April L. Farris

713.632.8076 | Houston, Texas
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Professional Summary

April represents clients in high-stakes matters including contract disputes, business torts, Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) procedure, and government-law issues. She has argued and won cases for her clients in the Fifth Circuit, the Sixth Circuit, and Texas courts of appeals. Her advice on brief craftsmanship appears in the Winning on Appeal appellate treatise, and she gives frequent presentations on legal issues.

As an experienced appellate litigator, April knows that her role is to be helpful to the court. She treats her briefs as works of craftsmanship, blending compelling factual story-telling with sharp legal analysis. She believes that every brief should be a persuasive and enjoyable read, never a slog.

April brings to her client representation the skills and experience that she honed as an assistant solicitor general for the State of Texas. Her agency clients included the Texas Secretary of State, the University of Texas at Austin, the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners, and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

April currently serves a three-year term on the Council of the Texas State Bar Appellate Section. She is also co-chair of the Appellate Section’s Government Appellate Lawyers committee. She is admitted to practice in Texas, the U.S. District Courts of Texas, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, and Federal circuits, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Representative Experience
  • O’Hern v. Mughrabi  Successfully achieved a Texas Anti-SLAPP appellate victory for a group of former volunteer board members for a condominium homeowner association after a disgruntled former board member sued them for breach of fiduciary duty in connection with a repair dispute. The Fourteenth Court of Appeals held that Texas’s powerful anti-SLAPP statute—the Texas Citizens Participation Act—required this breach claim to be dismissed with respect to all live damage categories.  The Court further held that the claim was moot with respect to the remaining damages that the plaintiff had tried to recover. The ruling reflects a strong example of the TCPA fulfilling its purpose of preventing meritless lawsuits from being used to chill the right of civic participation.
  • Occidental Energy Marketing, Inc. v. West Texas LPG Pipeline, L.P. Obtained a favorable ruling on appeal affirming West Texas’s tariff interpretation that, by providing the required monthly notices, West Texas is deemed to have satisfied in full all of the responsibilities and obligations about which Oxy complained. Occidental claimed that West Texas was responsible for resolving a $14 million NGL imbalance.
  • Confidential Client Won total TCPA dismissal of million-dollar lawsuit against energy client for breach of contract and quantum meruit. Trial court awarded our client full attorney fees, conditional appellate fees, and sanctions.
  • San Jacinto River Authority Successfully defended SJRA against mandamus and appeal disputing the Expedited Declaratory Judgement Act’s applicability to SJRA’s declaratory Judgement claims. SJRA seeks declarations that certain contracts securing $500 million in public bonds are legal and valid.
  • DTM Assets, LP et al. v. FDNM, Inc. Procured settlement in favor of plaintiff-appellee client for 99.9% of the supersedeas bond amount on the eve of case submission. Briefing demonstrated trial-stage waiver of appellant's primary appellate point.
  • Phillips v. Pneumo Abex Achieved affirmation of defense verdict in Fourth Circuit mesothelioma appeal.
Professional Honors & Affiliations
  • "Texas Rising Star," in Appellate by Thomson Reuters' Super Lawyers, 2017-2019
  • Council Member: Texas State Bar Appellate Section, 2016-2019
  • Committee Chair: Government Appellate Lawyers’ Committee, State Bar of Texas Appellate Section, 2014-2017
  • Board Member:  Abilene Christian University Alumni Bar Association, 2016
  • Director: Civil Appellate Practice 101 Annual Course, 2016
  • Fellow: Texas Bar Foundation
  • Life Fellow: Houston Bar Foundation
Presentations & Publications
  • “The TCPA: An Across-the-Board Game Changer,” Dallas Bar Association Appellate Section, December 2018
  • "State Anti-SLAPP In Federal Court: An Update From Texas," Law360, November 1, 2018 (co-author)
  • "The Texas Citizens Participation Act: What Every Lawyer Must Know," South Texas Association of Corporate Counsel, Oil & Gas Chapter, 2018 (co-presenter)
  • Gregory S. Coleman Memorial Lecture, Federalist Society Texas Chapters Conference, 2018 (presenter)
  • "Suits Against The Government," State Bar of Texas Advanced Civil Appellate Practice, 2018 (co-author and co-presenter)
  • "Process and Content: Federal Judicial Appointments and Independence of the Judicial Branch," 2018 (moderator)
  • "Model Rule 8.4(g), The ABA’s New Speech Code for Lawyers," Harvard Law School Federalist Society, 2018 (presenter)
  • "Fighting for the Driver's Seat: Who Should Regulate the Rideshare Industry?" Austin Federalist Society (presenter), 2017
  • "The Charge Conference From The Defendant's Perspective," The Advocate, State Bar of Texas Appellate Section, Fall 2016 (co-author)
  • "Sovereign Immunity: The Texas Common Law Doctrine, Its Origins, and Its Modern Applications," Texas Advanced Civil Appellate Practice Course (author and presenter), 2015
  • "The D.C. Circuit Affirms EPA’s Regulation of Greenhouse Gases," Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA, The Advocate, Winter 2012
  • "The ‘Natural’ Aversion: The FDA’s Reluctance to Define a Leading Food-Industry Marketing Claim, and the Pressing Need For a Workable Rule," 65 Food & Drug L.J. 403, 2010, Winner of Food & Drug Law Institute’s H. Thomas Austern Memorial Writing Competition
Education & Professional Background
  • Harvard Law School, J.D. cum laude, 2009 (Managing Editor, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy)
  • Abilene Christian University, B.S., summa cum laude, 2006 (Presidential Scholarship, ACU Board of Trustees Award)
  • Law Clerk to the Hon. Jennifer Walker Elrod, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 2009-2010
  • Admitted to practice: Texas, 2009