John B. Thomas

Firm Partner

The general counsel from a Philadelphia-based company recently picked up the phone and called Houston attorney John Thomas even though the two had never met.

The GC needed immediate help after his company was sued over its extensive oil and gas interests in the Texas Panhandle. The fact that the GC’s employer was targeted in a Houston court by one of Texas’ top plaintiffs firms made the matter even more urgent.

Mr. Thomas sized up the facts quickly, telling the GC there were no grounds for filing the suit in Houston and recommending a request for the case to be transferred outside the plaintiff’s “hometown” jurisdiction. “That’s the kind of quick, creative thinking I like,” the GC told Mr. Thomas, who successfully moved to get the case transferred to the Texas Panhandle and now is handling the company’s defense.

That type of strategic thinking is why business leaders from across the nation have relied on Mr. Thomas and the attorneys at Hicks Thomas LLP, to handle their most important legal cases for more than 25 years.

Decision-makers from the country’s leading industries consistently call on Mr. Thomas for his creative insights and proven abilities when the legal stakes are high.

Mr. Thomas’ efforts for such notable companies as J.P. Morgan Chase, Reliant Energy, Occidental Petroleum Corp., Union Pacific Railroad and others include substantial courtroom verdicts, arbitration awards, as well as significant appellate victories. He prides himself on getting to know clients and their business needs, while becoming an expert in their industries in order to best protect their legal interests.

Mr. Thomas’ many professional honors include his recognition among the state’s top business litigation attorneys by the publishers of Texas Super Lawyers and as one of the nation’s leading environmental litigation attorneys by the respected Chambers USA guide.


  • Juris Doctor, University of Michigan Law School
  • Bachelor of Science, Western Michigan University, Division I Athlete (Wrestling)


  • Texas Super Lawyers - Business Litigation – 2003-present
  • Chambers USA Leading Lawyers for Business – Environmental Litigation
  • Inside Houston Magazine – Best Environmental Lawyer
  • Judicial Clerkship, Honorable Edith H. Jones, Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Past Cases

Following are just a few examples of Mr. Thomas’ work for clients:

J.P. Morgan Chase – The worldwide financial services provider brought in Mr. Thomas to handle a matter before the International Arbitration Association that involved one of the largest credit card portfolios in the world. The lawsuit, which included jurisdictional disputes in New York and Houston, centered on the banking joint venture assembled to develop the co-branded Shell MasterCard. Facing off against Shell and Citibank, Mr. Thomas sought a substantial award against Chase’s joint venture partner, as well as a ruling that Chase was the owner of the accounts. After expedited discovery, the case was successfully tried before a Houston arbitrator before being resolved under confidential terms.

Occidental Petroleum Corp. – Mr. Thomas was hired as trial counsel in a high-stakes dispute following the company’s $3.6 billion acquisition of Altura Energy LP, the largest oil producer in Texas at the time. The defendant BP America Production Co. disputed Occidental’s marketing “call rights” involving oil and gas generated in the Texas Permian Basin. Mr. Thomas helped Occidental resolve the matter following a week of arbitration in Houston.

Reliant Energy – When investigators from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission leveled their aim at Texas-based Reliant Energy, the company’s board of directors called on Mr. Thomas to protect their individual interests. Government investigators set out to prove that Reliant had engaged in improper commodity trading practices in order to boost the company’s trading volumes and sales revenues. Reliant eventually agreed to a settlement with the SEC, but Mr. Thomas’ clients successfully emerged with no findings of wrongdoing.

King Ranch – When the owners of this historic Texas ranch found their property under siege, they called on Mr. Thomas to help unravel a 120-year-old legal battle. King Ranch founder Richard King was sued in the 1880s by the wife of a former business partner over her late husband’s interest in the 15,500 acres of land that later would become the centerpiece of the King Ranch cattle empire. That case eventually settled, with the business partner’s widow selling her property interests for $5,800. When the business partner’s heirs tried to undo the sale nearly 120 years later, Mr. Thomas successfully defended King Ranch by winning a ruling from the Supreme Court of Texas that preserved the earlier sale and confirmed the rightful owners of the King Ranch.

R.R. Street & Co. Inc. – Also known as Street’s, this company is one of the nation’s leading providers of detergents and process additives to the dry cleaning industry. Mr. Thomas’ track record on behalf of the company is just one reason why he has been Street’s go-to national counsel for more than 15 years. In addition to wins in courtroom trials and appeals, Mr. Thomas has become a trusted adviser to the company’s leaders based on his experienced counsel and proven business acumen. He has successfully defended Street’s in numerous individual cases filed across the U.S. by dry cleaners, local municipalities and various water authorities. In all, Mr. Thomas and his team have defeated hundreds of millions of dollars in product liability claims brought against the company. In addition to prevailing in multiple product liability jury trials in California and Texas, Mr. Thomas also obtained a win for Street’s at the Supreme Court of Texas in a case of first impression under the Texas Solid Waste Disposal Act.

(713) 547-9106
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