Mitch Ackal is a Shareholder in Gray Reed & McGraw’s Houston office. He concentrates his practice on helping companies through all stages of litigation. Whether he’s communicating complex issues to clients, judges and juries, implementing effective courthouse strategies, or providing his clients with sound, practical business advice, Mitch is skilled at handling a wide variety of complex, commercial and business cases.
Throughout his practice, he has prosecuted and defended claims involving oil & gas, class/mass action, contract, franchise/distribution, trade secret, partnership and Uniform Commercial Code disputes in state and federal courts, in arbitrations, and on appeal.
Mitch has been selected four times (2010-2014) for inclusion in Texas Super Lawyers - Rising Stars Edition (a Thomson-Reuters business). Competing and winning is nothing new for Mitch. After growing up between New Orleans and Houston, and graduating from Strake Jesuit College Preparatory in Houston, he played college baseball for Rice University, where he was a member of Rice’s 1999 College World Series team.
- Successful defense of oil and gas operators in various lawsuits alleging breaches of joint operating agreements brought by non-operating working interest owners.
- Obtained dismissal without payment on behalf of casing pipe manufacturer in claims brought against it for negligence, products liability and breach of warranty.
- Represented operator in connection with claims against drilling contractor for over-billing.
- Defense of international petrochemical company in suit brought by domestic equipment supplier.
Constitutional and Civil Rights Litigation
- Second chaired jury trial with Jim Reed where jury returned a verdict on November 14, 2011, in favor of the Firm’s client, a former police officer who brought claims against a school district, and the Captain and Sergeant of the district’s police force, for violations of the Texas Whistleblower Act and rights secured by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. After trial, the school district and individual officers perfected an appeal to the Fourteenth Court of Appeals in Houston. Mitch successfully handled all aspects of the appeal, including oral argument, and on October 31, 2013, the appellate court affirmed the judgment of the trial court. The appellate court’s opinion can be found at 2013 WL 5861516.
Class Action Litigation
- Named class counsel in 9 federal class action settlements regarding the failure of oil and gas operators to properly return pro rata portion of severance tax refunds to non-operating working interest and royalty owners.
- Counseled franchisee regarding anti-trust tying issues, franchisor encroachment, and trademark issues.
- Prosecuted claims on behalf of cosmetic manufacturer and distributor against competitor in a case regarding business disparagement, tortious interference, and claims under the Lanham Act.
- Defended and prosecuted claims on behalf of cosmetic manufacturer and distributor against downstream distributorships, and provide general counsel and advice regarding trade secret and other intellectual property protection.
Uniform Commercial Code/Commercial Contracts
- Recovered significant deposit paid to manufacturer of sophisticated valve-testing equipment when manufacturer failed to make timely delivery.
- Defense of industrial valve manufacturer regarding warranty claims and a construction project at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
- Represented manufacturer of styrene regarding force majeure issues involving Hurricane Ike and the purchase of a nominated quantity of benzene.
- Secured numerous settlements and recovery of possession of leaseholds on behalf of provider of coin-operated laundry equipment against landlords for breaches of commercial leases and wrongful lockouts.
- Prosecution of claims against joint venture partner regarding the entitlement to proceeds from the sale of a commercial real estate development involving complex condemnation issues.
General Business Litigation
- Successful defense of home builder in several cases regarding allegations of fraud, breach of contract, breach of warranty, and DTPA violations.
- Recovered amounts due and owing to various employees upon breach of compensation agreements by their employers.
- Represented restaurant partner in his successful business divorce from other partner regarding Galleria-area restaurant.
- Successfully defended contract and business tort claims brought against commercial electrical contractor, and representation of contractor in numerous lawsuits resulting in recovery of amounts due and owing under outstanding accounts.
Named “Rising Star” from 2010-2014 by Texas Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters business) as published in Texas Monthly and Law & Politics magazine