Stewart Hoffer is a partner at Hicks Thomas LLP and is Board Certified in civil trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has appeared as lead trial counsel for numerous publicly traded and privately held companies in courts all over the country including:
- New Mexico
- New York
Before joining Hicks Thomas LLP, Stewart served a two-year Federal Judicial Clerkship for Hon. Hayden W. Head, Jr., the former Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
Stewart emphasizes his practice in the following areas:
- Commercial and Business Litigation
- Securities Litigation
- Partnership and Shareholder Disputes
- Labor and Employment Litigation
- Intellectual Property Litigation (Trade Secrets, Trademarks)
- Representation of Executives in Employment Matters
- Non-compete/Non-solicit contracts
- General Civil Litigation
- University of Texas at Austin (B.B.A., 1991)
- University of Texas School of Law (J.D., with honors, 1994)
AwardsStewart is Board Certified in civil trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is also an AV-rated lawyer through Martindale-Hubbell. From 2003 to 2017 - fourteen consecutive years - Stewart has been selected for inclusion in the list of Texas Super Lawyers® for business litigation which appears in Thomson Reuters Legal and Texas Monthly magazine. In 2004, Houston Texas Magazine recognized Stewart as Top Lawyer for the People. From 2003 to 2004 as well as in 2009, Stewart was named a "Top Lawyer in Houston" by Houston Texas Magazine.
- State Bar of Texas
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth and Ninth Circuits
- United States District Court for the Southern, Northern, Eastern and Western Districts of Texas and Eastern District of Michigan
In August 2014, Stewart was part of the trial and appellate team that won a case at the Texas Supreme Court for a client that changed Texas procedural and substantive law regarding whether a court could, consistent with the Texas and U.S. Constitution, require the removal of, and enjoin the republication of, speech adjudicated as defamatory. Kinney v. Barnes, 443 S.W.3d 87 (Tex. 2014).
In June 2014, Stewart successfully overturned a trial court's final judgment order erroneously granting summary judgment against claims brought by Stewart's client against a former employee for breach of a noncompetition covenant and breach of fiduciary duty, and claims against the former employee's new employer for related tort claims. See Republic Services, Inc. v. Martha Rodriguez and Custom Copying Solutions, L.P., No. 14-12-01054-CV (Tex. App. – Houston [14th Dist.] 2014, mem. opin'n).
In May 2014, Stewart obtained a judgment for 2.3 million dollars (which included 1.6 million dollars in punitive damages) against a former sub-agent of a publicly traded company who engaged in a commercial bribery and theft scheme while overseeing an aspect of the client's operations. The judgment was in addition to hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash the client received in settlement from co-defendants, as well as an additional 1.4 million dollars in invoices that co-defendant vendors released to resolve the claims against them.
In March 2013, Stewart obtained an order conditionally granting a writ of mandamus which overturned a trial court's order that required client to turn over to opposing counsel computer hard drives for intrusive forensic analysis. See In re Pinnacle Engineering, Inc., 405 S.W.3d 835 (Tex. App. – Houston [1st Dist.] 2013, orig. proceeding).
Stewart served as trial and appellate counsel for the plaintiff, a building supply company, in a lawsuit claiming breach of contract and suit on sworn account against a builder who failed to pay for goods and services received. See Wasserberg v. Flooring Services of Texas, LLC, 376 S.W.3d 202 (Tex. App. – Houston [14th Dist.] 2012, no pet.).
In 2011, one of Stewart’s clients in the legal recruiting industry came to Stewart with a problem. Another legal recruiter had threated to sue Stewart’s client for a share of a large placement fee that the client earned by placing a partner group with another firm. Stewart convinced the client to go on the offense and sue first to establish that the putative plaintiff had no right to the fee. The strategy worked, and in October 2012, Stewart convinced a Travis County trial judge to dismiss the case in the middle of trial, and award the client nearly $200,000 in legal fees the client had incurred to prove the facts that led to the win. The losing recruiter appealed, and in August 2015, the Austin Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment in all respects, with the Texas Supreme Court denying a petition for discretionary review in January 2017. See Handwerker Hren Legal Search, Inc. v. Recruiting Partners GP, Inc., No. 03-13-00239-CV, Austin Court of Appeals (August 19, 2015, pet. denied).
In August 2010, Stewart first chaired a four day jury trial in state district court in Aransas County, Texas, and obtained a complete defense verdict for Stewart's client, a motor vehicle manufacturer, in a breach of contract and UCC sale of goods case. The victory was notable because the plaintiff was a prominent public figure in the geographic area where the case was tried. See In re Motor Trike, Inc., 347 S.W.3d 806 (Tex. App. – Corpus Christi 2011, orig. proceeding).
In July 2010, Stewart first chaired an employment discrimination case in federal court in Houston, Texas for a NYSE-traded client. Based on the claims pled by the former employee, the client faced exposure to punitive damages not capped by traditional damage caps in employment cases. After four days of trial, and just before closing arguments, the former employee settled his claims for a mere 17% of his pretrial settlement demand.
In November 2009, Stewart second-chaired a nine-day jury trial in Harris County in which the client, a subsidiary of a publicly traded exploration and production company, obtained a considerable jury verdict and final judgment as a victim of fraud in a drilling rig purchase.
In January 2009, Stewart secured a preliminary injunction against a client's former employee who had posted the client's trade secrets on various Internet blog sites and forced the Internet sites to voluntarily remove the offensive postings. A few months later, Stewart obtained a substantial judgment against the former employee as a result of his misconduct, and has successfully directed the U.S. Marshal's seizure and sale of the former employee's assets, including website domains.
In April 2009, Stewart obtained summary judgment for a prominent Houston law firm sued by a former paralegal for sexual harassment and other various employment torts.
Following a two-day evidentiary hearing in December 2008 in a trade secret/employee raiding case, Stewart defeated a competitor's request to curtail or eliminate the operations of a leading national provider of technical services to the electric utility, power generation, industrial, renewable and energy industries.
In August 2008, Stewart convinced a Harris County District Court Judge to deny a request for a temporary injunction in a trade secrets case that, if entered, would have effectively shut down the client's nationwide crane and construction rental company pending trial, causing the client to lose tens of millions of dollars in revenue.
In 2006, Stewart served as lead trial counsel defending a successful mass tort lawyer accused of legal malpractice, and secured a complete defense verdict for the client.
Published cases include:
- In re Pinnacle Engineering, Inc., 405 S.W.3d 835 (Tex. App. – Houston [1st Dist.] 2013, orig. proceeding).
- Wasserberg v. Flooring Services of Texas, LLC, 376 S.W.3d 202 (Tex. App. – Houston [14th Dist.] 2012, no pet.).
- In re Motor Trike, Inc., 347 S.W.3d 806 (Tex. App. – Corpus Christi 2011, orig. proceeding).
- Koval v. Henry Kirkland Contractors, Inc., 2008 WL 458295 (Tex. App. – Houston [1st Dist.] 2008, no pet.).
- In re American Lift & Equipment, Inc. 2007 WL 2743483 (Tex. App. – Houston [1st Dist.] 2007, orig. proceeding).
- Pita Santos v. Evergreen Alliance Golf, Ltd., 650 F. Supp. 2d 604 (S.D. Tex. 2009).
- Dynamic Sports Nutrition, Inc. v. Roberts, 2009 WL 136023 (S.D. Tex. 2009).
- Murphy v. Butler, 512 F. Supp. 2d 975 (S.D. Tex. 2007).
- Fleming & Assoc. v. Miller & Assoc., 2005 WL 1155118 (S.D. Tex. 2005).
- Washington v. Occidental Chemical Corp., 24 F.Supp.2d 713 (S.D. Tex. 1998).
- Harvey v. Chevron U.S.A., Inc., 961 F. Supp. 1017 (S.D. Tex. 1997).
Speeches and Presentations Include:
- "The New Defend Trade Secrets Act" - Stoneturn Group's Luncheon Roundtable (Houston, Texas) - June 2016
- "Trade Secrets - What Happens When Yours Walk out the Door? What Happens When You Hire Your Competitor's Key Employee?" Texas Law and Insurance Symposium (Austin, Texas) - March 2016
- "Technology Assisted Review and Predictive Coding" -Innovation in E-Discovery Conference - Sandpiper Partners, LLC (Houston, Texas) - June 2015
- "Effective Jury Focus Groups" - State Bar of Texas CLE Webcast (Austin, Texas) – November 2014
- "Basic Employment Issues for the Small Employer" - State Bar of Texas CLE, (Dallas, Texas) - April 2009 (Selected by the Texas State Bar CLE as one of the top CLE presentations of the year)
- "Trade Secret Litigation/Temporary Restraining Orders" - Harris County District Judges Continuing Judicial Education Conference (Austin, Texas) - August 2009
- Appellate Practice [ Learn More ]
- Business Litigation [ Learn More ]
- Commercial Arbitration [ Learn More ]
- Environmental Litigation [ Learn More ]
- International Arbitration [ Learn More ]
- Labor and Employment Litigation [ Learn More ]
- Construction Litigation [ Learn More ]
- Offshore Energy Litigation [ Learn More ]
- Oil & Gas Litigation [ Learn More ]
- Securities Litigation [ Learn More ]
- Toxic Torts [ Learn More ]
- Trade Secrets [ Learn More ]
- Transportation Litigation [ Learn More ]