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Karen D. Smith

Shareholder
Houston
T: 713.210.7417
F: 713.583.1323

Karen Smith is a litigation shareholder in the Firm's Houston office.

Featured Experience

Awarded a verdict in the amount of $3.5 million on behalf of plaintiff in action for fraud and conspiracy relating to purchase of horizontal drill pipe.
Represented an oil production company in multi-district class action litigation related to claims for the underpayment of royalties in Texas, Louisiana and Alabama.
In federal court, received summary judgment without trial in successful defense of railroad against allegations of discrimination on the basis of age and disability.

Professional Biography

Overview

Ms. Smith has extensive experience in the areas of complex commercial litigation including contract disputes, trade secrets, commercial real estate and construction matters. Ms. Smith has handled cases throughout the state of Texas and taken numerous cases through to trial in state and federal court. Her clients include internationally-based manufacturers, commercial real estate developers, financial institutions, transportation companies, construction industry contractors and oil and gas companies.

In addition to Ms. Smith's experience in general business litigation, she has a significant employment law practice as well. Her employment law practice includes EEOC charge and claim investigations, defending against charges of state and federal discrimination violations, benefit-related matters, wage and hour disputes, and non-compete, non-solicitation and separation agreements.

Representative Matters
  • General Litigation

  • Awarded a verdict in the amount of $3.5 million on behalf of plaintiff in action for fraud and conspiracy relating to purchase of horizontal drill pipe.
  • Successfully defended medical practice group and physician in arbitration proceeding for breach of contract. Plaintiff sought $1.0 million in damages plus attorney's fees. Award in favor of defendants.

  • Awarded summary judgment while defending a real estate developer in a multimillion dollar action for fraud and fraudulent inducement related to the purchase of land for residential development.

  • Successfully defended a waste and environmental services provider in a personal injury suit related to an automobile accident in which the plaintiff sought damages in excess of $500,000.
  • Awarded verdict on behalf of a plaintiff client in breach of contract and tortious interference related to $3.9 million low income housing project.
  • Prevailed in a declaratory judgment action regarding a purchase/sale agreement for three theaters with a purchase price of $2 million.
  • Obtained a jury verdict on behalf of a financial institution client in defense of allegations regarding breach of contract, fraud, negligence, promissory estoppel, libel and slander and negligent misrepresentation.
  • Successfully transferred venue and obtained summary judgment on behalf of the defendant in a multimillion dollar action for defamation and negligence relating to the release of a movie.

  • Obtained a jury verdict in favor of the client and received damages of approximately $1 million in an action for breach of contract for non-payment of rent escalations and negligence for harm done to a medical facility building.
  • Successfully defended a motion picture theater company against claims of malicious prosecution, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) resulting from an underlying criminal case against the plaintiff for an embezzlement scheme perpetrated against the defendant. The defamation and IIED claims were dismissed prior to trial, and the trial judge found that the plaintiff had failed to prove malice in the malicious prosecution claim.
  • Obtained a favorable verdict following a five-day jury trial on behalf of a signage company, which brought suit against a regional owner/operator of convenience stores for approximately $300,000. Despite evidentiary difficulties, the jury found that that the signage company was owed approximately $100,000, with a portion reduced for an offset claimed by the defendants.
  • Successfully obtained a verdict for the defendants in an action for malicious prosecution, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
  • Oil and Gas

  • Represented an oil production company in multi-district class action litigation related to claims for the underpayment of royalties in Texas, Louisiana and Alabama.
  • Successfully resolved multibillion dollar litigation involving claims of fraud and tortious interference with a merger agreement in favor of a global manufacturer of chemical products.
  • Represented a major independent oil and gas company in a multimillion dollar action against a pipeline transportation company for tortious interference with a natural gas supply contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duties and conspiracy.
  • Employment Litigation

  • In federal court, received summary judgment without trial in successful defense of railroad against allegations of discrimination on the basis of age and disability.
  • In federal court, received summary judgment without trial in the successful defense of an international engineering consulting firm against alleged retaliation stemming from a sexual harassment report.
  • Received summary judgment on behalf of a large North America and South America movie theater owner/operator against plaintiff seeking damages in excess of $1.2 million for alleged reverse race discrimination.
  • Successfully defended a leading North American provider of waste and environmental services against claims for wrongful retaliatory termination based on the pursuit of a workers' compensation claim, with the jury returning with a defense verdict and the judge both awarding client costs and denying the plaintiff's requested compensation of $900,000.
  • Defeated preliminary injunction action sought against a lighting manufacturing company following the client's hire of a high-level R&D scientist from a competitor. The plaintiff sought a seven-figure damages award, which it ultimately abandoned as well.

  • Obtained final summary judgment on behalf of the defendant, affirmed on appeal, in an action for wrongful termination in retaliation for reporting of illegal conduct.
Professional Honors & Activities
  • Named − Houston's Top Lawyers by H Texas Magazine (2014 – 2017) – Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial Litigation
  • Recipient − Justice Barbara Culver Clack Award, State Bar of Texas, Woman and the Law Section
  • Member – State Bar of Texas
    • Council for the Women and Law Section (2016 – 2018)
    • Texas Lawyers Assistance Program (2007 – 2010)
    • Women in the Profession Committee (2000 – 2002)
  • Fellow – Texas Bar Foundation (2007)
  • Member – American Bar Association
  • Member – Houston, The Woodlands and Montgomery County Bar Associations
  • Member – Texas Women Lawyers
    • Board of Directors (2000 – 2009)
    • President (2006 – 2007)
  • Member – Association of Women Attorneys
    • AWA Foundation, Board of Directors (2005 – 2007)
    • AWA Foundation, Board Chair (2006 – 2007)
  • Member – Women's Energy Network
    • Retention Committee
    • Charity Luncheon Committee
  • Member – Greater Houston Partnership
    • Energy and Environmental Policy Committee
  • Member – Executive Women's Alliance
    • Board of Directors (2007 – 2010)
    • President (2007 – 2008)
  • Member – South Montgomery County Woodlands Chamber of Commerce
    • Board of Directors, Vice President of Business Opportunities (2006 – 2009)
    • Board of Directors, Vice President of Business Opportunities (2010 – 2012)
  • Member – Montgomery County Hispanic Chambers of Commerce
    • Board of Directors (2006 – 2009)
Speaking Engagements

Education

  • Baylor University School of Law, J.D., 1992
    • Order of Barristers
  • Sam Houston State University, B.S., 1982

Admissions

  • Texas, 1992
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of Texas

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