Warren Harris chairs the firm's appellate practice group. He handles high-stakes appeals in Texas and across the country. He has handled hundreds of appeals, primarily handling cases that were originally tried by other law firms. He also serves as appellate counsel in major trials to provide strategic advice, preserve of error, argue jury charges, and handle post-verdict motions.
Warren is a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and is the recipient of the 2017 Gregory S. Coleman Outstanding Appellate Lawyer Award from the Texas Bar Foundation. He is President of the Houston Bar Association. He is past President of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society and past Chair of the Texas Bar Foundation Fellows. Warren is also past Chair of the State Bar of Texas Appellate Section, the Houston Bar Association Appellate Practice Section, and the IADC Appellate Practice Committee. He is a frequent lecturer at legal education seminars.
Warren served as an adjunct professor in appellate advocacy at the University of Texas School of Law and the University of Houston Law Center and served as a briefing attorney for the Supreme Court of Texas. He has been appointed by the Commission for Lawyer Discipline as special assistant appellate disciplinary counsel in attorney discipline proceedings. He has also represented the United States as an Appellate Special Prosecutor.
Recent Notable Matters
In re KBR, Inc. Burn Pit Litigation, No. 17-1960 (4th Cir. 2018) — Successfully defended on appeal the dismissal of Plaintiffs’ claims for injuries allegedly sustained from open-air burn pits. The MDL proceeding included 57 cases from 42 states including national class actions.
McManaway v. KBR, 852 F.3d 444 (5th Cir. 2017) — Successfully defended on appeal the dismissal of claims seeking over $500 million for alleged exposure to sodium dichromate at a water-treatment facility in Iraq.
Spitzer v. Weatherford, 2017 WL 5623588 (Tex. App.–Houston (1st Dist.) November 21, 2017, dism’d) — Represented Weatherford on appeal of a $36 million judgment against it for a breach of contract theory not previously recognized under Texas law.
Adhikari v. KBR, 845 F.3d 184 (5th Cir. 2017, cert. denied) — Successfully defended on appeal the dismissal of plaintiffs’ claims under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, the Alien Tort Statute, and for common-law negligence.
Forest Oil Corp. v. El Rucio Land and Cattle Co., 518 S.W.3d 422 (Tex. 2017) — Successfully defended on appeal the confirmation of an arbitration award of more than $27 million arising out of environmental contamination claims.
Bixby v. KBR, Inc., 603 F. App'x 605 (9th Cir. 2015) — Prevailed on appeal from an $80 million judgment against KBR arising out of claims alleging exposure to sodium dichromate by 150-plus National Guardsmen at a water-treatment facility in Iraq. The Ninth Circuit resolved the case in KBR's favor just a week after oral argument, reversing the judgment in its entirety based on lack of personal jurisdiction.
Phillips v. Carlton Energy Grp., LLC, 475 S.W.3d 265 (Tex. 2015) — Successfully defended on appeal a judgment in favor of Carlton Energy Group in a dispute involving breach of, and tortious interference with, contracts regarding a gas lease. The trial court signed a judgment of approximately $50 million in Carlton Energy Group's favor, which the Supreme Court of Texas ultimately affirmed. The case is again pending in the Supreme Court of Texas after a remand to the court of appeals.
Elizondo v. The Krist Law Firm, 415 S.W.3d 259 (Tex. 2013) — Prevailed on appeal, including in the Supreme Court of Texas, in defending the dismissal of a significant legal malpractice case.
Indemnity Ins. Co. of N.A. v. W&T Offshore, Inc., 756 F.3d 347 (5th Cir. 2014) — Obtained reversal of a district court's dismissal of $50 million claim brought by W&T Offshore against its excess insurers over damages arising out of Hurricane Ike.
TOTAL E&P USA, Inc. v. Kerr-McGee Oil and Gas Corp., 719 F.3d 424 (5th Cir. 2013) — Represented producer in $350 million overriding royalty dispute.
Hourani v. Mirtchev, 796 F.3d 1 (D.C. Cir. 2015) — Prevailed on appeal in defending the dismissal of RICO claims alleging extortion and money laundering against Bracewell's clients. The case addressed significant issues about the application and extraterritorial effect of RICO and the scope of the act-of-state doctrine.
Excess Underwriters at Lloyd's, London v. Frank's Casing Crew & Rental Tools, Inc., 246 S.W.3d 42 (Tex. 2008) — Represented insured in a dispute where the insurer sought reimbursement of a $7 million settlement payment, arguing the case twice in the Texas Supreme Court.
Franks Investment Co. LLC v. Union Pacific R.R., 593 F.3d 404 (5th Cir. 2010) — Retained by landowner after adverse panel decision in dispute with railroad involving federal preemption issues and convinced the Fifth Circuit to grant the case en banc and reverse the panel decision.
Mann Frankfort Stein & Lipp Advisors, Inc. v. Fielding, 289 S.W.3d 844 (Tex. 2009) — Represented accounting firm in the Texas Supreme Court in significant covenant not to compete case, convincing the Court to grant review and change law in reversing court of appeals.
In re Cypress Texas Lloyds, 419 S.W.3d 443 (Tex. App. — Beaumont 2012, mand. denied) — Represented insurer in over 100 Hurricane Ike cases and successfully obtained mandamus relief in multiple courts.
Miga v. Jensen, 299 S.W.3d 98 (Tex. 2009) — Successfully represented individual in $23 million restitution case in the Texas Supreme Court.
Gulf Restoration Network v. U.S. Dept. of Transp., 452 F. 3d 362 (5th Cir. 2006) — Represented energy company in an appeal, successfully defending against challenge of a license for a $700 million offshore project.
Ibarra v. Harris County, 338 Fed. Appx. 457 (5th Cir. 2009) — Represented attorney in an appeal to the Fifth Circuit from contempt proceedings arising out of a high-profile case involving elected district attorney, and successfully setting aside all contempt and sanctions findings.
Pasadena Refining Sys., Inc. v. McCraven, 2012 WL 1693697 (Tex. App. — Houston [14th Dist.] May 15, 2012, pet. dism'd) — Represented plaintiff in premises liability case appeal upholding $5 million judgment in only second case to be affirmed on this type of claim.
Cameron Int'l Corp. v. Vetco Gray Inc., 2009 WL 838177 (Tex. App. — Houston [14th Dist.] 2009, pet. denied) — Represented oil field supply company in dispute over license agreement successfully defending $60 million judgment on appeal.
United States of America v. Hill, 420 Fed. Appx. 407 (5th Cir. 2011) — Represented government in an appeal to the Fifth Circuit from criminal contempt proceedings arising out of a high-profile bribery case involving elected official successfully upholding all contempt findings.
Publications and Speeches
“Strategies for Respondents: The Path to ‘Affirmed’,” State Bar of Texas, 32nd Annual Advanced Civil Appellate Course, 2018.
“Can I Appeal This? Practical Applications for Trial Lawyers,” State Bar of Texas, 41st Annual Advanced Civil Trial Course, 2018.
"Appellate Law," 81 Texas Bar Journal 23, 2018.
"Strategies in Preparing Petitioner’s Briefs on the Merits," State Bar of Texas, Practice Before the Texas Supreme Court, 2017.
Preface to "Law and the Texas Frontier, " 2017.
"Considerations When Drafting Rule 11 and Settlement Agreements," The Advocate, State Bar of Texas Litigation Section, at 33, Spring 2017.
"Appellate Law," 80 Texas Bar Journal 21, 2017.
"Winning Strategies for Petitioners and Respondents in the Texas Supreme Court," Appellate Practice Section, Houston Bar Association, 2017.
"Lesson Plan: A new judicial civics project takes off." 79 Texas Bar Journal 442, 2016.
"Appellate Law," 79 Texas Bar Journal 27, 2016.
Preface to Taming Texas: How Law and Order Came to the Lone Star State, 2016.
"Chiefs' Forum: The Past, Present, and Future of the Supreme Court of Texas," American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, 2016.
"Texas Supreme Court and Fifth Circuit Update," State Bar of Texas, Annual Meeting, 2016.
"Appellate Law," 78 Texas Bar Journal 28, 2015.
"New Program to Celebrate Twentieth Anniversary of HBA Mentoring," The Houston Lawyer, at 32, Nov.-Dec. 2015.
"Challenges & Successes as Chief Justice," History of Texas and Supreme Court Jurisprudence, Texas Supreme Court Historical Society and State Bar of Texas, 2015.
"Petitioner's and Respondent's Best Strategies," Practice Before the Texas Supreme Court, State Bar of Texas, 2015.
"Legal Malpractice Damages," 7th Annual Damages in Civil Litigation Course, State Bar of Texas, 2015.
"The New Texas Supreme Court Justices' Perspectives from the Bench," Appellate Practice Section, Houston Bar Association, 2014.
"Jury Charge Practice in Personal Injury Cases," 30th Annual Advanced Personal Injury Law Course, State Bar of Texas, 2014.
"Federal Jury Charge Practice: A Guide to Handling Jury Charges in Federal Courts," The Appellate Advocate, State Bar of Texas Appellate Section Report, at 560, Summer 2013.
"Court Historian," 76 Texas Bar Journal 431, 2013.
"Mandamus Trends," 27th Annual Advanced Civil Appellate Practice Course, State Bar of Texas, 2013.
Board Certified, Civil Appellate Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization