Lee Veness

Email: lveness@ekvallbyrne.com

Lee is certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Civil Trial Law with first chair trial experience in over 65 jury trials in federal and state court, as well as in appeals with outstanding results.  Lee has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of litigation matters, including commercial disputes, Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) claims, and personal injury and wrongful death claims arising from trucking, personal and commercial auto accidents, premise liability, product liability, Dram Shop, construction site accidents, premises defects, trademarks, and commercial property first party claims, coverage opinions, bad faith and other coverage disputes.

Lee has also represented contractors, subcontractors and owners in complex multi-million dollar litigation involving construction defects, construction cost overruns, performance and payment bonds; defended and sued design professionals in malpractice litigation; represented parties in oil and gas litigation over production rights and against allegations of failing to properly drill wells that failed to produce; defended attorneys and law firms against legal malpractice claims; defended and tried employment and Sec. 1983 claims based on due process, excessive force, first and fourth amendment, race and sex discrimination claims.

Lee has also represented clients in real estate and commercial transactions, including construction contracts, sales agreements, real estate contracts, trademarks, development, zoning and other commercial matters/

Professional Distinctions:
Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by Texas Board of Legal Specialization,1990

Education:
Juris Doctor, University of Houston School of Law, 1982

Bachelor of Arts, University of Texas at Austin, with Honors, 1979

Bar Admissions:
Texas, 1982

Court Admissions:
United States Supreme Court, 1986
United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, 1983
United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, 2010
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, 2009

Practice Focus:

  • Personal injury and wrongful death litigation, including trucking, premise liability, personal and commercial auto, product liability, Dram Shop, civil rights and employment
  • Litigation arising from construction defects and work place accidents
  • Insurance coverage litigation & analysis of personal and business auto liability policies, commercial general liability policies, commercial and residential property policies, including extra-contractual, bad faith and claims for statutory penalties and damages
  • Commercial litigation involving contracts, trademarks, copyrights, and other commercial transactions
  • Professional liability involving attorneys, engineers and design professionals
  • Personal and subject matter jurisdiction

Reported Cases:

  • Methodist Hospitals of Dallas v. Mid-Century Ins. Co. of Texas, 259 S.W.3d 358 (Tex.App.-Dallas, 2008) (successful defense of Mid-Century against a statutory healthcare provider lien)
  • Bradshaw v. Pittsburgh I.S.D. 207 F.3d 814 (5th 2000) (successful defense in an interlocutory appeal of employment retaliation, whistleblower, First Amendment and related issues in an employment case arising from alleged wrongful termination of high school principal)
  • Doe v. S &S Consol.,I.S.D., 149 F.Supp.2d 274 (E.D.Tex. 2001) (successful defense claims based on Americans with Disability, substantive due process and IDEA claims arising from wrapping a 7 year old female student with a sheet and duct taping her to a cot on several occasions by school officials in a suit filed by a leading Plaintiff’s attorney)
  • Littlefield v. Forney I.S.D., 108 F.Supp.2d 681 (N.D. Tex. 2000) (successful defense of the Forney ISD dress code in First Amendment case asserted by ACLU on behalf of 57 sets of parents)
  • Tannahill ex rel. Tannahill v. Lockney ISD, 133 F.Supp.2d 919 (N.D.Tex. 2001)(drug testing of students in case asserted by ACLU)
  • B&B Vending v. City of Garland, 711 S.W.2d 132 (Tex. App.-Tyler 1986)(regulation of video games)
  • Norlock v. City of Garland, 768 F2d 654 (5th 1985)(affirming dismissal of Sec. 1983 suit based on untimely perfection of service)

Noteworthy Representative Matters as Lead Counsel:

  • Successfully defended the country’s largest manufacturer of plastic bottles in a breach of contract and Deceptive Trade Practice suit over allegedly defective design and products issues, where plaintiff sought $6,000,000 in actual damages and $32,000,000 in lost profits in a case where Bracewell and Patterson represented the plaintiff, a large manufacturer of hair care products, and Kirkland and Ellis from Chicago represented the distributor who was seeking indemnity from the manufacturer.
  • Successful defense of Philippine World Champion boxer Manny Pacquiao in federal district court against a plaintiff seeking a TRO and injunctive relief based on a breach of contract and fraud action where plaintiff sought damages of more than $2,000,000. http://www.themonitor.com/news/local/article_e3129a84-d906-5eec-9b60-e24cf955b0e5.html
  • Filed and pursued litigation against the parties responsible for the deficiencies in the construction of the four-story Ellis County Courthouse that eventually resulted in its demolishment and recovery of damages
  • Personally negotiated with the general contractor and then supervised the remedy of the construction and design issues of a new addition to a County jail, saving taxpayers millions in potential costs of repair
  • Assisted in the defense of a complex legal malpractice case involving numerous experts, witnesses, and depositions, against claims of over $20,000,000 in damages for expenses and lost profits brought by a major TxDOT contractor against an attorney and an insurance company arising from a construction project for the State of Texas
  • As trial court counsel in Chambers v. Lancaster, obtained the MSJ against the plaintiffs in a police chase case that ended in the death of the rider and serious injuries to a passenger on a motorcycle that eventually resulted in the landmark decision of the Texas Supreme Court on qualified immunity for government officials cited by Texas appellate courts as well as district and appellate federal courts in over 800 opinions
  • Obtained the granting of a motion to dismiss the Garland defendants from a Sec. 1983 civil rights action filed by Lenell Geter, an engineer living in Greenville, Texas. This suit was filed after the reversal of Geter’s conviction when 60 Minutes made a national issue out of his trial and conviction for armed robbery. Morley Safer chose this story as his “Correspondent’s Favorite” from the stories reported during his 41 years on “60 Minutes”
  • Successful defense of a $750,000 first party property insurance claim arising from a fire to a foreclosed house by challenging the bank’s title to the property that was acquired through the MERS system of transferring mortgages and deeds of trust into tranches, a form of mortgage backed securities investments or a consolidated ownership group which consisted of shared ownership of a group the mortgages which often resulted in title problems rendering both foreclosure and the sale of the foreclosed property next to impossible, because the consolidated ownership group lacked physical possession of the note or an assignment of the deed of trust, hence it also lacked the authority to assign the consolidation agreement to the bank which meant the bank lacked “standing” to bring a foreclosure action or take other actions, such as sell the property or collect property insurance proceeds
  • After a co-defendant in an auto case repeatedly failed to appear for his deposition, successfully used a show cause order and a bench warrant to obtain his deposition to prevent his insurance carrier from withdrawing coverage based on lack of cooperation and prejudice that may have occurred if other sanctions were sought
  • Obtained a defense jury verdict in East Texas arising from an 18 wheeler accident on a divided two lane roadway where the trailer’s rear wheels sideswiped the plaintiff’s auto when the truck changed lanes, causing the plaintiff’s vehicle to roll over and crash into a ditch, resulting in serious neck, head, shoulder and back injuries, with settlement demands of over two million dollars under Stowers.
  • Obtained a defense jury verdict in Dallas County arising from an 18 wheeler accident occurring on the service road on Stemmons Expressway in Dallas, that allegedly occurred due to an unsafe lane change by the defendant, allegedly causing serious injuries to the plaintiffs
  • Obtained a defense jury verdict in a premise liability suit where the plaintiff fell and broke her hip, while exiting through a side door of a building that had a 13.5 inch drop to the pavement in violation of the building code, suffering an injury that required an immediate hip replacement
  • Represented a defendant against claims that the defendant negligently pumped cement into the annular space between the well-bore and casing, failing to achieve zonal isolation and a good cement-to-pipe bond, resulting in the failure of the oil and gas well to be productive
  • Obtained defense jury verdicts in five jury trials in federal and state courts against allegations of false arrest and excessive force by police officers
  • Successfully defended a major soils testing engineering firm in defending claims asserted against the firm due to alleged faulty design of the foundation piers involving construction of a multi-million dollar hotel
  • Represented law firms against malpractice claims based on bankruptcy issues, real estate transactions, probate and commercial transactions
  • Represented a large mortgage company over claims related to malpractice and misrepresentation of loan terms
  • Successful defense of a real estate developer against tortuous interference claims related to financing
  • Represented a major video supplier in a binding arbitration in a $3,000,000 commercial transaction dispute over contract terms and payment in a matter
  • Represented and advised clients on issues involving compliance with federal and state requirements regarding matters such as Title VII, Title IX, HIPPA and other such regulatory matters
  • Negotiated and drafted the documents for the sale of a major shopping mall
  • Represented a developer in arbitration proceedings over personal guarantees involving $20,000,000 in loans related to two shopping malls
  • Successfully defended a district judge before the Texas Board of Judicial Conduct
  • Negotiated contracts and licensing agreements for a major city for a project that would electronically record and potentially control utility usage of individual houses and businesses from a central location via a wireless network
  • Negotiated software agreements and major contractual modifications to existing agreements for electronic filing and searching of deed records and court documents on behalf of counties

Publications:

                Hot Topics in Federal Practice: New Rules for Expert Witnesses and other Developments; State Bar  Advanced Personal Injury Seminar 2011 (Co-author)