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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. David 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, 2016 and 2017 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 2017.
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-chair lawyer in the representation a Houston-based, Fortune 500 company in the defense of a $3 million breach-of-contract-claim brought by its former labor supplier. After a six-day jury trial in Harris County, the jury returned a verdict finding Gray Reed’s client had no liability and therefore no damages were awarded to the Plaintiff.
- Second-chaired a successful AAA arbitration (applying Texas law) on behalf of a global nutritional supplement manufacturer in a payment dispute with its former South African distributor. Also obtained an award of attorneys’ fees and a take-nothing judgment in the defense of the distributor’s counterclaims alleging millions of dollars in damages.
- Lead associate in the representation of a Crestwood Equity Partners subsidiary in a lawsuit over the taxable value of an underground natural gas storage cavern facility in Matagorda County, Texas. Following a two week bench trial, the Court reduced the facility’s taxable value by more than $250,000,000 for the two tax years at issue.
- Successfully defended a global franchisor in an appeal from 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.).
- Represented the buyer of a metal fabrication company in a lawsuit against the seller of the company in claims of fraud and breach-of-contract arising from the sale of the company.
- Represented a forklift dealer in a dispute with a multi-national company arising from an equipment sale exceeding $1,000,000 in value.
- Represented the purchaser of mineral interests in the Eagle Ford Shale in a dispute with the seller.
- Represented a private equity group and its shareholders in the direct and derivative claims in connection with the financing of a hydraulic fracturing service company.
- Defended an operator in a lawsuit arising from an East Texas title dispute.
- Negotiated a favorable settlement for a publicly-traded oilfield services corporation in a dispute arising from a marine technology sales contract with a New York company.
Real Estate Disputes
- Represented a wide variety of property owners (ranging from publicly-traded companies to real estate developers and high net-worth individuals) in litigation involving property taxes.
- Advised a publicly-traded telecommunications company in lease and easement disputes relating to cellular equipment.
- Secured a summary judgment on behalf of a hospital system against a former tenant for breach of a promissory note.
- Advised a Houston-based hospital system in the disposal of a tenant’s abandoned medical equipment.
- Represented the purchaser of commercial real estate in a dispute regarding the disbursement of earnest money.
- Represented an industrial lessee in a dispute with the lessor concerning the usage of leased premises.
- Secured a summary judgment on behalf of a global franchisor against a former Belgian franchisee and its principals for fraud and breach of contract arising from the franchisee’s default under the franchise agreement.
- Secured a summary judgment on behalf of a global valve manufacturer against its former distributor for the fraudulent transfer, breach of contract, and misappropriation of construction trust funds.
- Represented an oilfield equipment manufacturer in payment and performance disputes with vendors and customers.
- Represented a publicly-traded telecommunications company in consumer disputes.
- Represented the executor of an estate in a lawsuit against the debtor of the estate.
- Asserted a Chapter 95 defense on behalf of Fortune 500 chemical refining companies in personal injury lawsuits in the state and federal court.
- Represented a high-rise condominium owners’ association in a construction defect lawsuit against the general contractor, sub-contractors, and product manufacturer.
- Prepared an appellate briefing and presented an oral argument to the Fifth Court of Appeals in a 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.).
- Petitioned for a writ of mandamus on behalf of minority shareholders in 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 an appellate briefing for the plaintiff/appellee in a breach of contract case and secured affirmance of a 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 an 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).
Pro Bono Representation
- Obtained the dismissal of claims against a Vietnam veteran arising from alleged consumer credit card debt.
- Obtained the dismissal of claims against an elderly widow against claims arising from alleged consumer credit card debt.
- Pro bono attorney, Houston Area Women’s Center.
Professional Activities, Memberships & Affiliations
Community Involvement, Memberships & Affiliations
- St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, Member
- Texas Exes Houston Chapter, Member
- Named a Rising Star by Texas Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters company) as published in Texas Monthly and Texas Super Lawyers magazines (2015-2018)
- Co-Author, Texas Tax Ruling Favors Frac Trailer Owners
Energy & the Law Blog
October 14, 2016
- Co-Presenter, Pay Your Fair Share (And No More) of Property Taxes in Texas
Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association Summer Conference
August 18, 2016
- Contributing Author, Pay Your Fair Share (And No More) of Property Taxes in Texas
Texas Real Estate Business
- Contributing Author, Selected Causes of Action Unique to the Oil and Gas Industry
Texas Business Litigation (an ALM Publication)
- Co-Presenter, Recent Developments in Indemnity and Insurance Law—Lessons Learned from Deepwater Horizon
Client Presentation, Houston, Texas
October 11, 2013
- Co-Author, 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
September 23, 2013