Chris Dodson focuses his diverse trial practice on high-risk and high-value business disputes and environmental matters. Chris' clients range from Fortune 500 businesses to high net-worth individuals. He has extensive first-chair trial experience across a variety of subject matters. A native Houstonian, Chris has practiced with Bracewell for his entire legal career.
Chris' courtroom skills and approach have been widely recognized and honored. 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, 2022). Chris has also been recognized by the Texas Lawyer, Benchmark Litigation, Lawdragon's Leading 500 Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers, and Texas Super Lawyers.
His recent trial victories have attracted media attention, as well as peer recognition. In 2022, Chris tried in federal court a case on behalf of KKR-owned BMC Software against IBM, obtaining a $1.6 billion judgment on behalf of BMC Software. In 2021, Chris tried and won in federal court a complete take-nothing judgment in a $30 million trade-secrets and breach-of-contract case regarding offshore equipment on behalf of Foro Energy. In 2015, he was named the Texas "Litigator of the Week" by Texas Lawyer for his take-nothing judgment on behalf of Royal Vopak. 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
BMC Software — following a federal trial, obtained a $1.6 billion breach of contract and fraud judgment on behalf against IBM
Foro Energy — following a federal trial, obtained a complete take-nothing judgment in lawsuit brought by an engineering and manufacturing firm alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of a non-disclosure agreement
Vopak — Successfully defended Vopak Americas in arbitration concerning construction of 10 storage tanks and associated pipelines. Case settled favorably after discovery.
Vopak — representing Vopak in lawsuit brought against Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) for damages arising from a massive fire at ITC’s facility and resulting chemical spill
Distressed Debt Investors — Representing group of distressed debt investors as lenders to entities owned by World Class Realty. Representation includes bankruptcy and adversary proceedings, foreclosure litigation, defaulted debt proceedings, suits on guarantee, and collection litigations.
Great-West Healthcare of Texas — Following a two-week jury trial, obtained favorable judgment in lawsuit brought 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. — as lead Bracewell attorney, obtained complete dismissal of lawsuit brought by local groundwater district against a landfill developer
Vopak — Obtained complete dismissal of $25 million breach of contract and fraud lawsuit on eve of trial.
Waste Management — Led the Bracewell team defending 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 — 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 — 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 — successful representation of Wortham Insurance in arbitration brought by Servisair/Swissport related to procurement of insurance coverage.
John M. O’Quinn Foundation — obtained complete dismissal of claims brought by Darla Lexington against the O’Quinn Foundation.
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 — 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 — 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.