Steve Watkins has an active trial practice involving complex commercial, oil and gas, trust and family litigation matters. He is also a former appointed member of the Board of Disciplinary Appeals for The Supreme Court of Texas, which has original and appellate jurisdiction in lawyer discipline cases. During his eight-year tenure with the Board (including serving as chairman from 1994 to 1999), Steve participated in deciding several hundred compulsory discipline cases and several thousand classification appeals.

Complex Business Litigation 

Steve’s experience includes:

  • Defending and obtaining an instructed verdict at trial for the owner of a regional shopping center sued for including use restriction in its leases.
  • Obtaining an instructed verdict in a jury trial for a company sued with others in a trespass-to-try title action concerning real property improved with a multi-story office building.
  • Defending a cable-splicing company in a case brought by the United States Department of Labor to recover overtime compensation alleged to be due to numerous cable splicers. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, rendered a judgment for the client, which was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. A per curiam opinion of the Fifth Circuit was not reported.
  • Obtaining the reversal of a summary judgment granted against six financial institutions in a case concerning permanent loan commitment. The summary judgment was granted in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, and reversed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
  • Serving as the principal writer of an appellate brief in a case brought by a wholesale liquor distributor to enforce a settlement agreement against an international liquor manufacturer. Judgment for the client was rendered in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, and affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
  • Representing a French corporation in obtaining dismissal from a case brought by a Texas corporation alleging breach of contract. The dismissal was obtained in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, on the grounds that the client was not personally amenable to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit confirmed the order dismissing the client from the case. A per curiam opinion of the Fifth Circuit was not reported.
  • Arguing (as co-counsel) and obtaining summary judgment in favor of a Texas plaintiffs’ firm in a breach of contract case involving attorneys’ fees. The summary judgment obtained by the client was affirmed on appeal.
  • Obtaining a summary judgment in probate court on behalf of an individual client. The court granted a declaratory judgment that construed in the client’s favor the legal effect of an in terrorem clause contained in a trust. The case was affirmed on appeal.
  • Representing two real estate developers in a jury trial involving promissory notes, real estate valuation and foreclosure issues and obtaining judgment against a limited partnership and its general partners, who had been joined by the clients as third party defendants. Judgment for clients on their third party action was affirmed on appeal.
  • Representing a health insurer in an arbitration involving claims asserted by 19 independent practice associations seeking recovery of damages.
  • Obtaining a jury verdict for an international corporation (as co-counsel), in a dispute involving a damaged generator that was part of a CT Unit.
  • Representing a school district in a lawsuit relating to losses sustained as a result of Tropical Storm Allison.
  • Representing an international oil company where the plaintiff sought damages concerning a maintenance of interest provision in a joint operating agreement.
  • Representing an international oil company where the plaintiffs sought damages concerning a real estate transaction.
  • Obtaining a jury verdict for an international oil company (as co-counsel), in a jury trial where the plaintiff sought damages concerning an incentive program.
  • Representing a county judge in a case where the plaintiff sought the removal of the judge as the trustee of a trust and the recovery of damages.
  • Obtaining an arbitration award against two doctors enforcing a covenant not to compete and establishing amounts to be paid by the two doctors in a buy out of the covenant.
  • Representing an international transportation broker in a non-jury case involving hazardous waste shipments.

  • Texas Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
  • State Bar of Texas (Recipient, President’s Special Recognition, 1993)
  • Houston Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
  • Houston Bar Association
  • Supreme Court of Texas Board of Disciplinary Appeals (Chairman 1994-99, Member 1992-2000)
  • Texas Association of Defense Counsel
  • International Association of Defense Counsel
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • International Society of Barristers, Fellow