Ask Jay about his favorite experience as a lawyer and he’ll tell you about the time his opponent came to him after a week-long arbitration and said: “I wish you were my lawyer!” Or the times he has participated in free legal clinics helping veterans and underprivileged solving their legal problems. He’ll also proudly tell you about traveling the country to promote and educate others on the importance of our jury system. To Jay, being a lawyer is more than just handling lawsuits for a living.
Born in Beaumont, Texas and educated at Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University School of Law, Jay began his career at a large national firm in Houston before moving home to raise his family. Jay’s practice has been varied and granted him the opportunity to work with, and against, some of the most seasoned, highly regarded lawyers in the country.
Jay is also committed to serving his profession. Jay is a former President of the Texas Association of Defense Counsel, the largest state-wide defense lawyer organization in the country. Jay chaired the Construction Law Section of the State Bar of Texas and served on numerous task forces appointed by both the State Bar and the Texas Supreme Court. He has earned an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialist, a member of ABOTA, a Fellow in the Texas Bar Foundation and is an active member in DRI and the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (“FDCC”).
Being a full-time lawyer does not prevent Jay from being active in his community. Recently, Jay ran for election to the United States Congress in the race to replace Ron Paul in the 14th Congressional District in Texas. Jay serves on the Board of Sky High Shoot.org, a non-profit raising money for cancer-stricken children and their families, and also on St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin. Jay has served on the University of Virginia Parents’ Committee Executive Committee, the Advisory Board of Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont, as well as the Symphony of Southeast Texas. He has served numerous other civic organizations, including the Rotary Club of Beaumont and the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce. Jay’s daughter graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016 and lives in Madison, Wisconsin. His son, an Eagle Scout, is currently enrolled at the University of Virginia.
- Product Liability
- Professional Liability
Recently received a mandamus ruling from the Houston 14th Court of Appeals in the case of In re Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, Cause No. 14-16-00677-CV, in which the Court of Appeals issued an opinion preserving the attorney-client privilege in cases involving non-retained party experts. This is only the second Texas case to address the issue of whether a party that chooses to testify as an expert on his own behalf waives the attorney-client privilege.
In a matter of first impression in Texas, the Houston 1st Court of Appeals ruled in favor of our client in Texas Windstorm Insurance Association v. Randy Jones, Cause No. 01-16-00385-CV, interpreting the meaning of what is an “accepted” insurance claim under the Texas Insurance Code. The Court found that a claim acceptance which did not limit the items accepted by its terms accepted all damage which could have been claimed by the insured, precluding litigation under the 2013 amendments to the Insurance Code commonly known as “HB3.”
The Beaumont Court of Appeals affirmed a significant jury verdict and judgment entered in a breach of contract lawsuit brought on behalf of our client, Way Service, Ltd., in MeadWestvaco Corporation v. Way Service, Ltd., No. 09-15-0014-CV. This case involved a claim that MeadWestvaco had failed to properly pay Way Service regarding the repair and maintenance of over 600 air conditioning units at a paper mill in Evadale, Texas. Way Service not only prevailed on its breach of contract claim, but also on a counterclaim for over $1 million. The court also affirmed an award of attorney’s fees, addressing issues of segregation between breach of contract and quantum meruit causes of action.
In Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas v. Carter, No. 09-08-067-CV, our client, Baptist Hospital obtained the first ruling by a Texas appellate court allowing the use of medical records to defeat a medical expert’s report in a healthcare liability claim. While the statute governing such claims allows challenges to expert’s reports on their face, it does not allow the use of extrinsic evidence. Our firm successfully argued to the Beaumont Court of Appeals that the Trial Court should consider the underlying patient records to the extent those records revealed that the Plaintiff’s expert’s report was not accurately based on the facts.
- JD, 1988, magna cum laude, Texas Tech University School of Law, Order of the Coif, Note Editor, Texas Tech Law Review, Board of Barristers
- BS, 1985, cum laude, Political Science, Texas A&M University
- Listed in Best Lawyers in America 2020
- Board Certified, Personal Injury Trial Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization
- “Super Lawyer”, Texas Monthly (2005-Present)
- Top 100 Lawyers in Southeast Texas (2015)
- AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- Served on the Planning Committee for the 2016 Advanced Civil Trial program sponsored by the State Bar of Texas, where he spoke on the topic of Appraisal in Insurance Cases
- Texas Association of Defense Counsel (President, 2007)
- DRI- The Defense Research Institute (Texas State Representative)
- Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC)
- American Board of Trial Advocates
- Texas Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
- Past Chair, Fellows Nominating Committee for District 03
- Litigation Counsel of America (Charter Member)
- Supreme Court Task Force to Expand Legal Services Delivery (2006-2007)
State Bar of Texas
- Chair, Construction Law Section (2010 – 2011)
- Vice Chair, Council of Chairs (2011- 2012)
- Pattern Jury Charge Oversight Committee (2009 – present)
- Court Rules Committee (2005 – 2008)
- Court Administration Task Force (2008)
- Ethics and Professionalism Committee
- Equal Access to Justice Commission (2006 – 2007)
- Jefferson County Bar Association (Director, 2005 – 2006)
- College of the State Bar
- Beaumont Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee
- Rotary Club of Beaumont
- Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization