R. Paul Yetter
Paul Yetter’s practice reflects a broad range of commercial trial expertise focused on three areas: antitrust/securities, intellectual property, and contract/business torts. Representing plaintiffs as often as defendants, he has a variety of clients in the energy, technology, finance, aviation, and other industries. As lead counsel, he has prosecuted and defended lawsuits and arbitrations around the country, including in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, as well as appeals in many federal and state appellate courts. He often works with respected co-counsel from large firms and boutiques alike.
Among Paul's valued skills are developing case strategy and leading trials. Whether involved early on or brought in late, as clients regularly do, he comes up with winning approaches to tough cases. In recent years, he has led trial teams that have defeated at least ten 9- or 10-figure damages suits against the firm’s defense clients. He also has directed trial teams that won five 9-figure verdicts or settlements for our plaintiff clients, all of which were collected or affirmed on appeal (with one appeal pending). His trademark approach involves simplifying complex disputes into powerful trial stories and tailoring presentations to most effectively educate and persuade the decision-maker – whether a juror, judge, or arbitrator. In this age of shrinking trial dockets, he is in trial in state and federal courts in Texas and around the country several times a year, which allows him and his teams to continually perfect their creative, strategic, and seamless approach to advocacy.
Paul is active outside of the courtroom as well. He chairs statewide groups that promote the funding, education, and resources of the Texas state judiciary. He is admitted to practice before all state and federal courts in Texas, several federal circuit courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He was board certified in civil (and personal injury) trial law by age 32 and is a member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, International Society of Barristers, and American Board of Trial Advocates. He and his wife Patti have seven grown sons.
Representative Plaintiff Matters
- iFLY v. ISA. Won a full-liability ICDR arbitration award for the leading indoor skydiving company against its Australian licenses, enforcing exclusive supply agreements and defeating antitrust defenses.
- Hardesty. Won a unanimous $107 million jury verdict in California for two mining families who alleged that the County of Sacramento violated their civil rights by improperly shutting down their gravel mine at the urging of a large competitor (#21 U.S. verdict of 2017).
- iPic v. Regal. Won a landmark injunction against the nation’s largest movie theater chain for predatory conduct against our boutique theater client under the Texas antitrust act; affirmed on appeal.
- Confidential. Secured a $26.5 million settlement for a jilted business partner, shortly after jury voir dire.
- FDIC v. Morgan Stanley. Secured $24 million on the eve of trial for the FDIC in a securities suit against a major Wall Street bank (#1 Texas disclosed settlement of 2015).
- MM Steel v. Reliance Steel. Won a unanimous jury verdict and $160 million judgment in a horizontal group boycott case for a start-up steel distributor (#12 U.S. verdict of 2014), affirmed on appeal.
- In re Wells Fargo. Obtained $15 million settlement for unpaid overtime for a nationwide class of mortgage loan officers.
- Business Logic v. Morningstar. Secured $61 million on the eve of trial for a small software firm (#1 Illinois trade-secrets settlement of 2014).
- L.C. Eldridge v. Azen Mfg. Won a unanimous jury verdict of patent infringement of oilfield technology, validity, willfulness, and full damages (#4 Texas IP verdict of 2013).
- American Airlines v. Sabre. Helped airline settle its antitrust case in trial for at least $235 million from the largest U.S. ticket distribution system, which tried to stop the airline from using its own system.
- Doctors Hosp. v. Beasley Ins. Won a unanimous $32.5 million jury verdict for our Fortune 50 client in an insurance dispute involving a healthcare facility (#1 Texas non-IP federal verdict of 2010).
- GeoMet v. Consol. Secured major new gas reserves for our client in settlement of antitrust claims in Virginia involving pipeline access.
- Equatorial Tonopah v. Kvaerner. Won a unanimous $136 million jury verdict in Nevada against a global engineering firm for bad advice on a failed copper mine, with our client recovering $116 million (#14 U.S. verdict of 2004).
- In re Peregrine Sys. Headed a special investigation into misconduct by software executives, leading to California litigation recovering over $100 million for injured investors.
- American Airlines v. FareChase. Won the first cyber-trespass trial in Texas, securing an injunction that protected our client’s online pricing.
Representative Defense Matters
- Smith v. Southwestern Energy. Won a no-liability jury verdict in Arkansas against a class action of 12,000 landowners who sought $300 million for alleged royalty underpayments; affirmed on appeal.
- Swift Energy v. Energy Transfer. Won a key MSJ in South Texas dismissing a $145 million claim over oil/gas production allegedly impacted by our client's H2S injection well; largely affirmed on appeal.
- Confidential. Settled a partnership dispute over control of a leading energy company, securing our client’s right to acquire interests in a massive LNG plant valued at $125 million.
- In re Smart Meters Patent Litig. Won a key MSJ in Oklahoma against claims over smart-meter technology, leading to a no-payment dismissal of our power company client.
- Supkis v. The Methodist Hospital. Won a no-liability jury verdict for a healthcare client in a physician’s whistleblower retaliation case.
- Berge Helene v. GE Oil & Gas. Won a take-nothing judgment after a five-week trial for our oilfield client against $59 million warranty claims relating to offshore gas compression technology.
- Neon Enterprise v. IBM. Helped secure a no-payment dismissal for our major mainframe client in a $16 billion suit over disputed software.
- City of San Antonio v. NRG Energy. Won a $3 billion expedited bench trial over rights of our client’s partner to stop funding construction of a new U.S. nuclear plant; filing to trial lasted only six weeks.
- Canatxx v. GE Power. Won a take-nothing judgment for our client in a $1 billion trial and arbitration over a failed U.K. power plant project.
- Whipstock Services v. Smith Int’l. Won a MSJ against patent claims by a competitor concerning undersea oilfield technology.
- Confidential. Won an arbitration allowing our healthcare client to keep and use over $100 million in charitable funds.
- Woolley v. VistaPrint. Won a no-payment dismissal of an MDL proceeding over alleged Internet cramming sales practices.
- Abney v. BHA Group. Secured a favorable eve-of-trial settlement of a mass action in Alabama involving race discrimination claims.
- ASARCO v. Augusta Resources. Protected client’s Arizona copper deposits against bankruptcy claims, allowing later sale for $670 million.
Representative Public Interest Matters
- M.D. v. Abbott. Won an historic federal verdict after trial, finding that Texas violates the civil rights of 12,000 foster children; upheld on appeal on key issues of overloaded case workers and poor oversight.
- Habitat for Humanity. Secured a no-payment dismissal for the global organization against an ownership suit by another charitable entity claiming to own the world-renowned “Habitat” name.
- Fellow: International Academy of Trial Lawyers
- Fellow: International Society of Barristers
- Advocate: American Board of Trial Advocates
- 2019 Karen H. Susman Jurisprudence Award, Anti-Defamation League
- 2018 Friend of the Judiciary, Judicial Section, Texas Bar Association
- 2016 Texas Attorney of the Year, Texas Lawyer
- 2004 Top Ten Winning Lawyers, National Law Journal
- Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers in Texas as a Top Trial Lawyer, and in Antitrust, Commercial, and Energy & Natural Resources Litigation
- Best Lawyers in America® in Antitrust, Appellate, Commercial, Intellectual Property, and Securities Litigation
- Best Lawyers in America® 2020 Houston Antitrust Litigation Lawyer of the Year
- "Texas Super Lawyer" in Business Litigation, Thomson Reuters
- Chair: Alliance Judicial Funding Inc., a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that assists the legislative efforts of the state judiciary
- Chair: Texas Judicial Foundation, which helps fund state judicial continuing legal education programs
- Former Member: S.D. Tex. Committee on Admissions
- Former Chair: State Judiciary Relations Committee, for which service he received the Bar’s Presidential Citation Award
- Former Member: Funding Parity Task Force of the Texas Commission on Judicial Efficiency
- "Winning at Pretrial," Univ. of Tex. Civil Litig. Conf., 2018
- "Royalty Class Action Trial: Lessons Learned," Inst. for Energy Law Conf., 2018
- "Diversity & Inclusion: Important Role of Allies," State Bar of Tex., 2018
- "DOJ v. AT&T/Time Warner & Future of Antitrust Enforcement," State Bar of Tex., 2018
- "Art of Business Litig.," Texas Lawyer, 2014-15, 2017
- "Initiating Litig.," State Bar of Tex., 2015, 2017
- "Antitrust Chapter," Texas Business Litigation, ALM Media, 2014-17
- "Impact of Dukes on Empl. Law Class Actions & FLSA Actions," State Bar of Tex., 2013
- "Five Ways To Win Patent Litig.," GE Views & News, 2012
- Columbia University, J.D. (Dean's Council, 2008 - Present)
- University of Texas at El Paso, B.A. (Distinguished Alumnus, 2008; Distinguished Alumnus, College of Business, 2005)
- Law Clerk to The Hon. John R. Brown, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- Baker Botts LLP, Partner, 1990-1997
- Board Certified in Civil Trial Law (1990-present) and Personal Injury Trial Law (1990-2000), Texas Board of Legal Specialization