Ayesha Najam

Partner
713.751.5213

[email protected]

Christina Pena

Assistant
713.751.5250

[email protected]

Ayesha Najam focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation, with a more recent focus on disputes involving energy, construction, and fiduciary duties.  Since joining the firm in 2005, Ayesha’s client base has spanned a swath of industries, including energy, manufacturing, health care, software, construction, and commercial real estate.

Following law school, Ayesha was a law clerk to Judge Stephen H. Glickman, District of Columbia Court of Appeals, from 2004 to 2005.

She is a consummate professional and unflappable.  She is a great trial lawyer.

– Chambers USA 2023

She’s a really good lawyer and very skilled. She’s a tough negotiator.

She’s responsive and very astute at grasping the business issues.

She just knocks it out of the park and is a terrific lawyer.

She’s a fabulous lawyer; just very knowledgeable, hard-working and all-around very good.

– Chambers USA 2022, 2021

Representative Matters

Simmons v. NewQuest Properties
Lead counsel in suit brought against commercial real estate broker by investors in a trust owning raw land in West Houston, which was sold to a broker-affiliated development company. Plaintiffs sought to disgorge millions in profits and fees and over $70 million in punitive damages, from the trustee and the real-estate broker.  After a two-week trial, the jury found unanimously in favor of defendants on all counts.

Occidental Exploration and Production Company v. Andes Petroleum Ecuador Ltd.
Represented major U.S. oil and gas company in arbitration regarding payment obligations under joint operating agreement, as the result of expropriation of oilfield assets by government of Ecuador and subsequent litigation between several parties.

Williams Hart Boundas Easterby LLP, et al. v. Steven Kherkher
Lead counsel in arbitration between renowned personal injury law firm and former partner regarding amount of his capital payout.  After a week-long arbitration hearing, arbitrator denied the former partner’s claim that the parties had an oral agreement that overrode the partnership agreement.

Confidential Arbitration Between Major Oil & Gas Companies
Lead counsel for operator in an arbitration brought by working interest owners arising out of a joint interest accounting dispute relating to a deepwater drilling unit.

Enterprise Products Operating LLC v. Amec Foster Wheeler USA Corp.
Represented Enterprise in a lawsuit against a terminated EPC contractor concerning a large petrochemical refinery constructed in Mont Belvieu, Texas. Case involved significant cost overruns stemming from engineering, procurement, construction, and project management. After a 3-month bench trial, the defendants paid Enterprise $115 million to settle the case.

US Pipeline, Inc. v. Northern Natural Gas Company
Represented U.S. Pipeline in lawsuit regarding pipeline construction in Omaha, Nebraska. After a one-and-a-half week bench trial, judgment was entered in favor of U.S. Pipeline. Argued the appeal to the Nebraska Supreme Court, who affirmed the judgment.

Occidental Energy Marketing, Inc., et al. v. NuStar Logistics, LP
Represented plaintiffs in a lawsuit focused on pipeline integrity.  The dispute arose from a project to refurbish and reverse flow on an existing NuStar pipeline for Oxy to transport and export LPG; after the pipeline ruptured during the commissioning phase, Oxy terminated its contracts. Tried the case to the bench for several weeks.  Case settled after trial.

TexCal Energy South Texas, L.P. and Venoco, Inc. v. Denbury Onshore, LLC
Represented Venoco, Inc. in contract dispute regarding reversionary interest in oilfield centered on meaning of CO2-cost-related provisions.  After week-long arbitration hearing, three-member panel entered unanimous award in favor of Venoco.

Plains Gas Solutions, LLC v. Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, LLC, et al.
Represented a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan in a lawsuit relating to gas processing contract and divesture of certain offshore pipeline assets by TGP to a third company.  The parties settled on the eve of trial, with TGP paying nothing under the settlement agreement.

Houston Community College v. Renee Byas
Represented Houston Community College in a lawsuit with its former General Counsel and Acting Chancellor, who alleged termination in retaliation for attempts to expose allegedly illegal activity by college’s Board of Trustees.  The case settled prior to trial.

Gardner Denver, Inc. v. Houston Service Industries
Represented defendant in trade secrets case involving multistage centrifugal blowers utilized in wastewater systems and industrial applications.  In the middle of discovery, the plaintiff non-suited its claims with prejudice.

Eliel Ntakirutimana, et al. v. CHS/Community Health Systems, Inc., et al. 
Represented the CEO of national hospital system in lawsuit brought by two doctors alleging violations of federal RICO laws in connection with a Laredo hospital’s CEO having requested side payments from plaintiffs to maintain their contracts.  The case settled in the weeks preceding trial.

Pemex Exploracion y Produccion v. Big Star Gathering Ltd., LLP, et al. 
Represented a defendant in a lawsuit filed by the production subsidiary of the national oil company of Mexico against several defendants, alleging conspiracy to import, purchase, and/or sell natural gas condensate originally stolen from PEMEX by members of Mexican drug cartels.  Big Star and its principal settled the claims.

Bobbitt Noel, Jr. v. Devon Energy Production Co., LP, et al.
Represented the plaintiff in a fraud and breach of fiduciary duty case involving the buy-out of his minority interests in Chief Holdings, LLC (later acquired by Devon).  After five-week jury trial, court entered $196 million verdict in plaintiff’s favor. The case settled on appeal.

In Re: Estate of John M. O’Quinn, Deceased
Represented John M. O’Quinn Foundation, the sole beneficiary under the will of the late, legendary trial lawyer John O’Quinn, in dispute with Darla Lexington, O’Quinn’s companion who claimed to have been his common law wife.  The case settled on the eve of trial.

William S. Kaye v. Lone Star Fund V (U.S), LP, et al.
Represented former officers of Bruno’s Supermarkets, LLC in suit brought on behalf of unsecured creditors alleging breaches of fiduciary duty. Obtained dismissal of all claims at motion to dismiss stage.

Litigation Against Former Directors of Peregrine Systems, Inc.
Represented certain former directors of Peregrine Systems, Inc. in various lawsuits alleging securities fraud.

In re Guardianship of Lenny C. Katz: Jerold B. Katz v. Gross, et al.
GC Services Limited Partnership, et al. v. Gross
Represented an individual in related actions involving allegations of malfeasances as trustee of several large trusts and as officer of two privately held companies. All claims against the client were either dismissed at summary judgment stage or pursuant to a settlement agreement (entered into on the eve of trial) under which the client paid nothing.

Kay Dobbs, as Trustee on behalf of The Jeffrey P. Dobbs Irrevocable Trust, et al. v. American International Group, Inc.et al.
Represented life insurance beneficiaries in suit against insurer to recover $25 million in benefits owed, which had been denied under suicide exclusion. The parties entered into a settlement agreement in the weeks before trial.

Willis Group, LLC and Seis-Strat Services, L.L.C. v. Antares Enterprises, L.P. et al.
Represented claimants in arbitration proceeding regarding earn-out payments pursuant to a company purchase agreement. Claimants prevailed after week-long arbitration.

Education

Harvard Law SchoolJ.D.cum laude2004

Rice UniversityB.A.magna cum laude2001

Recognition

Ranked in Chambers USA
  
“Leading Lawyer” – USA Nationwide Oil & Gas Litigation, 2022-2023
  “Leading Lawyer” – General Commercial Litigation , 2021-2023  
  “Up and Coming” – TX Litigation: Energy & Natural Resources, 2017

Named in Legal 500 US
  
Recommended in General Commercial Litigation, 2019, 2022-2023
  Recommended in Energy Litigation, 2013, 2019-2022

Named in Benchmark Litigation, 2015-2024  
  Named a “Future Star,” 2020-2024
  Named to the “Under 40 Hot List,” 2017-2019

Named to Lawdragon Guides 
  “500 Leading Litigators in America,” 2022 (Inaugural Issue)-2024
  “500 Leading Energy Lawyers,” 2024    
  “500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers,” 2019-2024
  “The Plaintiff Issue,” 2020-2021 

Named a “Texas Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters, 2020-2023

Named a “Texas Rising Star” by Texas Super Lawyers, 2013-2019

Admissions and Certifications

State Bar of Texas
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
United States District Court for the Western District of Texas

Memberships and Affiliations

Houston Bar Association, Member
  Diversity & Inclusion Committee (2020-2021)

Houston Bar Foundation, Fellow

Texas Bar Foundation, Member

Bearings Legal Resources, Editorial Board Member

Presentations and Publications

Panelist: “Texas New Business Courts: What Attorneys and Businesses Need to Know,” Institute for Energy Law – 75th Annual Energy Law Conference, February 22, 2024, Houston, TX

Panelist: “Texas Business Courts: What Lawyers and Businesses Need to Know,” The South Asian Bar Association of Houston, September 29, 2023, Houston, TX

Moderator: Summer Associate Luncheon, HBA Diversity & Inclusion Committee, June 22, 2021, Zoom Session

Panelist: “APA Women Charting Successful Career Paths,” State Bar of Texas APIS, December 10, 2020, Zoom Session

Panelist: “In the Courtroom: Making the Presentation to Win,” Young Litigator Oil & Gas Conference, November 13, 2019, Spring, TX

Panelist: “’Objection: I Don’t Like This Testimony.’ Honing and Owning Your Trial Skills,” Asian Pacific Interest Section of the State Bar of Texas, 23rd Annual Conference, April 26, 2018, Austin, TX

Speaker: “What Attorneys Expect from Systems Administrators Preserving & Collecting ESI and from Computer Forensics Experts”  University of Houston – Computer Forensics Class, April 2013, Houston, TX

Panelist: “The Beginning of the End: Opportunities and Pitfalls in the Run-up to Trial,” North American South Asian Bar Association (NASABA) Convention, June 25, 2011, Los Angeles, CA

Speaker: “Your Honor, May It Please The Court…”: Working in the Area That Best Suits Your Interests, National Association of Muslim Lawyers Annual Conference, April 2006, Washington, DC

Press