James Brandon Hughes, a partner in the firm’s Laredo office, has secured a number of substantial litigation victories for both plaintiffs and defendants, often in their most significant, high-profile and high-stakes cases. Mr. Hughes has obtained successful litigation outcomes in federal courts across numerous jurisdictions, state trial courts throughout Texas, appellate courts, and the Texas Supreme Court. His clients include major regional and international oil and gas operators, private landowners and holders of substantial oil and gas properties, and governmental entities, including various South Texas counties.
Mr. Hughes provides effective advocacy across a wide range of civil litigation issues, and frequently handles oil and gas lease interpretation disputes, royalty underpayment cases, title disputes, and complex business and commercial litigation. Mr. Hughes often obtains favorable litigation resolutions through pre-trial motion practice, allowing the client to avoid the cost, wasted time, and unpredictability of pursuing the case through a jury trial.
Whether through legal briefing or oral advocacy, Mr. Hughes packages complicated and often abstract legal issues into simple, intuitive stories that resonate with judges and juries and can be understood even without expertise in the specific area of litigation.
Secured dismissal of claims clouding title to oil and gas properties exceeding 9,000 acres on behalf of mineral owner. When plaintiff filed a second lawsuit in a different court, filed successful motion to dismiss, obtained pre-filing injunction barring future litigation, and obtained sanction that plaintiff was a “vexatious litigant.”
Representedbankruptcy trustees in federal bankruptcy adversary proceedings asserting over $30 million in fraudulent transfer claims. Deposed top-level executives and obtained testimony from CFO that other executives had falsified financial statements. Successfully opposed numerous summary judgment motions, obtaining favorable damage model, liability findings, and settlement.
Represented defendant oil and gas lessee in interlocutory appeal seeking dismissal of lease termination claims. Following successful interlocutory appeal motions in trial and appellate courts and filing of appellate brief, plaintiff conceded client’s desired lease construction and dismissed termination claims, which comprised vast majority of damages sought in trial court.
Obtained attorney fee award described by court as “unusually large” on behalf of governmental client in federal district court remand proceedings, including finding by court that opposing party asserted “objectively unreasonable” legal arguments in favor of removal.
Defended major oil and gas operator against lease termination and other breach of lease claims pertaining operator’s largest oil and gas property. Obtained settlement for small fraction of initial demand.
Assisted in successful defense of shareholder oppression suit alleging$95 million in dilution damages and seeking control of large privately held oil and gas company.
Represented landowner in trespass to try title claims against more than 100 potential claimants. Obtained combination of summary judgment rulings and walkaway settlement agreements that resulted in client clearing title to over 600 mineral-rich acres at no settlement cost.
Obtained summary judgment securing favorable construction of depth severance provision in oil and gas lease, resulting in determination that client’s lease was superior of two competing leases.
Represented oil and gas lessor in royalty audit, obtaining advantageous settlement for one hundred percent of value of disputed royalties sought.
Represented landowner in compensatory royalty dispute regarding operator’s failure to drill offset wells, obtaining confidential seven-figure settlement after filing a motion for summary judgment.
PUBLICATIONS & PRESENTATIONS
Lessor, Should You Cash That Royalty Check? And Other Ratification and Estoppel Issues
State Bar of TexasAdvanced Oil Gas & Energy Resources Law Webcast, 2020
Litigating Texas Oil and Gas Commingling Cases
State Bar of Texas Advanced Oil, Gas, & Energy Resources Law Course, 2019
Emerging Implied Covenant Claims in the Shale Era
State Bar of Texas Oil and Gas Disputes Course, 2019
Hot Topics in Transportation
State Bar of Texas Advanced Government Law Course, 2015
Spotting Landowner Oil & Gas Cases
Texas Trial Lawyers Association, 2015
ADMISSIONS & AFFILIATIONS
State Bar of Texas
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
United States District Courts for the Southern District of Texas
Texas Trial Lawyers Association
J.D., University of Texas School of Law with honors
TEXAS REVIEW OF LAW AND POLITICS, Senior Editor
Tom C. Clark Fellows Scholarship
Rush Record Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Law
BBA and Master of Accountancy, Texas State University, summa cum laude