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lveselka@skv.com
713.221.2325

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

Telephone 713.221.2300
Facsimile 713.221.2320

In more than thirty years of practice, Mr. Veselka has tried scores of jury trials to verdict.  He has argued appeals before the Texas Courts of Appeals, the Texas Supreme Court, the Wyoming Supreme Court, and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fifth, Tenth, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuits. Mr. Veselka has handled cases pertaining to securities, oil and gas, real estate, breach of contract, fraud, RICO, professional liability, and various business torts and statutory claims. He has handled matters in courts throughout Texas, as well as in Arkansas, Colorado, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Washington, D.C. He has advised both insureds and insurers on coverage issues, and has successfully prosecuted claims for coverage and/or bad faith. Mr. Veselka has both prosecuted and defended securities and consumer class actions, as well as shareholder derivative matters. Besides the complex civil cases which have predominated in his practice, Mr. Veselka has handled white-collar criminal matters at the grand jury, pre-trial, trial and appellate stages as well as SEC investigations and prosecutions.

Mr. Veselka served as Administrative Assistant to Lt. Governor Bill Hobby from January 1973 until August 1976. Mr. Veselka was elected Chair of the Harris County Democratic Party and served one term from 1986 to 1988. He was appointed by the Governor to serve as a member of the Board of Regents for Texas Southern University from 1985 to 1991.


Recent Cases

  • The Texas Supreme Court kept in place a closely watched First Court of Appeals reversal of a 2011 state court judgment in an oil and gas dispute, Smyser Kaplan & Veselka, L.L.P. announced April 25, 2014.  The litigation arose out of an oil and gas lease termination in High Island Field in Galveston County in 2004. The plaintiffs owned overriding royalty interests in the lease and argued that they were injured when the lease terminated, extinguishing their overriding royalty interests. The Supreme Court’s denial of the plaintiffs’ petition for review followed the First Court’s decision in March 2013 that found that SKV’s clients owed no duty to the overriding royalty interest owner plaintiffs and reversed a $929,903 judgment entered by the 405th District Court of Gal-veston County, Texas, against Robert Stroud, Plantation Petroleum Corporation, and Stroud Production LLC. The Court of Appeals held that there was no evidence to support plaintiffs’ claim that the only producing well was sabotaged and rejected the plaintiffs’ theory that the Stroud entities owed the plaintiffs special or fiduciary duties arising out of the assignment of overriding royalty interests. SKV partners Larry R. Veselka and Land Murphy tried the case and briefed and argued the appeal.  Mr. Veselka said, “We remain gratified by the appellate court’s judgment that the plaintiffs take nothing from their central claims against Mr. Stroud and his companies in this important case. Plaintiffs were asserting claims unrecognized in Texas and which would disrupt well-established concepts of Texas oil and gas law. The Court of Appeals’ rejection of those claims – and now the Supreme Court’s denial of the plaintiffs’ petition for review – prevent that potential disruption.” The only part of the judgment reversed but remanded for new trial was the issue of the appropriate amount of interest and attorney fees due on $375 in royalties — less than one-tenth of one percent of the damages sought — owed for production in the last month before production ceased. Those royalties, which had not been paid in 2004 due to an oversight, were paid several months before trial of the case.” The case is Stroud Production, L.L.C., et al. v. Patrick E. Hosford, et al, No. 01-11-00593-CV in the Court of Appeals, First District of Texas.

  • Obtained dismissal by state district court of all shareholder litigation, both class action claims and derivative claims, on behalf of Special Committee of the Board of EGL, Inc., a public company that was the subject of bidding process managed by the Special Committee that resulted in a $2 billion offer to take the company private paying the shareholders $47.50 per share when first bid was $36 per share.
     
     
  • Represented former head of exploration and production for a Fortune 500 energy corporation in a four-year criminal/civil/regulatory investigation and litigation arising from corporation's write-down of reserves. Criminal investigation resulted in no indictments; civil class action shareholder and derivative cases settled with no contribution by our client; SEC case settled with SEC agreement to allege claims against client only with regard to negligent conduct and to accept a relatively small fine.
     
  • Obtained dismissals of both a multimillion dollar securities class action and a separate derivative action in two different federal district courts for the same publicly traded healthcare company; the opponent ultimately dismissed their appeal of the class action dismissal; the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the derivative action.

     
  • Represented former Enron officer in government investigation who was listed as witness by both government and the defense in the Skilling/Lay criminal trial. Successfully convinced both not to call the former officer at trial.

     
  • Obtained successful resolution by deferred prosecution agreement in Department of Justice investigation of alleged Lanham Act violations in U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon.

     
  • Obtained successful summary judgment for NL Industries, dismissing case seeking tens of millions of dollars in remediation of lead paint in school district buildings. Summary judgment was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. The basis of summary judgment - lack of proof of causation - led to voluntary dismissals of four other cases around Texas in addition to two other cases in Harris County.

     
  • Participated in winning a significant victory for the Port of Houston at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, reversing a trial court judgment that would have cost the Port more than $100 million.

     
  • Successfully defended now State Representative Hubert Vo in a contest brought before the Texas Legislature by losing twenty-two year incumbent; contest was conducted over athree month period, culminating in a two day hearing before a Special Master on behalf of the Texas Legislature.
     
     
OTHER MATTERS


 

  • Handled an independent investigation leading to a response to derivative demands made on the board of one of the City's largest utilities that resolved the matter without litigation.

     
  • Hired after an adverse verdict, in which the plaintiff sought a $180 million judgment against his client, convinced the trial court to disregard all unfavorable findings by the jury and won on appeal.

     
  • Obtained a successful jury verdict in an oil and gas case in Hardin County against a large operator for failing to reasonably develop a unit, which was then settled.

     
  • Handled class actions against two of the world's largest rental car companies as part of cases that led to a change in Texas law, and refunds to Texas consumers.

 

Reported Cases

Chevron Corp. v. Donziger, United States District Court, S.D. New York. January 06, 2012 --- F.Supp.2d ---- ; Chevron Corp. v. Salazar, United States District Court, S.D. New York. August 03, 2011 275 F.R.D. 437; In re Packaged Ice Antitrust Litigation, United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division. July 01, 2010 723 F.Supp.2d 987; Citrin Holdings, LLC v. Minnis, Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston (14th Dist.). December 08, 2009 305 S.W.3d 269; Somers ex rel. EGL, Inc. v. Crane, Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston (1st Dist.). March 26, 2009 295 S.W.3d 5; Marlin v. Moody Nat. Bank, N.A., United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. June 30, 2008 533 F.3d 374; Boulle v. Boulle, Court of Appeals of Texas, Dallas. May 20, 2008 254 S.W.3d 701; R2 Investments LDC v. Phillips, United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. March 01, 2005 401 F.3d 638; Boulle v. Boulle, Court of Appeals of Texas, Dallas. February 25, 2005 160 S.W.3d 167 ; Air Liquide America Corp. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. January 30, 2004 359 F.3d 358; Swank v. Sverdlin, Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston (1st Dist.). September 04, 2003 121 S.W.3d 785; Coburn Supply Co., Inc. v. Kohler Co., United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. August 06, 2003 342 F.3d 372; Patterson v. Mobil Oil Corp., United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. July 08, 2003 335 F.3d 476; Bonham v. Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice, Court of Appeals of Texas, Austin. March 06, 2003 101 S.W.3d 153; Patterson v. Mobil Oil Corp., United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Beaumont Division. March 28, 2002 206 F.R.D. 591; Coburn Supply Co., Inc. v. Kohler Co., United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Beaumont Division. January 08, 2002 194 F.Supp.2d 580; U.S. v. Oliveri, United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division. September 26, 2001 190 F.Supp.2d 933; Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. v. City of El Paso, United States District Court, W.D. Texas, El Paso Division. August 23, 2001 168 F.Supp.2d 640; Patterson v. Mobil Oil Corp., United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. February 05, 2001 241 F.3d 417; In re Occidental Petroleum Corp., United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. June 28, 2000 217 F.3d 293; Westchester Fire Ins. Co. v. American Contractors Ins. Co. Risk Retention Group, Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston (1st Dist.). September 02, 1999 1 S.W.3d 872; In re Philip Services Corp. Securities Litigation, United States District Court, S.D. New York. May 04, 1999 49 F.Supp.2d 629; In re Paracelsus Corp. Securities Litigation, United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division. November 02, 1998 61 F.Supp.2d 591; In re Paracelsus Corp., United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division. March 09, 1998 6 F.Supp.2d 626; Decker v. University of Houston, United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division. May 05, 1997 970 F.Supp. 575; Metropolitan Property and Liability Ins. Co. v. Bridewell, Court of Appeals of Texas, Waco. November 20, 1996 933 S.W.2d 358; Bradt v. West, Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston (1st Dist.). December 22, 1994 892 S.W.2d 56 ; Waldron v. Zapata Exploration Co., Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston (1st Dist.). June 16, 1994 878 S.W.2d 349; . U.S. v. Beszborn, United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. April 18, 1994 21 F.3d 62; Cullen Center Bank & Trust v. Wonzer, Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston (1st Dist.). March 24, 1994 874 S.W.2d 757; Vista Development Joint Venture II v. Pacific Mut. Life Ins. Co., Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston (1st Dist.). January 02, 1992 822 S.W.2d 305; Moncrief v. Sohio Petroleum Co., Supreme Court of Wyoming. June 16, 1989 775 P.2d 1021; Corwin v. Marney, Orton Investments, United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. April 26, 1988 843 F.2d 194; Adams v. Petrade Intern., Inc., Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston (1st Dist.). March 17, 1988 754 S.W.2d 696 ; Plummer v. Veselka, Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston (1st Dist.). January 15, 1988 744 S.W.2d 347; Elliott v. Veselka, Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston (1st Dist.). January 13, 1988 743 S.W.2d 949; KMI Continental Offshore Production Co. v. ACF Petroleum Co., Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston (1st Dist.). January 15, 1987 746 S.W.2d 238; Eliasen v. Hamilton, United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division. July 16, 1986 111 F.R.D. 396; Corwin v. Marney, Orton Investments, United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. April 30, 1986 788 F.2d 1063; Prudential-Bache Securities, Inc. v. Matthews, United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division. January 29, 1986 627 F.Supp. 622; Hall v. Harris County Water Control & Imp. Dist. No. 50, Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston (14th Dist.). December 20, 1984 683 S.W.2d 863; Pennzoil Co. v. F.E.R.C., United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. May 20, 1981 645 F.2d 360

Professional Recognition

  • Mr. Veselka has been chosen by his peers as a Texas Super Lawyer, a Thomson Reuters service2005 through 2013.
  • Mr. Veselka has been named a Local Litigaton Star by Benchmark Litigation, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
  • Mr. Veselka named Litigation Star by Benchmark Appellate, 2013.

Other Activities

  • 1985 - 1991  Member, Board of Regents, Texas Southern University.
  • 2001 - 2012  Member, Texas Southern University Foundation Board.
  • Member and one of the founders of the Houston Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society.
  • Twice appointed by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas to serve on the Merit Selection Panel for Magistrate Judges.
  • American Bar Association, Litigation and Criminal Justice Sections Member.
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Houston Chapter.
  • State Bar of Texas, Antitrust and Business Litigation, Litigation, and Oil, Gas & Minerals Sections Member.
  • Houston Bar Association, Federal Practice, Litigation, and Oil, Gas & Minerals Sections Member.

*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.

Larry R. Veselka

Yale University
B.A. Economics, 1973

University of Texas
Law School, 1976
Texas Law Review

Vinson & Elkins L.L.P.
Associate,
1976
Partner,
1984

American Board
of Trial Advocates

Licensed to Practice in
District of Columbia and Texas