Zach ThomasZach Thomas Clark Hill
Zach Thomas focuses his practice on prosecution and defense of complex state and federal court litigation involving the healthcare and oil & gas sectors.
Zach focuses primarily on complex contract disputes and business torts involving healthcare providers, including prosecution of under-reimbursement claims against ERISA welfare benefits plans and defense of providers in partnership disputes, billing fraud, and other matters. He regularly defends healthcare providers in professional liability/medical malpractice litigation and before their state licensing boards, including the Texas Medical Board and Texas State Board of Pharmacy.
He also has significant experience defending oil & gas companies and product manufacturers in cases involving catastrophic failures, industrial accidents, fires, toxic exposure, and other types of personal injury and property damage.
Zach has experience with all aspects of pre-trial, trial, and appellate work, including first-chair trial and appellate counsel experience. He routinely argues every type of motion, handles all phases of discovery, and works closely with clients to find and effectuate strategic solutions. In several cases, he has prepared and argued briefing resulting in dismissal of claims, or the action in its entirety.
As co-lead counsel, after almost four years of litigation, Zach tried a complex breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty claim against a national title company to a jury in federal court. The firm’s client, the lead investor in a new golf condo resort under construction in Mexico, alleged that the title company mishandled its multi-million dollar escrow payment, allowing a criminal actor to abscond with the money. Zach’s team sought actual damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees on behalf of the client. While the jury was deliberating, Zach’s team reached a settlement with the title company that was more than 8 times the amount it had offered in settlement negotiations prior to trial.
After a week-long Harris County jury trial, Zach and his co-counsel obtained a defense verdict on the plaintiff’s $2.2-million breach of contract claim and a favorable verdict for less than 4% of the plaintiff’s alleged quantum meruit/unjust enrichment damages. The plaintiff’s allegation was that the defendant/client had reneged on an agreement to give the plaintiff a lucrative employment position with equity in a joint venture, and that the plaintiff had performed valuable services on behalf of the joint venture. At trial, Zach and his co-counsel used computer forensic evidence to demonstrate that the employment agreement was forged, and the client’s signature was attached to an agreement for which it was never intended. After trial, Zach prepared the appellate brief that resulted in a complete reversal and rendering of the plaintiff’s de minimis quantum meruit and attorneys’ fees award. The case was very contentious and involved multiple interlocutory appeals. It was litigated for almost six years before the jury trial.
Additional trial experience:
- As lead counsel, obtained defense verdict in bench trial in Harris County on behalf of a national non-profit organization in a case in which the plaintiff, a disgruntled former board member and officer, sued for breach of contract and fraud after she was expelled from membership in the organization.
- As lead counsel, obtained defense verdict in bench trial in Harris County on behalf of a national food chain sued for allegedly causing the plaintiff's food poisoning.
- As lead counsel, obtained judgment for full amount of claimed damages plus attorneys' fees and costs on behalf of plaintiff home purchasers in breach of contract and fraud suit against defendant home sellers.
- Davenport v. Adu-Lartey, No. 01-16-00276-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 5274 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] June 8, 2017, no pet. h.) - Prepared appellee's briefing that resulted in affirmance of summary judgment in favor of the appellee orthopedic center in a medical malpractice lawsuit involving allegations of a botched back surgery.
- Marrocco v. Hill, No. 14-14-00137-CV, 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 12848 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] Dec. 22, 2015, no pet.) - Prepared appellant's briefing that resulted in the complete reversal and rendering of the judgment and attorneys' fees award entered against the appellant in a lawsuit involving allegations of breach of contract and quantum meruit/unjust enrichment.
- Muller v. Stewart Title Guar. Co., No. 14-16-00311-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 5600 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] June 20, 2017, no pet.) - Prepared appellant's briefing and argued appeal to the Court of Appeals, seeking reversal of the trial court's orders granting summary judgment and striking a petition in intervention in a case involving allegations of breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.
MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
- In issue of first impression in Texas, prepared successful motion for summary judgment on behalf of national shipping company client, arguing that Texas law, rather than federal common law, controls successor liability issues in state court asbestos exposure case brought pursuant to the Jones Act and general maritime law, and that under Texas law client could not be liable as the successor-in-interest to its predecessor, which was allegedly responsible for the decedent's asbestos exposure.
- Obtained summary judgment and award of attorneys' fees on behalf of owner of two restaurants located at Bush Intercontinental Airport sued by seller of concession assets for more than $350,000 in damages in breach of contract, breach of promissory note, and fraud case.
- Obtained summary judgment on behalf of fire sprinkler installer sued as a third-party defendant by a national sprinkler manufacturer for contribution and indemnity where it was alleged the third-party defendant had negligently altered a dry sprinkler system originally installed by the third-party plaintiff, resulting in a freeze break event that caused over $200,000 in property damage.
- Obtained summary judgment on behalf of woman sued by deceased husband's children for recovery of husband's 401k proceeds, where the couple's prenuptial agreement purported to assign the 401k proceeds to husband's estate, but did not meet the requirements for spousal waiver under the federal ERISA statute.
- Obtained summary judgment for actual damages, attorneys' fees and costs, and pre- and post-judgment interest on behalf of shopping center owner against lessee mattress company in breach of contract lawsuit.
- Obtained summary judgment on behalf of publicly-traded, national hospital chain in medical malpractice lawsuit brought by former patient who claimed to have been administered a drug to which she had a known allergy.
- Obtained summary judgment on behalf of telecommunications company against former customer and customer's principal individually in breach of contract lawsuit involving provision of phone equipment and services to the customer's business.
- Obtained summary judgment in Dallas County for a national trucking company and its independent contractor driver in a personal injury lawsuit involving a serious motor vehicle accident.
DISMISSALS FOR LACK OF PERSONAL JURISDICTION, FORUM NON CONVENIENS, OR OTHER REASONS
- Obtained dismissal for forum non conveniens in favor of a Houston-based well-control equipment auditing, maintenance, and testing company sued by a contractor for personal injuries that allegedly occurred while he was working at a jobsite in Egypt.
- Prepared numerous briefs to the Texas Medical Board, Texas State Board of Pharmacy, and Texas Board of Nursing that resulted in full dismissal of the complaint against a physician, pharmacy, or nurse client.
- Obtained dismissal for forum non conveniens in favor of a subsidiary of a Fortune 5 company and a local oil rig designer accused of negligently operating and defectively designing a fixed oil platform located off the coast of Sakhalin Island, Russia, resulting in injury to a worker aboard the rig.
- Obtained voluntary dismissal after filing a motion to dismiss for forum non conveniens in favor of a local jack-up rig designer in a case involving the collapse of the rig while it was positioning in the Bay of Campeche, allegedly killing two and severely injuring more than a dozen workers.
- Obtained dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction in favor of Australian and French companies accused of negligence in a near-fatal accident at a Fortune 25 company's refinery in Singapore.
- Obtained dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction in favor of numerous foreign entities accused of defectively designing valves and other parts that allegedly caused a large explosion at a PEMEX refinery in Reynosa, Mexico, killing 26 workers.
- Obtained dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction on behalf of a South Dakota trust company that was sued for breach of fiduciary duty as a third-party defendant in a billionaire’s divorce.