With his legal training, accounting background, and professional certifications from the IT industry, Garland D. "Land" Murphy, IV has the ability to grasp the most complex issues in any field and to boil them down to concepts that a court and a jury will understand and find persuasive. Mr. Murphy's practice involves the successful representation of plaintiff and defendant clients of every size across a broad range of industries, focusing on oil and gas, trade secrets, and commercial disputes. Mr. Murphy has appeared in federal and state courts, administrative proceedings, jury trials, and appeals.
Mr. Murphy is licensed in California and Texas and is admitted to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Southern District of Texas, Eastern District of Texas, and Central District of California. Mr. Murphy received the highest score on the February 2007 Texas bar exam and is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive) in Arkansas.
Mr. Murphy received his B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1997. He received his J.D., summa cum laude, from Pepperdine University School of Law in 2005, graduating as valedictorian of his class. While in law school, Mr. Murphy was elected to the editorial board of the Pepperdine Law Review and was a member of the First Place team for the 2003 National Criminal Procedure moot court competition and a member of the National Champion team for the 2004 Wagner Labor Law moot court competition. He was also recognized as a National Member of the Order of Barristers. Upon graduation from law school, Mr. Murphy served as law clerk to the Honorable Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit.
Stroud Production, L.L.C., et al. v. Patrick E. Hosford, et al.
Mr. Murphy was part of the SKV team that obtained a First Court of Appeals reversal of a 2011 state court oil and gas judgment. The Texas Supreme Court recently denied the plaintiff’s petition for review of the appellate court decision. 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 Galveston 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.
Mr. Murphy defended the former chief executive officer of a public company against allegations of securities fraud in an administrative proceeding brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr. Murphy successfully negotiated a settlement in which the SEC abandoned scienter-based claims against his client.
Oil and Gas
Mr. Murphy successfully defended a limited partner in an oil and gas limited partnership against claims of fraud, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty. Obtained a judgment in excess of $1mm, while defeating the plaintiffs’ multi-million dollar claims. The decision was affirmed on appeal.
Successfully negotiated a favorable settlement for his global energy client in a suit brought in District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The suit alleged false advertisement, defamation, and tortious interference.
Mr. Murphy filed and settled suit for energy client against negligent contractor for repairs and expenses incurred after well-site accident resulted in uncontrolled release.
Mr. Murphy represented an energy client in resolving a pre-suit dispute concerning extra work claims arising out of pipeline construction project, resulting in considerable savings to the client's litigation costs in addition to a favorable settlement.
Additional Representative Matters
Mr. Murphy obtained an arbitration award of $1mm for a national accounting and litigation services firm in its insurance policy coverage dispute with certain Lloyd's Underwriters.
In a Pro Bono matter, Mr. Murphy obtained a jury verdict and judgment of public nuisance in Harris County District Court for the City of Houston against a rent-by-the-hour motel in a residential neighborhood because its owners knowingly permitted prostitutes to make habitual use of the motel for their illicit activities. As a result the motel was shut down and torn down.
Mr. Murphy represented a shareholder and obtained jury verdict and judgment in Johnson County District Court on the shareholder’s behalf in a dispute with a fellow shareholder in trucking company over a note personally guaranteed by the shareholders. The case was against client by the jointly-owned company was dismissed because the company's suit was not properly authorized.
Mr. Murphy obtained dismissal of a civil rights claim against a non-profit client in the District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
Mr. Murphy successfully negotiated a multi-million dollar settlement for pipeline construction company in its suit in Harris County District Court for compensation owed in connection with the construction of an oil and gas pipeline under the Tigris River in war-torn Iraq.
Mr. Murphy obtained summary judgment for non-profit client accused of breaching a contract procured by fraud.
Mr. Murphy obtained a favorable settlement in excess of $1mm in Utah state court suit for a pipeline construction company based on its claims for extra compensation following construction of a pipeline in mountainous terrain in Colorado.
Mr. Murphy defended a Fortune 10 energy company in a suit alleging patent infringement, which resolved in a favorable settlement for the client.
Benchmark Litigation State Star for 2015-2016.
Chambers and Partners Texas Rising Star for 2010 - 2016.
Highest Score on February 2007 Bar Exam.
United States District Court for the Central and Northern Districts of California
United States District Court for the Southern, Eastern, Western, and Northern Districts of Texas
United States District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas
United States District Court for the District of Colorado
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Houston Bar Association, Committee Member HBA Speakers Bureau
State Bar of Texas
State Bar of California
State Bar of Arkansas
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
B.A., History with a Minor in Accounting, summa cum laude, 1997
Pepperdine Law School
J.D., summa cum laude, 2005
Order of Barristers
Number One in His Class
Member of the First Place team, National Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition, 2003.
Member of the National Champion team, Wagner Labor Law Moot Court Competition, 2004.
to the Hon. Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Smyser Kaplan & Veselka, L.L.P.
Smyser Kaplan & Veselka, L.L.P.