Chris Dodson divides his trial practice between complex commercial litigation and environmental litigation. He maintains an active commercial trial docket and also chairs Bracewell’s environmental litigation practice group. Chris has particular experience handling high-stakes, high-profile disputes. He represents both plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal courts across the country. Chris’ clients range from Fortune 500 businesses to high net-worth individuals, including well-known companies such as Waste Management, Inc., Baker Hughes, Concho Resources, Ursa Resources, Vopak North America and Wortham Insurance.
His recent litigation victories have attracted media attention as well as peer-recognition. In 2015, he was named the Texas “Litigator of the Week” by Texas Lawyer for his take-nothing judgement in a $25 million commercial dispute. In 2014, his defense of an environmental enforcement action was called “one of the greatest defense victories in Texas history” by The Texas Lawbook. In 2013, Chris obtained a take-nothing judgment in West Virginia rejecting—for the first time—a causal link between fracking and groundwater contamination.
In recognition of his courtroom achievements, he has been named to Benchmark Litigation's exclusive Under 40 Hotlist (2016-2017), named a Texas Super Lawyers Rising Star for four years running (2014-2017), and recommended in The Legal 500 United States for Energy Litigation (2016-2017). A native Houstonian, Chris has practiced with Bracewell for his entire legal career.
Recent Notable Matters
Post Oak Clean Green, Inc. — Guadalupe County Groundwater Conservation District v. Post Oak Clean Green, Inc., No. 04-15-00433-CV (Tex. App.—San Antonio Apr. 6 2016). As lead Bracewell attorney, obtained complete dismissal of lawsuit brought by local groundwater district against a landfill developer.
Vopak North America, Inc. — Raizen North America, Inc. v. Vopak North America, Inc. As lead attorney, represented Vopak North America in defense of $25 million breach of contract and fraud allegations. After three years of litigation, obtained complete dismissal on eve of trial.
Waste Management, Inc. — In re San Jacinto River Impoundment Litigation. Led the Bracewell team defending a publicly traded waste disposal company in a multi-billion dollar environmental enforcement action and attendant mass tort lawsuits. The actions were settled favorably during trial in Harris County, Texas.
Baker Hughes Incorporated — Hagy v. BJ Services, No. 12-1926 (4th Cir. 2013). Represented BJ Services as lead associate in litigation brought by land owners in West Virginia claiming groundwater contamination and personal injuries from fracking and drilling activities. The district court dismissed all claims against defendants on summary judgment and, in the first federal circuit court decision addressing fracking, the summary judgment dismissal was affirmed for lack of causation.
Vopak North America, Inc. — Vopak North America et al. v. Intercontin'l Terminals Co. and Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc., 354 S.W.3d 887 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2011). Represented Vopak, a worldwide operator of tank storage terminals, as lead associate in high-stakes litigation against a competitor seeking to restrict Vopak's railroad access into and out of its flagship terminal on the Houston Ship Channel. After numerous successful temporary injunction hearings spanning multiple days, more than 35 depositions, and defeating defendants' motions for summary judgment, the case settled favorably on the eve of trial.
Cameron International — MC International Research v. Cameron International. Represented Cameron as lead associate in AAA arbitration proceeding concerning a licensing and development agreement. Case settled favorably after summary judgment hearing before arbitration panel.
Baker Hughes Incorporated — Terra Nova Sciences v. JOA Oil and Gas, 738 F. Supp.2d 689 (S.D. Tex. 2010). Defended a Baker Hughes-affiliated company as lead associate in theft of trade secrets case. The case settled favorably following significant pre-answer opinions and deposition of plaintiffs' corporate representatives.
WCW International — Scancom et al. v. WCW International et al., 2009 WL 958725 (S.D. Tex. 2009). Represented defendants as lead associate in expedited shareholder dispute brought by a large Ghanaian-based telecommunications company. Plaintiffs' request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on the basis of the All Writs Act was denied after a multi-day hearing, and then denied by the Fifth Circuit. Plaintiffs then dismissed their case.
Flatrolled Steel — Flatrolled Steel v. BAI Automation. Represented steel company as lead associate in breach of contract and fraud litigation in the Central District of California against a software provider. Case settled on the eve of trial following favorable pretrial rulings.
Helzberg Diamonds — Helzberg Diamonds v. Bailey, Banks & Biddle. Represented Helzberg Diamonds as lead associate in trade secrets litigation against competing jewelry retailer. Case settled favorably after depositions of defendant's executives.
Bank of New York Mellon — Tall Timbers Apartments v. Bank of New York Mellon. Represented The Bank of New York Mellon as lead associate in litigation concerning a mortgage servicing agreement. Case settled favorably after filing of motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Acorn Systems — Acorn Systems v. SAP. Represented Acorn Systems in Houston and Belgium as lead associate in litigation against SAP concerning an alleged breach of a licensing agreement. Case settled favorably after jurisdiction was determined to be appropriate in Houston, Texas.
TJR Partnership — Chesson et al. v. TJR Partnership et al., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31782 (S.D. Tex. 2006). As lead trial counsel, represented real estate developers in numerous lawsuits brought by hundreds of property owners in Liberty County, Grimes County, and Montgomery County, Texas alleging construction defects and fraud. While most of the claims were dismissed on summary judgment, the remaining claims were dismissed as a matter of law following a jury trial as lead trial counsel in the Southern District of Texas (Hittner, J.).
Progress Rail — VAE Nortrak v. Progress Rail Services, 459 F. Supp. 2d 1142 (N.D. Ala. 2006). Represented Progress Rail, a manufacturer of railroad track components, as associate obtaining summary judgment dismissing patent infringement claims.
Equus Total Return — lead associate in shareholder litigations. Litigations settled favorably after the filing of dispositive motions.
H-E-B Grocery Company — lead counsel in real estate and construction disputes
Weingarten Realty — lead associate and lead counsel in landlord-tenant and other real estate disputes
John L. Wortham & Son — insurance disputes as lead counsel