Chris Dodson focuses his trial practice on high-risk and high-value business disputes and environmental matters. He maintains an active commercial trial docket and also co-chairs Bracewell’s environmental litigation practice. Chris’ clients range from Fortune 500 businesses to high net-worth individuals. He has first-chair jury and non-jury trial experience representing plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal district courts. A native Houstonian, Chris has practiced with Bracewell for his entire legal career.
Chambers USA (2019) ranks Chris among the leading commercial litigators in Texas, noting that he is “very impressive,” and describing him as “an incredibly hard worker who thinks very well on his feet and is very effective in court.” He is also nationally recognized in The Legal 500 United States for Energy Litigation (2016-2019), Environment: Litigation (2017-2020), and General Commercial Disputes (2018-2019). In 2018, Chris was honored by the Texas Lawyer as a “Lawyer on the Rise.” Chris has also been named to Benchmark Litigation’s exclusive 40 & Under Hot List (2016-2020) and listed as a Texas Super Lawyers Rising Star for six years running (2014-2019).
His recent trial victories have attracted media attention, as well as peer recognition. In 2015, he was named the Texas “Litigator of the Week” by Texas Lawyer for his take-nothing judgement in a $25 million commercial dispute. In 2014, his participation in the defense of an environmental enforcement action was called “one of the greatest defense victories in Texas history” by The Texas Lawbook. In 2013, Chris obtained a take-nothing judgment in West Virginia rejecting—for the first time—a causal link between fracking and groundwater contamination.
Recent Notable Matters
Great-West Healthcare of Texas — Kelsey-Seybold Clinic v. Great-West Healthcare. Successfully represented Great-West Healthcare against claims for breach of contract and Insurance Code violations. Following a two-week jury trial, favorable judgment entered resulting in appeal by Kelsey-Seybold. Case settled during pendency of appeal.
Houston hospital — Obtained complete dismissal of federal class-action brought by consumers seeking in excess of $100 million against a Houston hospital for violations of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act.
Post Oak Clean Green, Inc. — Guadalupe County Groundwater Conservation District v. Post Oak Clean Green, Inc., No. 04-15-00433-CV (Tex. App.—San Antonio Apr. 6 2016). As lead Bracewell attorney, obtained complete dismissal of lawsuit brought by local groundwater district against a landfill developer.
Vopak North America, Inc. — Raizen North America, Inc. v. Vopak North America, Inc. Represented Vopak North America in defense of $25 million breach of contract and fraud allegations. After three years of litigation, obtained complete dismissal on eve of trial.
Waste Management, Inc. — In re San Jacinto River Impoundment Litigation. Led the Bracewell team defending a publicly traded waste disposal company in a multi-billion dollar environmental enforcement action and attendant mass tort lawsuits. The actions were settled favorably during trial in Harris County, Texas.
Baker Hughes Incorporated — Hagy v. BJ Services, No. 12-1926 (4th Cir. 2013). Represented BJ Services in litigation brought by land owners in West Virginia claiming groundwater contamination and personal injuries from fracking and drilling activities. The district court dismissed all claims against defendants on summary judgment and, in the first federal circuit court decision addressing fracking, the summary judgment dismissal was affirmed for lack of causation.
Vopak North America, Inc. — Vopak North America et al. v. Intercontin’l Terminals Co. and Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc., 354 S.W.3d 887 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2011). Represented Vopak, a worldwide operator of tank storage terminals, in litigation against a competitor seeking to restrict Vopak’s railroad access into and out of its flagship terminal on the Houston Ship Channel. After numerous successful temporary injunction hearings spanning multiple days, more than 35 depositions, and defeating defendants’ motions for summary judgment, the case settled favorably on the eve of trial.
Wortham Insurance — Servisair/Swissport v. Wortham Insurance. Successful representation of Wortham Insurance in arbitration brought by Servisair/Swissport related to procurement of insurance coverage.
The John M. O’Quinn Foundation — Darla Lexington v. The John M. O’Quinn Foundation. Obtained complete dismissal of claims brought by Darla Lexington against the O’Quinn Foundation.
Cameron International — MC International Research v. Cameron International. Represented Cameron in AAA arbitration proceeding concerning a licensing and development agreement. Case settled favorably after summary judgment hearing before arbitration panel.
Baker Hughes Incorporated — Terra Nova Sciences v. JOA Oil and Gas, 738 F. Supp.2d 689 (S.D. Tex. 2010). Defended a Baker Hughes-affiliated company in theft of trade secrets case. The case settled favorably following significant pre-answer opinions and deposition of plaintiffs’ corporate representatives.
WCW International — Scancom et al. v. WCW International et al., 2009 WL 958725 (S.D. Tex. 2009). Represented defendants in expedited shareholder dispute brought by a large Ghanaian-based telecommunications company. Plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on the basis of the All Writs Act was denied after a multi-day hearing, and then denied by the Fifth Circuit. Plaintiffs then dismissed their case.
Publications and Speeches
"The Zooming of Federal Civil Litigation," 104 Judicature, August 18, 2020.