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csmyser@skv.com
713.221.2330

 

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Bank of America Center
700 Louisiana, Suite 2300
Houston, Texas 77002

Telephone 713.221.2300
Facsimile 713.221.2320

Mr. Smyser tries and appeals a broad range of complex business and personal injury cases. He represents prominent individuals, companies, and governmental entities in major disputes. He has successfully handled securities fraud class actions, intellectual property disputes, international and domestic arbitrations, breach of contract claims, executive-company employment disputes, high net-worth individual trust and family disputes, legal and medical malpractice claims, individual and mass toxic tort claims, constructions disputes, common law and statutory fraud claims and defamation lawsuits. 

In addition to his extensive trial court experience, Mr. Smyser has briefed and argued appeals at the highest levels of state and federal courts, including the Texas and United States Supreme Court.  He is a member of the American Law Institute.

Yukos and Chevron - Two Lifetimes of Litigation 


Recent Cases

  • In 2014, Craig Smyser and Justin Waggoner won a complete victory for their energy industry client in an International Centre for Dispute Resolution arbitration involving a $2 billion contract. SKV represented an energy company primarily engaged in the Liquefied Natural Gas business in a dispute with one of the world's largest integrated energy companies. The three-member arbitration panel unanimously agreed with SKV's client's positions, rejected all contrary claims, and awarded SKV's client all costs, including SKV's attorney's fees.
  • In 2013, Craig Smyser and Chris Bryan successfully defended a $4 billion public company in a shareholder derivative and class action suit arising out of a much-publicized potential $100 million severance obligation to its former CEO.  Following full briefing, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, dismissed the claims, granting the company a complete victory.
  • On October 24, 2013, SKV Partners Land Murphy and Craig Smyser obtained dismissal of Plaintiff Halliburton Energy Services, Inc.'s misappropriation of trade secrets case against SKV's client, Drilformance LLC, a Halliburton competitor in the drill bit business. Halliburton filed the claim for Temporary Restraining Order and Temporary Injunction in April 2013 claiming that two former Halliburton employees in Oman disclosed confidential information to Drilformance after they resigned their positions in Halliburton's Oman operations early in 2013. SKV defeated Halliburton's request for a temporary restraining order, obtained document and deposition discovery on an expedited basis, and obtained an order dismissing Halliburton's claims with prejudice with no temporary injunction granted.
  • On June 13, 2013 the jury awarded Dr. Fite and BEPA's other shareholders every penny of the nearly $4,000,000 claim Dr. Fite asserted on BEPA's behalf and rejected every one of the Defendants' counterclaims that sought a total of some $12 million. SKV partners Craig Smyser and Justin Waggoner tried the case for Dr. Fite. The case had been pending for nearly a decade as Defendants sought to derail the derivative claims by attempting to buy back and cancel Dr. Fite's share holdings, entering into a collusive settlement with a court-appointed receiver, and by taking the company into bankruptcy. Although SKV defeated each one of these attempts to deny their client her day in court, the last aborted bankruptcy effort in particular cost Defendants as the bankruptcy judge found that the company brought the bankruptcy in bad faith to obtain an advantage in the state court litigation, a result sustained by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas and by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • July 2011, Mr. Smyser represented indigenous inhabitants of the Ecuadorian Amazon rain forest in an environmental and pollution case against Chevron in multiple district courts.
  • Won an arbitration panel award in September 2011 for the entire amount of damages sought by a national accounting and litigation services firm in its insurance policy coverage dispute with Certain Lloyd's Underwriters.
  • Won a jury verdict of no liability after a two-week trial in April 2011 in a real estate fraud case involving a charge that SKV's client, Celotex, failed to disclose the presence of environmental contamination on the property and lied about what had been manufactured at the plant on the 12-acre tract near the intersection of I-10 and Loop 610.  Plaintiff, a large real estate development firm, claimed it lost millions in the purchase and in lost profits.  In addition, Plaintiff's law firm, with more than 60 individuals billing on the matter, claimed $6 million in attorneys fees.  Celotex hired Mr. Smyser three months before trial after the case had been pending over 9 years.
  • Represented a large institutional client in two separate proceedings, one in arbitration, one in state court, in breach of contract and fraud claims against national health insurers; settled in 2010.
  • Successfully represented the founder of a group of ambulatory surgery centers that he rolled up and sold in a 2010 arbitration with the acquiring company on allegations of breach of representations and warranties in the sales agreement.
  • Defeated effort of Russian company, a stalking horse for the Russian government, to take discovery in Southern District of New York in aid of the company's effort to capture control of Yukos Finance B.V., one of the companies escaping the Russian government's seizure of Yukos Oil and imprisonment in Siberia of its CEO.
  • Obtained a dismissal on forum non conveniens grounds of an international hotel and time-sharing group in class action consumer fraud case in federal court in Los Angeles, California.
  • Represented in arbitration a large institutional client in a suit against a national insurance company; settled in 2008.

  • Obtained reversal in October 2008 of a temporary injunction entered in federal court against the City of Houston on the grounds that its sign ordinance violated the United States Constitution.  The United States Courts of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the U.S. District Court's ruling and the United States Supreme Court denied the Petition for Writ of Certiorari seeking review of the Fifth Circuit's constitutional ruling.
  • Obtained a Mandatory Temporary Injunction in November 2007 on behalf of the City of Houston requiring a billboard company to lower a 90' high structure built overnight in the Afton Oaks residential neighborhood to 17' and to remove the top part of the billboard structure that contained the sign's advertising.

  • Obtained a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on behalf of officers of Yukos Oil International, the privately-owned branch of Yukos Oil Company, now controlled by the Russian State in a dispute to prevent payment from a $15 million trust.

  • Represented Andrew Fastow, former Chief Financial Officer of Enron Corp. in civil litigation pending in jurisdictions throughout the United States. First obtained a stay of all civil litigation against Mr. Fastow in the Southern District of Texas, including the securities class action Newby v. Fastow et al. Then obtained dismissal in a number of suits, including dismissal by Class Action Plaintiffs in Newby.

  • Represents an international hotel and time-share group in a dispute over rights to intellectual property and website names.
  • Represented the City of Houston in defeating a request by wrecker drivers for a Temporary Restraining Order to prevent enforcement of the City's "Safe Clear" ordinance.
  • Represented the Houston Sports Authority in its dispute with the Houston Rockets arising out of construction of Toyota Center; settled on confidential terms.

  • Drafted the lawsuit and organized the effort that successfully prevented a major political party from substituting its hand-picked candidate on the ballot to replace a United States Congressman who had allegedly moved out of his district.

  • Obtained Summary Judgment in U.S. District Court on behalf of a the largest non-profit hospital organization in the Southwest in a major personal injury matter involving brain-damage.  The United States Courts of Appeals for the Firth Circuit Affirmed the Summary Judgment in an opinion that has attracted considerable commentary.
  • Represented Chairman of the Board of Philip Services in a class-action securities fraud case in the Southern District of New York; settled without payment by the Chairman. 
  • Represented an oil refinery in a mass environmental tort claim; settled for nuisance value.
  • Obtained summary judgment in a legal malpractice claim against a major personal injury lawyer. 
  •  Represented former Houston Mayor Bill White in election contest; obtained summary judgment in his behalf.
  • Other Matters

  • Obtained a successful judgment after a jury verdict against a Fortune 500 Company;
  • Successfully defended class action securities cases in federal court in Texas and New York;
  • Represented an oil field equipment manufacturer in international arbitration in London in a dispute with an Indian company over construction of a plant in Hyderbad, India; settled confidentially on favorable terms.
  • Represented an oil refinery in a mass environmental tort claim; settled for nuisance value.
  • Obtained summary judgment in a legal malpractice claim against a major personal injury lawyer.
  • Successfully represented major healthcare institutions in a variety of commercial, ethical, and personal injury matters.
  • Briefed and argued cases in the United States Supreme Court; the Texas Supreme Court; the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals; and the Texas Courts of Appeals.
     

Reported Cases

McKaskle v. Wiggins, 465 U.S. 168, 104 S.Ct. 944, 79 L.Ed.2d 122, U.S.Tex., January 23, 1984 (NO. 82-1135); RX.com, Inc. v. O'Quinn, 766 F.Supp.2d 790, (S.D.Tex. February 02, 2011); Guzman v. Memorial Hermann Hosp. System, 409 Fed.Appx. 769, (5th Cir.(Tex.) February 01, 2011); Memorial Hermann Hosp. System v. Aetna Health Inc., 2010 WL 3817163, (S.D.Tex. September 27, 2010); State v. Central Expressway Sign Associates, 302 S. W.3d 866, (Tex. November 20, 2009); Hydro Green Energy, LLC v. Concepts ETI, Inc., 2009 WL 3681678, (S.D.Tex. November 03, 2009); In re Application of 000 Promnefstroy for an Order to Conduct Discovery for Use in a Foreign Proceeding, 2009 WL 3335608, (S.D.N.Y. October 15, 2009); Chambers v. O'Quinn, 305 S.W.3d 141, (Tex.App.-Hous. (1 Dist.) October 01,2009); RTM Media, L.L.C. v. City Of Houston, 584 F.3d 220, (5th Cir.(Tex.) September 28,2009); Young v. Memorial Hermann Hosp. System, 573 F.3d 233, (5th Cir.(Tex.) June 29, 2009); Guzman v. Memorial Hermann Hosp. System, 637 F.Supp.2d 464, (S.D.Tex. June 16, 2009); Enron Corp. Sav. Plan v. Hewitt Associates, L.L.C., 611 F.Supp.2d 654, (S.D.Tex. April 23, 2009); Guzman v. Memorial Hermann Hosp. System, 2009 WL 780889. (S.D.Tex. March 23. 2009); Enron Corp. Savings Plan v. Hewitt Associates, L.L.C., 258 F.R.D. 149, (S.D.Tex. March 19, 2009); Guzman v. Memorial Hermann Hosp. System, 2009 WL 427268. (S.D.Tex. February 20. 2009); Lomax v. Shantz, 2009 WL 36537, (Tex.App.-Hous. (14 Dist.) January 08, 2009); Guzman v. Memorial Hermann Hosp. System, 2008 WL 5273713, (S.D.Tex. December 17,2008); Fite v. Erntel, Inc., 2008 WL 4427676, (Tex.App.-Hous. (1 Dist.) October 02, 2008); RTM Media, L.L.C. v. City of Houston, 578 F.Supp.2d 875, (S.D.Tex. September 29,2008); Newby v. Enron Corp., 542 F.3d 463, (5th Cir.(Tex.) Sentember 08, 2008); In re Enron Corp. Securities, 535 F.3d 325, (5th Cir.(Tex.) July10, 2008); Acosta v. Memorial Hermann Hosp. System, 2008 WL 190052, (Tex.App.-Hous. (14 Dist.) January 22,2008); Fite v. Erntel, Inc., 2008 WL 185522, (Tex.App.-Hous. (1 Dist.) January 17, 2008); Chambers v. O'Quinn, 242 S.W.3d 30, (Tex. December 14, 2007); RTM Media LLC v. City of Houston, 2007 WL 5006527, (SD.Tex. October 16, 2007); RTM Media LLC v. City of Houston, 2007 WL 5006527, (SD.Tex. October 16, 2007); Garcia v. Boyar & Miller, P.C., 2007 WL 2428572, (N.D.Tex. August 28, 2007); Garcia v. Boyar & Miller, P.C., 2007 WL 1556961, (N.D.Tex. May 30, 2007); In re Enron Corp. Securities, Derivative & ''ERISA'' Litigation, 2007 WL 207028, (S.D.Tex. January 23, 2007); In re Enron Corp. Securities, Derivative & "Erisa" Litigation, 2006 WL 3716669, (S.D.Tex. December 12, 2006); In re Memorial Hermann Hosp. System, 209 S.W.3d 835, (Tex.App.-Hous. (14 Dist.) November 30, 2006); Chambers v. O'Quinn, 2006 WL 2974318, (Tex.App.-Hous. (1 Dist.) October 19, 2006); In re Enron Corp. Securities, Derivative & "Erisa" Litigation, 2006 WL 3316876, (S.D.Tex. October 04, 2006); Chambers v. O'Quinn, 2006 WL 2853893, (Tex.App.-Hous. (1 Dist.) September 29, 2006); Young v. Memorial Hermann Hosp. System, 2006 WL 1984613, (S.D. Tex. July 14, 2006); In re Enron Corp., 2006 WL 1371089, (S.D.Tex. May 17, 2006); In re Enron Corp. Securities, Derivative & "ERISA" Litigation, 2006 WL 1308185, (S.D.Tex. May 11, 2006); In re Musslewhite, 177 Fed.Appx. 455, (5th Cir.(Tex.) May 01, 2006); Bazile v. Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, 2006 WL 349628. (Tex.Ann-Beaumont February 16, 2006); Young v. Memorial Hermann Hosp. Systems, 2006 WL 39102, (S.D.Tex. January 04, 2006); Bryant v. Memorial Hermann Hosp. System, 2005 WL 2455112, (Tex.App.-Hous. (14 Dist.) October 06, 2005; In re Enron Corp. Securities, Derivative & "ERISA" Litigation, 2005 WL 2230169, (S.D.Tex. September 12, 2005); R2 Investments LDC v. Phillips, 401 F.3d 638, (5th Cir.Tex.) March 01, 2005); Goffney v. O'Quinn, 2004 WL 2415067, (Tex.App.-Hous. (1 Dist.) October 28, 2004); McMillion v. Memorial Hermann Hosp. System, 2004 WL 2112752, (Tex.App.-Hous. (1 Dist.) September 23, 2004); In re Philip Services Corp. Securities Litigation, 383 F.Supp.2d 463, (S.D.N.Y. May 24, 2004); Blaz v. Belfer, 368 F.3d 501, (5th Cir.(Tex.) April 22, 2004); In re Enron Corp. Securities, Derivative & "ERISA" Litigation. 310 F.Supp.2d 819 (S.D.Tex. March 29. 2004); In re Enron Corp. Securities, Derivative & Erisa Litigation, 2004 WL 405886, (S.D.Tex. February 25, 2004); Centerpoint Energy Houston Electric, L.L.C. v. Brunkenhoefer, 2004 WL 256836, (Tex.App.-Beaumont February 12, 2004); Air Liquide America Corp. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 359 F.3d 358, (5th Cir.(Tex.) January 30, 2004); In re Enron Corp. Securities, Derivative & "Erisa" Litigation. 2003 WL 23305555. (S.D.Tex. December 11, 2003); R2 Investments v. Phillips, 2003 WL 22862762, (N.D.Tex. December 03, 2003); In re Enron Corp. Securities, Derivative & "Erisa" Litigation, 2003 WL 22472155, (S.D.Tex. October 14, 2003); In re Enron Corp. Securities, Derivative & ERISA Litigation, 284 F.Supp.2d 511, (S.D. Tex. September 30, 2003); Newby v. Enron Corp., 338 F.3d 467, (5th Cir.(Tex.) July 30.2003) Patterson v. Mobil Oil Corp., 335 F.3d 476, (5th Cir.(Tex.) July 8, 2003); In re McKamie, 2003 WL 21195227, (Tex.App.-Hous. (14 Dist.) May 22, 2003); R2 Investments v. Phillips, 2003 WL 22862738, (N.D.Tex. March 26, 2003); In re Enron Corp. Securities, Derivative & ERlSA Litigation, 258 F.Supp.2d 576, (S.D.Tex. March 12, 2003); In re Enron Corporation Securities, Derivative & "Erisa" Litigation, 2003 WL 230688, (S.D.Tex. January 28, 2003); Burgess v. Gallery Model Homes, Inc., 101 S.W.3d 550, (Tex.App.-Hous. (1 Dist.) January 23, 2003); In re Enron Corp. Securities, Derivative & ERlSA Litigation, 235 F.Supp.2d 549, (S.D.Tex. December 19, 2002); Barsky v. Arthur Andersen, LLP, 2002 WL 32856818, (S.D.Tex. August 16, 2002); Newby v. Enron Corp., 302 F.3d 295, (5th Cir.(Tex.) August 09, 2002); DiRienzo v. Philip Services Corp., 294 F.3d 21, (2nd Cir. (N.Y.) April 01, 2002); Patterson v. Mobil Oil Corp., 206 F.R.D. 591, (E.D.Tex. March 28. 2002); Women's Medical Center of Northwest Houston v. Bell, 248 F.3d 41 L (5th Cir. (Tex.) April 13, 2001); Patterson v. Mobil Oil Corp., 241 F.3d 417, (5th Cir.(Tex.) February 06, 2001); Women's Medical Center of N.W. Houston v. Archer, 159 F.Supp.2d 414, (S.D.Tex. December 29, 1999); In re Philip Services Corp. Securities Litigation, 49 F.Supp.2d 629, (S.D.N.Y. May 04, 1999); Anderson v. Bristol Myers Squibb Co., 1998 WL 35178199, (S.D.Tex. April 20, 1998); King v. Douglass, 973 F.Supp. 707, (S.D.Tex. December 23, 1996); McDole v. San Jacinto Methodist Hosp., 886 S.W.2d 357, (Tex.App.-Hous. (1 Dist.) August 31, 1994); Ex parte Tucci, 859 S.W.2d 1, (Tex. June 30, 1993); Sawyer v. Millard, 849 S.W.2d 808, (Tex. March 24, 1993); Mother Frances Hosp. v. Coats, 796 S.W.2d 566, (Tex.App.-Tyler September 14, 1990); Carr v. Brasher, 776 S.W.2d 567, 1980 WL 47716, 16 Media L. Rep. 1942, Tex., May 10, 1989 (NO. C-7248); Hammonds v. Thomas, 770 S.W.2d 1, 1989 WL 14969, Tex.App.-Texarkana, February 22, 1989 (NO. 9685); King v. Graham Holding Co., Inc., 762 S.W.2d 296, 1988 WL 126596, Tex.App.-Hous. 914 Dist.), December 01, 1988 (NO. A14-87-1006-CV); Davis v. Esperado Min. Co., 750 S.W.2d 887, 1988 WL45531, Tex.App.-Hous. (14 Dist.), May 12, 1988 (NO. C14-87-210-CV); Mutter v. Wood, 744 S.W.2d 600, 1988 WL 8470, Tex. February 10, 1988 (NO. C-6479); Brasher v. Carr, 743 S.W.2d 674, 1987 WL 134, Tex.App.-Hous. (14 Dist.), November 12, 1987 (NO. C14-86-753-CV); Nelson v. Metallic-Braden Bldg. Co., 695 S.W. 2d 213, Tex.App.-Hous (1 Dist.), May 23, 1985 (NO. 01-85-0029-CV); Wiggins v. Procunier, 753 F.2d 1318, C.A.5 (Tex.), February 25, 1985 (NO. 80-2278); Lucas v. Texas Industries, Inc., 696 S.W.2d 372, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 10,633, Tex., July 11, 1984 (NO. C-1328).

Books

Texas Contract Law
2005, West Publishing
Craig Smyser (co-authored with Professor David Dow)
PDF of Table of Contents and Chapter on Fraud and Misrepresentation (862KB)

 

Speeches

Venue and Forum - Federal and State Court Issues
January, 2012
Craig Smyser, Guest Lecturer
University of Texas Law School
Austin, Texas

Criminal Issues in Civil Cases

August 2006
Craig Smyser, Lecturer
with David Gerger, Lecturer
State Bar of Texas 29th Annual Advanced Civil Trial Course
Dallas, Texas

New Chapter 74 and Old 4590i Compared
March 2005
Craig Smyser, Lecturer
State Bar of Texas Advanced Medical Malpractice Course
Austin, Texas and Santa Fe, New Mexico

Caps and Credits:
A Comparison of the Old and the New
March 2004
Craig Smyser, Lecturer
State Bar of Texas Advanced Medical Malpractice Course
San Antonio and Houston, Texas

The Ultimate Trial Notebook -
Preparing for Jury Selection in Advance:
Focus Groups and Other Jury Research
2004
Craig Smyser, Lecturer
State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting
Austin, Texas

Discovery Update and Rule 202 -
The Latest on the New Texas Rules
2002, 2003, 2004
Craig Smyser, Lecturer
Advanced Civil Trial Course
Dallas, Corpus Christi, Houston and San Antonio, Texas

Post Judgment Motions
February 1998
Craig Smyser, Lecturer
South Texas College of Law Advanced Litigation
Houston, Texas

Class Actions - (Plaintiff's View)
December 1997
Craig Smyser, Lecturer
Houston Bar Association Seminar
Houston, Texas

Advanced Business Litigation - "Fraud and Related Claims"
October 1997; September 1998; September 1999; September 2001
Craig Smyser, Lecturer
University of Houston Law Foundation
Houston and Dallas, Texas

Voir Dire: A Discussion, Demonstration and Workshop
August 1994
Craig Smyser, Lecturer
State Bar of Texas Seminar
Houston, Texas

Advanced Issues in Evidence and Discovery
1994-1995
Craig Smyser, Lecturer
Advanced Civil Discovery Seminar
Houston and Dallas, Texas

Cross-Examination of the Enemy Expert
1993
Craig Smyser, Lecturer
Medical Malpractice Conference
Houston, Texas

Advanced Strategies in Obtaining and Using Evidence
1992 - 1993
Craig Smyser, Lecturer
Houston, Texas

Selected Discovery Problems
April 1992
Craig Smyser, Lecturer
Medical Malpractice Conference
Houston, Texas

Discovery Issues ?Defense Perspective
1991
Craig Smyser, Lecturer
Advanced Medical Malpractice Conference
Houston, Texas

Summary Judgments - Defense Perspective
November 1990
Craig Smyser, Lecturer
Advanced Medical Malpractice Litigation
Houston, Texas

Piercing the Corporate Veil
August 1990
Craig Smyser, Lecturer
State Bar of Texas Seminar
Houston, Texas

Advanced Settlement Techniques
1990
Craig Smyser, Lecturer
State Bar of Texas
Houston, Texas

Civil Discovery
June 1988
Craig Smyser, Lecturer
University of Houston Advanced Civil Discovery Seminar
Houston and Dallas, Texas

Personal Injury and Wrongful Death
1984
Craig Smyser, Lecturer
State Bar of Texas, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Institute
Houston, Texas

Lecturer, State Bar of Texas, 29th Advanced Civil Trial Course - 2006
"Criminal Issues in Civil Cases"

Lecturer, State Bar of Texas Advanced Medical Malpractice Course - 2005 
"New Chapter 74 and Old 4590i Compared "

Lecturer, State Bar of Texas Advanced Medical Malpractice Course - 2004
"Caps and Credits: A Comparison of the Old and the New"

Lecturer, State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting - 2004
"Preparing for Jury Selection in Advance: Focus Groups and Other Jury Research"

Lecturer, UH Law Foundation Seminar, 1997-2001
"Fraud and Related Business Torts"

Lecturer, Harris County Summer CJE Conference - 2009
"Expert Opinions, Practices and Issues"

Lecturer, State Bar of Texas, Advanced Trial Course - 2008-2009
"White Collar Crime and Civil Litigation"
 

Professional Recognition

  • Member, American Law Institute.
  • Selected as one of the top attorneys in business litigation in the nationwide corporate counsel edition of Super Lawyers,  a Thomson Reuters service, 2009-2013.
  • Named to the top list for business litigation for the State of Texas by Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters service, 2009 through 2013.
  • Selected by his peers as a Texas Super Lawyer, Thomson Reuter service, for 2009 through 2013 in Texas Monthly magazine.
  • Texas Super Lawyer, a Thomson Reuters service as chosen by his peers, 2003 through 2013.
  • H Texas Magazine 2007 - 2013 "Top Lawyers of Houston."
  • Chambers USA, 2008 - 2013, "America's Leading Lawyers for Business."
  • Past President, 2005, "Texas Association of Board Certified Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists."
  • Past President, Houston Chapter, American Board of Trial Advocates.
  • State Bar of Texas, Texas Pattern Jury Charges, "Business*Consumer*Employment," 1993 - 1997.
  • Selected for inclusion in "The Best Lawyers in America," 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
  • Recognized in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 edition of  Benchmark Litigation for high quality of litigation work. 
  • Named Local Litigation Star in 2013 edition of Benchmark Plaintiff.
  • Texas Best Lawyers 2012 - 2013 "The Best Lawyers in America"

Accolades

"Sources say: He's (Craig Smyser) a remarkably impressive lawyer; you can give him a bare amount of detail and he can isolate the ultimate issue and find a good solution."
- Chambers USA 2013

"This distinguished firm works on all areas of complex commercial litigation, including securities, patent disputes and medical malpractice matters....."
- Chambers USA 2013

Sources say: "They did an excellent job; we got the outcome we wanted." "The quality of their legal analysis is among the best I've ever seen."
- Chambers USA 2013

Craig Smyser impresses with his client skills, in particular his ability to 'explain to the client what the issues are and what the best way to approach them is.' He is also commended for his 'strategic insight,'...
- Chambers USA 2012

This boutique is a familiar sight in Texas courts and has, over the past 15 years, established an impressive reputation and track record. This has enabled it to attract and retain big name clients...
- Chambers USA 2012

Sources say: "Extremely efficient, smart and very selective."
- Chambers USA 2012

Sources say: "A fantastic litigation group. They are all very good lawyers I have huge amounts of confidence in them."
- Chambers USA, 2011

The compliments flow thick and fast for this experienced Houston-based litigation boutique. It is often the preferred local counsel for heavy hitters needing credibility and insight in the Houston courts. The team has impressive range, including white-collar criminal matters, contract disputes, fraud and securities claims, patent cases, disaster cases, and medical malpractice defense.
- Chambers USA, 2011

We have engaged SKV and Craig on numerous occasions to handle some very difficult and complex matters. SKV's preparation is truly unmatched and their action plan is well designed and extremely effective. SKV's results always exceeded my expectations.
- Carrol Aulbaugh, CFO, Memorial Hermann Hospital System, 2011

Chambers USA identified Smyser Kaplan & Veselka, L.L.P. as one of the leading litigation firms in Texas, stating in its 2008 Guide: "Although it may be the smallest firm featured in the table, this Houston-based outfit nonetheless punches above its weight. . . ." Chambers also recognized two of its partners, Craig Smyser and Lee Kaplan as among Texas' leading individual commercial litigators.
- Chambers USA, 2008


Other Activities

  • Board of Directors, Houston Urban Debate League, 2013.
  • Member of the Houston Philosophical Society.
  • Former member and chair of the Board of Directors of the Houston City / Harris County Cultural Arts Council, Non-Profit Organization charged by the City of Houston and Harris County with allocating public funds to various area arts organizations.
  • Member and former President of the Board of Directors of Inprint, a non-profit organization dedicated to support of writing in the Houston area.
  • Member, 2007, of the Board of Directors of the Houston Tennis Association.
  • Reporter, 1973-75; Political Editor, 1975-76; The Houston Chronicle.
  • Member of the Houston, Texas, and American Bar Associations; member of the Texas and American Bar Foundations.

 

*Please do not transmit confidential information via Internet mail. Your transmission of information to Smyser Kaplan & Veselka, L.L.P. is not intended to and does not create an attorney-client relationship with the Firm or any of its attorneys. Please do not assume that your communications sent using Internet mail are privileged or confidential.

Craig Smyser

University of Texas
Plan II with Honors, 1973
Phi Beta Kappa

University of Texas
Law School, 1980
Texas Law Review
Chair, Board of Advocates
Outstanding Advocate,
1980 Class

Member, American Law Institute

Vinson & Elkins L.L.P.
Associate, 1980-1987
Partner, 1988-1995

Board Certified in
Personal Injury Trial Law
Texas Board of
Legal Specialization

Board Certified in
Civil Appellate Law
Texas Board of
Legal Specialization

Attorney Admissions Committee for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, appointed 2012 to three-year term

Past President,
Houston Chapter
American Board of
Trial Advocates

Member, International Society of Barristers