that the purported copy failed to satisfy the Texas Probate Code’s requirements for proving the authenticity of a missing original will; First Court of Appeals decided the appeal in favor of our clients, disregarded the jury verdict, and denied the executor’s motion for rehearing, enabling the attorney’s relatives to receive the property that was theirs by law