John W. Clay
Pennzoil Place—South Tower
711 Louisiana, Suite 2150
Houston, TX 77002
John Clay has a diverse legal practice advising and representing individuals and multi-national corporations in complex litigation disputes. He is a skilled litigator with first-chair commercial trial and arbitration experience, and has represented clients in multiple areas of litigation including engineering design and construction litigation, civil RICO litigation, class action and multidistrict litigation proceedings, investment disputes, energy litigation, complex contractual disputes, cross-border litigation, transportation liability defense, and employment litigation.
Mr. Clay has represented clients in multiple lawsuits at the state and federal court level and in domestic and international arbitrations. His experience extends to cross-border commercial litigation, including representation of Latin American corporations in state and federal court proceedings. His proficiency in simplifying and presenting complex legal and technical issues has enabled him to successfully represent clients in jury and bench trials, evidentiary hearings and appeals, including a civil RICO jury verdict that resulted in a $112 million judgment.
Mr. Clay served for a year as a law clerk for the United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, and served for two years as a task force staff attorney for the First Court of Appeals in Houston. He has participated in multiple appellate proceedings in private practice in addition to his trial practice.
- University of Houston, J.D., cum laude, 1996
- Note & Comment Editor, University of Houston Law Review
- Order of the Barons
- Rice University, B.A. Classical Studies, 1993
- National Merit Finalist
- Texas, 1996
- All Texas State Courts
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
- Represented a minority investor in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against majority investors in a joint venture that produces and sells the small batch, luxury sipping tequila Casa Dragones. The majority investors in the company sold a controlling interest to a new investment firm, “dragging along” our client’s shares to the new controlling shareholder. Our firm filed suit in Delaware Chancery Court proving that the majority investors had wrongfully and improperly interpreted and asserted the drag-along provision, as well as other provisions of the Shareholders Agreement, and the attempted exercise of such drag-along provision was, void and unenforceable.
- Represented expert witness in effort to address and overturn federal district court findings regarding expert’s causation testimony in securities arbitration, resulting in Fifth Circuit appellate opinion completely vacating adverse findings.
- Won a record $112,119,005 jury verdict — the largest in United States history — after a three-week trial in a case brought under civil RICO against defendants who conspired to extort money from our corporate client and then tamper with trial witnesses.
- Successfully defeated claim for $2.8 million in attorneys’ fees in a cross-border dispute, resulting in no recovery of fees by opposing party.
- Won arbitration award of over $7 million in damages, attorneys’ fees, and pre- and post-judgment interest in a three week arbitration of claims for the distribution of partnership units.
- Won a jury verdict of more than $5 million for a manufacturer in a trial involving product defect claims.
- Represented an energy company in a lawsuit for economic loss and physical damage, resulting in a substantial settlement for the client.
- Successfully represented the owner of an oil and gas mineral interest in litigation with a joint operator.
- Obtained summary judgment on all claims against a transportation company in connection with a multiple fatality accident.
- Successfully represented a manufacturing company in an appeal from a personal injury claim regarding an employee of a staffing company.
- Advised commercial litigants in multiple mandamus proceedings.
- Represented employers in proceedings that resulted in favorable administrative decisions.
- Completed complex risk assessments and choice of law analyses for the board of directors of a major corporation, involving a transaction in excess of $1 billion.
- Evaluated SEC disclosure obligations for executive compensation plans.
- Conducted risk assessments for corporations in connection with work-related fatalities and alleged premises defects.
- Performed due diligence background investigations for executive officers.
- Assisted corporations in compliance with:
- SEC reporting regulations;
- State securities regulations; and
- Gaming industry regulations.
PUBLICATIONS, SPEECHES AND PRESENTATIONS
- Co-Author, “Commentary: Help for Securities Fraud Plaintiffs Seeking Class Certification,” Texas Lawyer, July 2011
- Author, “An Explosion of Litigation: BP and Deepwater Horizon,” ABA’s Energy Litigation Newsletter, August 2010
OTHER ATTORNEY EXPERIENCE
- Task-Force Staff Attorney for the Honorable F. Lee Duggan, Jr., Court of Appeals for the First Supreme Judicial District of Texas (1999-2001)
- Associate, Baker Botts LLP (1997-1999)
- Chief Justice Edith H. Jones, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
MEMBERSHIPS AND COMMUNITY
- Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit
- American Bar Association
- State Bar of Texas
- Houston Bar Association
- Texas Super Lawyer 2012-2020