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Craig B. Florence
Thanksgiving Tower, Suite 3000
1601 Elm Street
Area(s) of Expertise
Craig Florence represents a variety of clients in complex litigation matters, including actions involving directors and officers disputes, fiduciary duty claims, trade secret claims, health care business disputes, business fraud claims and intellectual property disputes. Mr. Florence handles cases in federal and state courts and in arbitrations throughout the United States.
Clients and Matters
Mr. Florence’s cases have included arbitrations in New Jersey, California, Tennessee, Texas and Hawaii and litigation in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Washington and California. His clients include or have included:
- Altair Global Relocation
- Barry Callebaut AG R
- BearCom Group Inc.
- Brach's Confections Inc.
- Dean Foods Company
- Denton County Electric Cooperative Inc.
- Dresdner Bank AG
- Ennis Paint Inc.
- HeartPlace P.A.
- Heeling Sports Limited
- LJM2 Liquidation Statutory Trust B
- Longview Energy Company
- Private Equity Partners Inc.
- Raytheon Company
- Southcross Gulf Coast Transmission Ltd.
- Southwest Agri-Plastics Inc.
- The Staubach Company
- Trane Inc.
- Vaisala Oyj
Examples of Mr. Florence’s experience include the following:
- Representing Longview Energy Company in a usurpation of corporate opportunity action against two of its directors and related parties in connection with oil & gas leases in the Eagle Ford shale. A judgment was entered in favor of the client with an estimated value in excess of $500 million. The judgment orders the defendants to convey approximately 46,000 Eagle Ford leasehold acres to the client and to pay the client $95.5 million for past production.
- In Hackett v. Denton County Electric Cooperative Inc., Mr. Florence represented Denton County Electric Cooperative Inc. in several class action lawsuits and successfully defeated the plaintiffs’ attempt to certify a class seeking to recover $54 million in patronage capital. He also obtained a temporary injunction and assisted the client in thwarting an incumbent director from orchestrating a hostile takeover of the board of directors. On appeal, Gardere reversed the entry of a class certified on governance issues. See Denton County Electric Cooperative Inc. v. Hackett, 368 S.W.3d 765 (Tex. Civ.- Fort Worth 2012, pet. denied).
- Represented the Special Committee of the Board of Directors of American 3CI Complete Compliance Corp. in connection with its investigation into alleged stockholder oppression by its majority stockholder and the resulting litigation against the majority stockholder. The case settled for $32.5 million.
- Represented a European-based company in a post-acquisition dispute against one of Dallas' largest companies. Following a two and one-half week arbitration, the arbitrator awarded approximately $3.7 million to our client.
- Represented a health insurance company (with super attorney Cynthia Kernick) in the defense of a patent infringement action involving computerized information management systems. After obtaining a summary judgment on the infringement claims, the court ruled that the case was exceptional and awarded our client in excess of $5.2 million. See Highmark Inc. v. Allcare Health Management Systems Inc., 711 F.Supp.2d 713 (N.D. Tex. 2010) and 2010 WL 6432945 (N.D. Tex. Nov. 5, 2010).
- Represented a partner in a radiation therapy center against attempts to invoke the forced sale and appraisal provisions of the partnership agreement. If triggered, the forced sale and appraisal provisions would reduce the buyout from fair market value to 90 percent of liquidation value (a multimillion dollar difference). Following a "baseball-style arbitration," the arbitrator found that our client had not breached the partnership agreement, thereby entitling it to receive fair market value for its interest.
- Successfully defended a health plan services company in an arbitration against its former president.
- Representing a subsidiary of Raytheon Company in a breach of a fiduciary duty claim against former employees.
- Represented an individual in a series of cases involving an investor defrauded out of more than $30 million in a complex Ponzi scheme orchestrated by a fraudster now residing in California's state penitentiary. In the latest action, we pursued a money had and received claim against a recipient of a portion of the stolen funds. Following a trial, the court awarded a judgment in favor of the client in the amount of approximately $1.5 million. The Fort Worth Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment. See H.E.B. LLC v. Ardinger, 369 S.W.3d 496 (Tex. App.- Fort Worth 2012).
- Representing Denton County Electric Cooperative Inc. in a fiduciary duty claim against a current director. Following a hotly contested hearing, the court enjoined the director from misusing corporate member information in his campaign to take over the board.
- Represented Brach’s Confections Inc. and Barry Callebaut AG R in a case involving tortious interference, trade secret and business disparagement claims and involving damage claims exceeding $80 million. Following a successful defense of Brach’s Confections Inc. in an injunction hearing and after prevailing in a jurisdictional challenge on behalf of Barry Callebaut AG R, the case was successfully settled on confidential terms.
- Represented LJM2 Liquidation Statutory Trust B in an $80 million plus fraudulent transfer action against LJM2's limited partners. The transfers at issue related to Enron. The case successfully settled on confidential terms.
- Represented a Fortune 500® financial institution in an arbitration dispute against a second Fortune 500® company. The financial institution acquired a chain of banks whose data was processed by a third party processor. The third party processor refused to provide that data except upon payment of a substantial early termination fee. Following arbitration, the arbitrator awarded a multimillion dollar damage award in favor of the client.
- Represented Trane in a case initiated by the Texas Attorney General's Office, alleging $27 million in damages related to breaches of warranties and installation defects. Mr. Florence filed a motion challenging the state’s authority to represent consumers in this quasi-class action proceeding. For the first time, a court ruled that the Texas Attorney General did not have authority—despite the fact that the state was acting pursuant to a Texas statute and despite the fact that the state had been pursing claims of this ilk for at least 20 years. Shortly thereafter, the Texas Attorney General dismissed its claims against Trane. No consideration was paid. The same result was obtained in a parallel class action lawsuit.
- Represented Heeling Sports Limited in various patent and trademark actions against Aldi, Burberry, General Growth, Kohl's, Elan Polo and others.
- Represented Voyager Expanded Learning in a significant copyright infringement and trade secret arbitration involving computer software. Mr. Florence was retained on the eve of arbitration. Following a two-week arbitration, the case successfully settled on confidential terms.
- Represented Earth Tool Company in a patent infringement case. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Earth Tool’s summary judgment, New Railhead Manufacturing LLC v. Vermeer Manufacturing Company, et al., 298 F.3d 1290 (Fed. Cir. 2002), on the basis that the plaintiff’s provisional application failed to meet the written description requirement. As a result, numerous pre-critical date sales invalidated the plaintiff’s patent. The Federal Circuit's opinion is the first appellate opinion construing the scope of the written description requirement as it relates to provisional patent applications and has been the subject of CLE courses across the country.
- Retained in the middle of a series of lawsuits involving a Canadian-based cosmetic company. The claims included business disparagement and patent lawsuits pending in federal court in Dallas; an arbitration proceeding in Canada involving a joint venture dispute; as well as related cases involving trademark disputes in Japan, patent litigation in Australia, and an employee raiding lawsuit in Florida. Following a Markman hearing, the cases successfully settled on confidential terms.
- Served as lead counsel for University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a world-renowned research institute, in a patent infringement action relating to a technique for detecting in-flight air turbulence. Ultimately, UCAR agreed to drop its counterclaims in exchange for a perpetual, royalty-free worldwide license that cleared the way to resume testing of this technique on aircraft across the country.
- J.D., Baylor Law School, cum laude (1987)
- B.A., Austin College, with honors (1984)
Publications and Speeches
- Co-Author with Randy D. Gordon, Protecting Fiduciary Duty, Gardere Corp. Alert, Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, Aug. 2, 2012.
- Co-Author with Randy D. Gordon, Corporate Governance Problems Facing the Energy Sector, Oil & Gas Fin. J., July 19, 2012.
- Co-Author with Sam Joyner, Non-Performance of Contractual Obligations Resulting from the Restricted Credit Market: Is There a Way Out? 25 Tex. Law., June 1, 2009.
- Co-Author with Richard O. Faulk, Financial Crisis: Range of Defendants May Be Limited, Nat'l L.J. (April 20, 2009).
- Author, Trial Structure and Conduct, 5th Circuit Fed. Prac. Guide.
- Author, The Texas Homestead and Condominium Assessments, 38 Baylor L. Rev. 987.
- Moderator, Seventh Annual General Counsel Panel for D/FW Chapter of Association of Corporate Counsel (April 11, 2013).
- Speaker, Dr. Kenneth Street Law Symposium at Austin College, Views from the Bench and Bar - A Discussion of Ethics, Professionalism and the Practice of Law: Legal and Governance Issues for Officers and Directors (Feb. 26, 2013).
- Speaker, Gardere Litigation Toolbox: Alternative Dispute Resolution - Mediation and Arbitration (Oct. 3, 2012).
- Speaker, Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP eSolutions Webinar: Practical Advice to Board Members Concerning Their Fiduciary Duties (Sept. 19, 2012).
- Moderator, Fifth Annual General Counsel Panel for D/FW Chapter of Association of Corporate Counsel (Feb. 24, 2011).
- Panelist, Texas Lawyer Roundtable Series: The Financial Crisis - Riding Out the Storm (May 14, 2009) (remarks reprinted in 25:12 Tex. Law., June 22, 2009).
- Moderator, Third Annual General Counsel Panel for D/FW Chapter of Association of Corporate Counsel (May 5, 2009).
- Moderator, Andrews Publications: Déjà Vu All Over Again: Legal Issues Arising from the 2008 Financial Crisis (Oct. 30, 2008).
- Former Adjunct Professor, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.
- Admitted to practice before:
- Texas State Courts
- U.S. District Courts for all districts of Texas
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th and Federal Circuits
- Member, State Bar of Texas
- Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
- Member, The William 'Mac' Taylor American Inn of Court
- Former Chair, Aid to the Homeless Committee, Dallas Bar Association
Honors and Awards
- Selected in Texas Super Lawyers, Law & Politics Media Inc. as published in Texas Monthly (each year since 2006)
- Recognized, AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell® PEER REVIEW RATINGS™
- Member, Austin College President's Advisory Council
- Former Member, Dallas Citizens Council
- Former Member and Officer, Austin College Alumni Board
- Former Member, Board of Trustees, Preservation Dallas
- Graduate, Dallas Regional Chamber®, Leadership Dallas
- Former Chairman and Board Member, Carter BloodCare
- Former Co-Chair, Jingle Bell Run
- Former Co-Chair, Dallas Loft Tour
- Honorary Board Member, Briana Haley Foundation