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Karen D. Smith

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

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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.

In federal court, received summary judgment without trial in successful defense of railroad against allegations of discrimination on the basis of age and disability.

Represented an oil production company in multi-district class action litigation related to claims for the underpayment of royalties in Texas, Louisiana and Alabama.

Professional Biography


Ms. Smith is an experienced litigator who regularly represents individuals and corporations in the areas of complex commercial disputes, probate and fiduciary litigation, and employment law 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 and residential real estate developers, financial institutions, transportation companies, construction industry contractors and oil and gas companies, as well as their officers and directors.

  • 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.

  • Awarded verdict on behalf of a plaintiff client in breach of contract and tortious interference related to $3.9 million low income housing project.
  • 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.
  • 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 obtained a verdict for the defendants in an action for malicious prosecution, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

  • Probate Litigation

  • Successfully pursued a claim on behalf of co-trustees and co-guardians of the person and estate of a minor child against co-executors of the estate in an action for Application for Probate of Will and Issuance of Letters Testamentary and Declaratory Judgment and Application for Injunctive Relief on the basis of undue influence and/or lack of testamentary capacity in the procurement of a codicil.

  • Successfully defended an action amongst beneficiaries alleging undue influence and lack of testamentary. Judgment entered in favor of estate.

  • Represented estate and co-executors of an estate in an action for recovery of a commercial debt owing to the estate. Favorable settlement reached without a trial.

  • 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.
  • 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 multi-billion 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 multi-million dollar action against a pipeline transportation company for tortious interference with a natural gas supply contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duties and conspiracy.

  • 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)

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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