David Leonard, a native Houstonian, is an associate in Gray Reed’s commercial litigation section. From pre-suit negotiations through trial and appeal, David advises clients on strategies to efficiently and effectively resolve commercial disputes. To this end, he implements reasoned and aggressive advocacy to further his clients’ business interests inside and outside the courtroom.
David was named a Texas “Rising Star” by Thomson Reuters in 2015 and 2016 in the field of business litigation. Gray Reed’s commercial litigation section was recognized as “Metropolitan Tier 1” by US News & World Report (a Woodward/White company) in 2016.
He is a graduate of The University of Texas School of Law, where he was managing editor of the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law. David received a B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Texas at Austin.
Key Representative Experience
- Second-chaired a successful AAA arbitration (applying Texas law) on behalf of global nutritional supplement manufacturer in payment dispute with its former South African distributor. Also obtained take-nothing judgment in defense of distributor’s counterclaims alleging millions of dollars in damages.
- Lead associate in two-week bench trial representing owner of an underground natural gas storage facility (publicly-traded MLP) in its appeal of multi-million-dollar ad valorem tax assessments for tax years 2012 and 2013.
- Co-author of appellate briefing with former Justice Jim Moseley on behalf of global franchisor to secure affirmance of the denial of foreign defendants’ special appearances. Jani-King Franchising, Inc. v. Falco Franchising, S.A., No. 05-15-00335-CV, 2016 WL 2609314 (Tex. App.—Dallas May 5, 2016, no pet.).
- Defended operator in lawsuit arising from East Texas title dispute.
- Represented purchaser of mineral interests in Eagle Ford Shale in dispute with seller.
- Represented oilfield equipment manufacturer in payment and performance disputes with vendors and customers.
- Represented Texas-based private equity group and its shareholders in direct and derivative claims in connection with a hydraulic fracturing service company.
General Business Litigation
- Represent global franchisor in various disputes with domestic and international franchisees arising from franchise agreements.
- Represented buyer of Houston-based manufacturing company in lawsuit against seller of company arising from claims of fraud and breach-of-contract in connection with sale of company.
- Negotiated favorable settlement for publicly-traded oilfield services corporation in dispute arising from a marine technology contract with a New York company.
Real Estate Litigation
- Represent Houston-based hospital system in disputes with medical tenants.
- Represented purchaser of commercial real estate property in dispute regarding disbursement of earnest money.
- Represented industrial tenant in dispute with landlord concerning usage of premises.
- Authored appellate briefing and presented oral argument to Fifth Court of Appeals in breach of fiduciary duty dispute arising from an alleged attorney-client relationship. Gillis v. Provost & Umphrey Law Firm, LLP, No. 05-13-00892, 2015 WL 170240 (Tex. App.—Dallas Jan. 14, 2015, no pet.).
- Drafted briefing in mandamus proceeding on behalf of minority shareholders in connection with a discovery dispute concerning the scope of discovery in advance of a motion to dismiss based on a Special Litigation Committee’s recommendation. In re Platinum Energy Solutions, Inc., 420 S.W.3d 342 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist] 2014, orig. proceeding).
- Assisted with appellate briefing for the plaintiff/appellee in a breach of contract case and secured affirmance of favorable trial court judgment. Sullivan v. Jani-King of New York, Inc., No. 05-11-01546, 2013 WL 3553396 (Tex. App.—Dallas July 11, 2013, pet. denied).
- Assisted with appellate briefing for the plaintiff/appellee in a Fourteenth Amendment and Texas Whistleblower Act case. Alief Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Perry, 440 S.W.3d 228 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2013, pet. denied).
- Represented high-rise condominium owners’ association in construction defect lawsuit against general contractor, sub-contractors, and product manufacturer.
Premises Liability Defense
- Asserted Chapter 95 defense on behalf of Fortune 500 chemical refining companies in personal injury lawsuits in state and federal court.
Pro Bono Representation
- Obtained dismissal of claims against Vietnam veteran arising from alleged consumer credit card debt.
- Defended elderly widow against claims arising from alleged consumer credit card debt.
Professional Activities, Memberships & Affiliations
Community Involvement, Memberships & Affiliations
- St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, Member
- Texas Exes Houston Chapter
- Named a Rising Star in 2015 - 2016 by Texas Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters business) as published in Texas Monthly magazine.
- Contributing Author, Pay Your Fair Share (And No More) of Property Taxes in Texas (Texas Real Estate Business)
- Contributing Author, Texas Business Litigation - Selected Causes of Action Unique to the Oil and Gas Industry (ALM 2014 Publication)
- Deepwater Horizon Insurance Litigation: Unintended Consequences, Practical Responses, Ethical Issues, and Suggestions for Review, 2013 Annual Admiralty and Maritime Law Conference, University of Texas School of Law (co-author with Julia Palmer).