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Jeffrey S. Davis
Wells Fargo Plaza, Suite 3400
Area(s) of Expertise
Jeff Davis is a trial lawyer who is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and was recently recognized in the 2015 edition of Best Lawyers in America© and selected as a Fellow in the Trial Lawyer Honorary Society of the Litigation Counsel of America. Licensed in both Texas and Oklahoma, he represents clients in a wide variety of matters including general commercial litigation, catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, premises liability, products liability, property damage, professional negligence and business torts.
Over the last 15 years, Mr. Davis' practice has been primarily focused on oilfield-related litigation for oilfield service companies and E&P companies. Specifically, he has been lead counsel in over 100 matters arising from oilfield incidents that have included fatalities, catastrophic personal injuries, and alleged surface and downhole tool failures resulting in purported property damage to wellbore and reservoir. Mr. Davis also represents energy clients in a variety of commercial matters, including royalty disputes and counseling regarding contract and indemnity issues.
Mr. Davis has tried cases to verdict in both state and federal courts across Texas and in Oklahoma, including the following recent cases:
- Defense verdict in Oklahoma state court in favor of an oilfield service client in a wrongful death action arising out of a double fatality that occurred during a partial rig erection. The verdict was affirmed by the Oklahoma Court of Appeals (Division IV).
- Defense verdict in Hidalgo County, Texas, in a workplace personal injury matter where the plaintiff underwent a two-level lumbar fusion and was seeking almost $1 million in damages at trial.
- Defense verdict in a property damage case involving the explosion of a nitrogen holding tank where plaintiff was seeking over $3 million in damages.
Mr. Davis and his team also prevailed in three separate matters representing the Houston Astros and the Detroit Tigers. First, Mr. Davis was lead counsel in successfully obtaining summary judgment in favor of the Houston Astros against a patron struck by a ball during batting practice. Second, he was lead counsel in successfully obtaining and affirming a summary judgment granted in favor of the Houston Astros farm team arising from an alleged injury from a batted ball entering the stands in Albuquerque, N.M. In the third case, Mr. Davis led a team in affirming a summary judgment in a suit filed by a major league pitcher, Doug Brocail, claiming that the Tigers were negligent in the treatment of an injury (a case that Mr. Brocail took all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court).
A more detailed listing of his representative matters can be found below.
Representative Oilfield-Related Matters
- Obtained summary judgment in Oklahoma state court in favor of drilling contractor in alleged wrongful death case arising out of operations on a drilling rig.
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of oilfield-service company in alleged wrongful death case arising out of a vehicular accident that occurred in South Texas.
- Represented drilling contractor in a contract dispute with operator over an early cancellation of a term drilling contract. A favorable settlement was negotiated on the eve of trial.
- Defended rental tool company in a lawsuit arising out of a blowout wherein the operator alleged a product defect in a rented blowout preventer seeking alleged damages in excess of $40 million. The case settled for a confidential amount after five days of trial.
- Defended rental tool company in a lawsuit arising out of a flash fire on a drilling rig that resulted in severe burns to a drilling rig employee. Plaintiff alleged product defect in the rental equipment. After one week of pre-trial hearings, including eight expert challenges and three days of trial, the case settled for a confidential amount.
- Defended casing company in claim by operator arising from parted casing resulting in damage to wellbore.
- Obtained summary judgment for oilfield services client in South Texas (Cameron County) in personal injury action involving a plaintiff involved in a single car accident resulting in a double amputation at the knee. Plaintiff asserted that client was not immune under the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act. The summary judgment was granted based upon the applicability of the “dual employer” doctrine.
- Obtained summary judgment for oil & gas operator and drilling contractor in federal court in Houston in a personal injury arising from an oilfield accident when rig hand fell through grating in mud tank (applying Chapter 95 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code). The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the summary judgment.
- Obtained summary judgment for oil & gas operator in South Texas (McMullen County) in a personal injury action arising from a rig floor accident resulting in the amputation of the rig employee’s lower leg.
- Obtained summary judgment for oil & gas operator in Harris County, Texas, arising from an oilfield accident where the drilling contractor employee fell from a mud tank (again applying Chapter 95 of the Tex. Civ. Prac. & Remedies Code).
- Obtained summary judgment for drilling contractor client in South Texas (Hidalgo County) in lawsuit filed by landowners residing adjacent to a rig site claiming that vibrations from drilling operations caused property damage to their home.
- Obtained summary judgment for drilling contractor client in South Texas (Hidalgo County) arising from an oilfield accident on the rig floor of the client’s rig during drilling operations.
- Defended drilling contractor client in personal injury lawsuit in federal court in Oklahoma arising from an accident where a steel bar fell from the derrick and struck casing employee. The client stipulated to liability and entered into a high/low agreement with plaintiff and tried the matter to a federal jury.
- Lead counsel in over 100 matters arising from oilfield incidents.
- In many of the 18 oilfield fatality matters that he has handled, Mr. Davis has been involved from the first day of the accident leading the investigation of the incident through the defense of the ultimate lawsuit filed, including trial of the matter when necessary.
Representative General Commercial Litigation Matters
- Successful prosecution of a counterclaim in a contract dispute where customer prematurely terminated supply contract of industrial gases and preemptively sued client. After three days of trial before a Harris County jury, the parties reached a business solution more favorable to the client than a best case verdict.
- Tried and obtained $675,000 arbitration award in New York for national entertainment client against Canadian media company for breach of contract.
- Defended a media research company against allegations that a partnership agreement existed between the client and a telemarketing company when the client chose to terminate its vendor-client relationship.
- Defended medical waste company in a claim that the client breached the contract to provide a minimum amount of regulated waste for disposal. The negotiated settlement was for a fraction of the alleged damages sustained by the plaintiff.
- Represented national media company in contract dispute with Howard Stern.
Representative Non-Oilfield Death, Personal Injury, Premises and Products Liability Matters
- Obtained a jury verdict in favor of a bicycle manufacturer in a products liability case tried in Houston federal court arising out of an accident where the plaintiff suffered a fractured hip and claimed damages of almost $1 million.
- Obtained summary judgment in Brazoria County, Texas, in a products liability case arising from the explosion of an oxygen cylinder where the plaintiff suffered severe burns on his arms, legs and torso.
- Defended engineering firm in wrongful death case arising out of a flash fire that occurred in a contained water vessel being painted.
- Defended national home builder in wrongful death case arising out of a house fire when the homeowner died of smoke inhalation after the smoke alarm allegedly failed to activate.
- Obtained jury verdict in favor of local outdoor amphitheatre and concert promoter against allegations that venue security assaulted a patron at a concert.
Clients and Matters
Mr. Davis’ representative clients include:
- Detroit Tigers Baseball Club
- Houston Astros Baseball Club
- Independence Contract Drilling Inc.
- Matheson Tri-Gas Inc.
- Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp.
- Precision Drilling Company L.P. (fka Grey Wolf Drilling Company L.P.)
- Savanna Energy Services Corp.
- Stallion Oilfield Services Ltd.
- Unit Drilling Co.
- Baumann v. Cactus Drilling Company LLC, et al., No. 110,108 (Civ. App. 2013).
- Martinez v. Houston McLane Company Inc., S.W.3d (Tex. App. - Hous. [1st Dist.] 2013), pet. pending.
- Crespin v. Albuquerque Baseball Club LLC, 147 N.M. 62 (N.M. Ct. App. 2009).
- Brocail v. Detroit Tigers Inc., 268 S.W.3d 90 (Tex. App. - Houston [14th Dist.] 2008, pet. denied), cert. denied, S. Ct. (2009).
- Credeur v. MJ Oil Inc., 123 F. App'x 585 (5th Cir. 2004).
- J.D., University of Houston Law Center (1992)
- Associate Editor, Houston Law Review
- Associate Justice/Prosecutor, Houston Law Center Honor Court
- B.B.A., The University of Texas at Austin (1989)
Publications and Speeches
- Speaker, Address at Houston Chapter - Association of Corporate Counsel Luncheon: Business Torts (Nov. 12, 2013).
- Speaker, Address at 2012 Annual Summer Meeting, Association of Energy Service Companies: Terms and Conditions - Protecting the Oilfield Service Company, Broomfield, Colo. (July 18-20, 2012).
- Speaker, Address at Gardere/Lockton Evolving Issues in the Oilfield Service Industry Seminar: What Risks Are You Really Assuming and/or Insuring? Knock for Knock Indemnities and the Resulting Liabilities, Texas and Louisiana (Oct. 13, 2009) (authored paper for seminar proceedings).
- Speaker, Address at Contracts and Risk Management Conference, International Association of Drilling Contractors: What Risk Are You Really Assuming? Knock for Knock Indemnities and the Resulting Liabilities (Nov. 8-9, 2006).
- Speaker, Address at Evolving Issues in the Oilfield Service Industry Seminar: Application of Chapter 95 to the Oilfield - Increasing the Burden in Personal Injury Claims (Nov. 16, 2005) (authored paper for seminar proceedings).
- Admitted to practice before:
- Texas State Courts
- Oklahoma State Courts
- U.S. District Courts for all districts of Texas
- U.S. District Court - Western District of Oklahoma
- Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
- State Bar of Texas
- Oklahoma State Bar
- American Board of Trial Advocates
- Houston Bar Association
- Oil, Gas & Mineral Law Section
- Golf Tournament Committee
- Judicial Poll Committee
- Houston Bar Foundation
- Texas Bar Foundation
- International Association of Drilling Contractors
- Institute for Energy Law
- Advisory Board Member
- Oilfield Services Committee
- Litigation and Dispute Resolution Committee
- Texas Pattern Jury Charge Committee
- Former Member, Malpractice, Premises & Products
Honors and Awards
- Recognized, The Best Lawyers in America (Steven Naifeh & Gregory White Smith eds., Woodward/White Inc.) (2014)
- Product Liability Litigation Defense
- Recognized, Texas Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, as published in Texas Monthly (2003, 2004, 2007-2014)
- Recognized, Houston’s Top Lawyers, H Texas Magazine (2011, 2012)
- Recognized, Houston’s Top Lawyers Under 40, H Texas Magazine (2004)
- Recognized, AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell® PEER REVIEW RATINGS™
- Recognized, Who's Who in Energy, Houston Business Journal (2011)
- Member, Leadership Houston, Class XXV
- Member, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church
- Former Board Member, University of Houston Law Center Alumni Association