Reagan W. Simpson

Partner
Contact
rsimpson@yettercoleman.com
713.632.8075 | Houston, Texas
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Professional Summary

Reagan’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and appeals in the areas of tort, personal injury, and commercial torts.  He is a Fellow of both the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, a distinction that has been obtained by only a small number of practicing lawyers in the United States.  Reagan is also an Advocate-level member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and a member of the American Law Institute.

Reagan is admitted to practice in all state courts in Texas, all state courts in Illinois, the United States Supreme Court, United States Courts of Appeals for the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits, and the United States District Courts for the Southern, Northern, Western, and Eastern Districts of Texas, Central District of Illinois, and the Northern District of Florida.

Representative Experience
  • In re Deepwater Horizon  Successfully argued on behalf of Transocean, as well as its insurers, to the Texas Supreme Court that BP is not entitled, by virtue of additional insured provisions in the drilling contract and insurance policies, to claim $750 million of Transocean’s insurance coverage for BP’s liability for subsea pollution arising out of the Deepwater Horizon Macondo well explosion and oil spill.
  • Illinois Asbestos Litigation  Succeeded as a trial and appellate lawyer in reversing the course of asbestos conspiracy litigation in Illinois, which had cost the firm’s client many millions of dollars over decades of litigation. Reagan won five appeals in that litigation. In two opinions, the Illinois Court of Appeals, Fifth District, reversed a $2 million award and a $4 million award, rendering a take-nothing judgment in favor of the Firm’s client. In the first of those cases, the Court issued a landmark opinion that no duty was owed in a household exposure case, as well as holding that there was no evidence of a conspiracy. In another case, Reagan obtained a JNOV in favor of the client following a $99.6 million verdict, and that ruling was then upheld on appeal. Following these multiple appellate victories, more than 80 summary judgments in state and federal courts in Illinois have been obtained.
  • TXI Transportation Co. v. Hughes  Represented a trucking company in securing a ruling in the court of appeals that reversed the award of $6.6 million to exemplary damages in this case arising from a car-truck collision that resulted in four deaths. In the Texas Supreme Court, the remainder of the case was reversed, including the award of $15.7 million in compensatory damages. The Supreme Court held that a new trial was required because of the trial court’s erroneous admission of inflammatory evidence about the immigration status of the truck driver, who had a good driving record and a Texas commercial drivers’ license. Assisted in the second trial which resulted in a defense verdict.
  • Sneed v. Webre  Successfully represented an individual shareholder and board member of a family-run mining company before the Texas Supreme Court in connection with a shareholder derivative suit that had been dismissed in district court for lack of standing and then reversed by the court of appeals.  The Supreme Court agreed with our client’s position that the Texas Legislature removed the many procedural hurdles and standing requirements that must ordinarily be met when bringing a derivative claim if the claim is brought on behalf of a closely-held corporation.
  • Obtained a landmark ruling from the Texas Supreme Court in a church property case, Masterson v. Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, the first such ruling by that court since 1909. Representing an Episcopal Church in west Texas, obtained confirmation from the court that Texas applies neutral principles in deciding disputes between church factions seeking control over church property after a doctrinal split.
  • Successfully obtained mandamus relief for Valero Refining in discovery disputes with two property appraisal districts that were seeking Valero’s highly sensitive financial information. The appraisal districts claimed that the information was needed in applying the income method of valuing real property where Valero’s refineries were located. In both instances, the First Court of Appeals held that the district courts had committed an abuse of discretion in ordering discovery because two alternative valuation methods were available, neither of which required disclosure of Valero’s trade secrets.
Professional Honors & Affiliations
  • Member:  American Law Institute
  • Fellow:  American Academy of Appellate Lawyers;  American College of Trial Lawyers and past Chair of the College’s Federal Legislation Committee; American, Texas, and Houston Bar Foundations
  • Advocate:  American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), past President of the Houston ABOTA Chapter, and past Member of Board of the Texas State Chapter of ABOTA
  • Board Certified in Civil Trial Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, since 1985
  • Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, since 1988
  • 2016 & 2010 Houston Appellate Lawyer of the Year and 2013 Austin Appellate Lawyer of the Year, The Best Lawyers in America®
  • Best Lawyers in America® in the areas of Appellate, Commercial Litigation, Energy Law and Personal Injury Defense Litigation
  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Business Lawyers in Texas Appellate and Energy and Natural Resources Litigation
  • Texas Super Lawyer" in Appellate; recognized in the Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Houston, and South Texas, and the Top 50 of Central & West Texas Region,  Thomson Reuters
  • Who’s Who in American Law, 1994-1995, 8th Edition (pub. 1993)
Presentations & Publications
  • Special Appearance,” The Advocate, Fall 2015 (co-author)
  • “Effective Amicus Practice,” published by American Bar Association, author of first edition and co-author of the second, third and fourth editions
  • “Modern Civil Discovery,” published by Aspen
  • “Law & Practice of Insurance Coverage Litigation,” published by West Group, first edition co-editor
  • “Considerations in Settling the Underlying Case in Appleman on Insurance Law & Practice,” second edition chapter co-author
  • Articles and papers in numerous journals including the Oklahoma Law Review, St. Mary’s Law Journal, Texas Tech Law Review, the Texas Bar Journal, The Houston Lawyer, and publications of the TIPS Section of the ABA
Education & Professional Background
  • The University of Texas School of Law, J.D., High Honors, 1977
  • The University of Texas, B.A, Highest Honors, 1974
  • Law Clerk to the Hon. Thomas Gibbs Gee, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit 1977-78
  • Admitted to practice: Texas,1977, Illinois, 2014