John J. Deis


John J. Deis is a partner at Hicks Thomas LLP. He is a former Marine Corps officer, who spent four years on active duty (1993-1997) and seven more years in the reserves. He has 15 years of broad-based experience in commercial litigation, with a focus on environmental and energy industry matters.

Mr.Deis stands out as an attorney that is persistent in the face of adversity. He prepares with diligence and makes order out of chaos in even the most complicated business litigation cases. In fact, he thrives in complex cases and has a knack for distilling the key issues in a case out of mountains of evidence. He works with his clients to develop a specific, tailored strategy that will best accomplish their goals. John cares about excellence and he cares about people, making him a valuable commodity in business litigation cases.

When he is not litigating in court, John is an avid outdoorsman who is active in local scouting.

Practice Emphasis

Commercial litigation with experience in environmental and energy industry-related disputes.


  • Texas A&M University (B.B.A. 1993)
  • University of Houston Law Center (J.D. magna cum laude 2000)

Mr. Deis also developed legal experience working as the managing editor for the Houston Law Review. It was John's experience as an undergraduate and his enjoyment of business law classes that motivated him to pursue a career as an attorney. It was his mentor’s enthusiasm about the challenges of litigation and his expert guidance that helped John develop his keen litigation skills.


Mr. Deis was selected for inclusion in the Texas Rising Stars for Business Litigation by Thompson Reuters Legal and Texas Monthly magazine in 2004-2007 and 2009. This is an award that is reserved for newer attorneys who are currently making an impression in the legal field.

Professional Associations

  • The State Bar of Texas
  • The State Bar of Texas Antitrust and Business Litigation Section
  • The State Bar of Texas Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Section
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
  • Houston Young Lawyers Association
  • California Groundwater Resources Association
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • Houston Bar Association

Past Cases

Offshore oil and gas litigation

Mr. Deis acted as counsel for a major drilling contractor in numerous disputes concerning offshore drilling rigs and compliance with contract and regulatory standards. In the past seven years, he has litigated cases involving rig mooring, wire rope failures, hurricane damage, and jack-up rig emplacement. He has also worked on rig audit and inspection cases involving the fitness of drilling and well control equipment. These cases have involved offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, Mediterranean Sea and the Arabian Gulf.

In addition, Mr. Deis has analyzed the impact of post-Macondo regulatory requirements on offshore drilling rigs. He has helped to evaluate contractual and regulatory obligations regarding blow-out preventers and well control equipment. He has also acted as lead counsel for offshore construction and services providers, including lead trial counsel in a multimillion dollar dispute concerning offshore automated pipe welding services and offshore pipeline construction.

Commercial litigation

Mr. Deis has also represented clients in shareholder disputes and securities fraud matters. He has also assisted clients with bankruptcy preference and fraudulent transfer cases, as well as commercial fraud and business accounting disputes.

Environmental litigation

Mr. Deis was defense counsel for a six-month jury trial involving a $160 million damage claim that led to a defense verdict. He took a lead role in managing engineering and environmental expert depositions to defeat causation claims in the case. Mr. Deis has managed discovery in numerous groundwater contamination cases across the country and has taken hundreds of percipient and expert witness depositions on technical and operational issues. Mr. Deis also consults with clients on litigation risks that are associated with environmental contamination investigations and transactions involving contaminated property.

Toxic Tort and Personal Injury

Mr. Deis has worked on numerous matters arising from personal injury claims brought on behalf of workers at industrial facilities and construction sites. These matters have included wrongful death claims asserting exposure to various chemicals and alleged unsafe working conditions.

(713) 547-9152
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