April L. Farris
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. She previously served as an Assistant Solicitor General for the State of Texas.
As an experienced appellate litigator, April knows that she best serves the client by being helpful to the court. Her briefs blend compelling factual story-telling with sharp legal analysis, crafted in the belief that every brief should be a persuasive and enjoyable read.
April is named a 2020 appellate "Rising Star" by Law360 and a "Texas Rising Star" by Thomson Reuters' Super Lawyers. She is a prolific public speaker on appellate practice and litigation trends and has spoken at advanced trial and appellate courses throughout the state, as well as at Harvard Law School. April recently completed a three-year term on the Council of the Texas State Bar Appellate Section. She also co-chairs the Appellate Section’s CLE Committee. April is also the president of the Federalist Society’s Houston Lawyers Chapter.
- America’s Collectibles Network v. Sterling Commerce. Obtained Sixth Circuit victory on issue of duplicative damages, saving client IBM over $25 million.
- iPic-Gold Class Entertainment, LLC v. AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. Obtained appellate reversal of summary judgment on behalf of iPic in antitrust lawsuit against AMC. iPic alleges that AMC engaged in illegal horizontal conspiracy to crush iPic in the Houston market.
- City of Conroe v. San Jacinto River Auth. Obtained a key procedural victory in the Texas Supreme Court on behalf of the San Jacinto River Authority in its dispute with three cities over contracts that secure $500 million in public bonds. The Court agreed with SJRA that it can use the Expedited Declaratory Judgment Act’s fast-track procedure to decide whether the contracts between SJRA and its 80+ participants are valid and binding.
- Occidental Energy Marketing, Inc. v. West Texas LPG Pipeline, L.P. Obtained a favorable appellate interpretation of contract on behalf of West Texas LPG Pipeline in a contract dispute valued at over $10 million.
- 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.
- Estate of O’Hern v. Mughrabi. Achieved appellate reversal of order denying TCPA motion as to live portion of fiduciary-duty breach claim. Claim sought to penalize former HOA members for exercising their free-speech rights.
- In re Valero Ref. Assisted in successful mandamus actions on behalf of client Valero Refining. Actions involved discovery disputes with property appraisal districts that were seeking production of Valero’s sensitive financial information in order to appraise refinery properties using the income method of appraisal.
- Fulcrum Credit Partners LLC v. Strategic Capital Resources, Inc. Argued jury charge and drafted key evidentiary motions in federal court trial for breach of contract resulting from a collapsed sale for bankruptcy claims. Trial culminated in an award of nearly $2 million for plaintiff client. Award was named one of the top 15 Texas contract verdicts for 2011 by VerdictSearch.
- PEMEX Exploracion y Produccion v. Murphy Energy Corp. Assisted in dismissal of federal suit brought by Mexico's state-owned petroleum company against client ConocoPhillips on summary judgment. Case involved claims that Mexican drug cartels were stealing condensate from Pemex and selling it through various intermediaries into the United States. Dismissal was affirmed by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- McCune v. Graco Children’s Prods. Responsible for defense-side error preservation, jury charge composition, and drafting Rule 50(a) motions in two-week federal trial on plaintiff's $25-million product liability claims. Jury found no liability.
- Sampson v. University of Texas at Austin. Prevailed in Texas Supreme Court case on behalf of the University of Texas at Austin in Tort Claims Act case brought by professor.
- Berry v. Texas Democratic Party. Argued and won a case of first impression on behalf of the Texas Secretary of State regarding the scope of the Texas Election Code's limited waiver of sovereign immunity for suits for primary election expenses.
- "Appellate Rising Star," Law360, 2020
- 2019 Gutenberg Award, Abilene Christian University
- "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, 2014-2018
- Board Member: Abilene Christian University Alumni Bar Association, 2016-2017
- Director: Civil Appellate Practice 101 Annual Course, 2016
- Life Fellow: Texas Bar Foundation
- Garland R. Walker Inn of Court
- "Contract Performance During Pandemic: Lessons From 1918," Law360, April 17, 2020 (co-author)
- "Texas-Style Appeal for Litigation Finance - Monetizing Claims Even While Case Drags On," Texas Lawyer, November 14, 2019 (co-author)
- “Texas Anti-SLAPP Overview," 42nd Annual Advanced Civil Trial Course, 2019 (moderator)
- “Changes to Motion to Dismiss Procedure in Texas,” Business Disputes Annual Course, 2019 (panelist)
- “Texas Citizens Participation Act and Anti-SLAPP: Hand Grenade or Rifle Shot?” Advanced Civil Appellate Practice Course, 2019 (panelist)
- “Texas Supreme Court Update,” State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting, June 2019
- “How TCPA Motions to Dismiss Have Changed Texas Litigation: UT Law CLE Webcast, March 2019 (co-presenter)
- “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 TCPA: It’s Big. It’s Broad. Where Does It End?” Houston Bar Association Appellate Section, 2018 (co-presenter)
- "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
- 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