Jeffry J. Cotner

Of Counsel
713.650.8805

jcotner@gibbsbruns.com

After nineteen years with the firm, including two years as its Managing Partner, Jeff retired from the partnership in May 2011.  Jeff remains affiliated with the firm in an Of Counsel position but now spends most of his days traveling, cycling, or enjoying his friends and family.  Jeff contributed immeasurably to this firm’s success over the years for which his former partners are extremely grateful.

Prior to joining the firm, Jeff practiced as a CPA in Oklahoma and then attended Harvard Law School where he graduated magna cum laude in 1992.  Jeff’s litigation practice has included securities and accounting fraud suits representing both plaintiffs and defendants.  His experience also includes partnership disputes, legal and accounting malpractice actions, contract disputes, and more.

Jeff is an avid cyclist and an instrument-rated private pilot.  He has completed three Ironman triathlons, including Ironman Brazil in 2008.  Jeff is a Sooner fan.

Representative Matters

National Century Financial Enterprises Securities Litigation
In this ongoing litigation in Ohio and Arizona federal courts, we represent a post-bankruptcy litigation trust and the institutional holders of over $1.5 billion of asset-backed notes.  The suit has included claims against underwriters, trustees, and auditors.  Net settlements for our clients to date exceed $500 million.  Jeff had primary responsibility for claims against two national accounting firms, which resulted in combined net settlements of over $100 million.  In re National Century, 541 F. Supp. 2d 986 (S.D. Ohio 2007).

Peregrine Securities Litigation
We represented former directors of Peregrine Software in several securities fraud suits in San Diego courts.  Jeff led the accounting and audit-related aspects of the litigation and had primary responsibility for the effort resulting in summary judgment based on federal SLUSA preemption, which dismissed claims by a post-bankruptcy trust seeking over a half billion dollars.  Primary cases have settled favorably after summary judgments and dismissals in favor of our clients.

Dow v. Arthur Andersen
We represented the Arthur Andersen accounting firm, defending claims alleging Andersen colluded with Enron to violate duties Enron owed a joint venture partner.  Plaintiff Dow sought $400 million.  We were hired to take over the litigation from another firm.  Jeff had primary responsibility for the engagement and wrote the motions that resulted in complete summary judgment obtained for Andersen.

National Gypsum Post-Bankruptcy Litigation
Defended mutual fund giant Fidelity against claims by a class of asbestos-litigation claimants in connection with the bankruptcy of the National Gypsum corporation.  Plaintiffs alleged Fidelity’s conduct during the bankruptcy had caused them $400 million in damages.  Jeff was primarily responsible for summary judgment briefing resulting in dismissal of all claims against Fidelity on res judicata grounds.  The case settled favorably while Plaintiffs’ appeal was pending.

Enron Securities Litigation
We represented Enron’s outside directors in claims arising from Enron’s collapse.  Jeff was involved in the initial phases of the litigation and played a significant role in obtaining a dismissal of the federal securities fraud claims that were based on alleged insider trading patterns.

Mid-American Waste Securities Litigation
We represented a group of mutual funds managed by Merrill Lynch suing underwriters and accountants in New Jersey federal court.  The claims arose out of notes issued by an Ohio landfill company, then one of the largest in the country.  After prevailing on Defendants’ motions to dismiss, the claims were settled favorably during discovery.

Other Legal and Accounting Malpractice Defense Matters
Along with partner Kathy Patrick, Jeff represented a major New York law firm in a suit brought by the former CEO of Furr’s Cafeterias.  The case settled during trial in Austin, Texas.

Kathy and Jeff later represented the same firm in connection with a dispute in Delaware chancery court concerning a merger involving Dow Chemical Company.

Jeff has also represented a large Texas-based law firm defending claims of malpractice in connection with certain tax and limited partnership advice.

Jeff represented Arthur Andersen in multiple cases involving that firm’s tax and audit practices.  Cohen v. Arthur Andersen, LLP, 106 S.W.3d 304 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2003, no pet.)

Other Partnership and Corporate Disputes
Jeff has handled a variety of disputes involving partnership, joint ventures, and other fiduciary issues:

Represented a prominent Houston family in multiple disputes concerning the ownership and operation of family partnerships.

Represented a Houston oil and gas company against its former CEO in a dispute involving the CEO’s improper conduct and the CEO’s claim that he had been improperly ousted.

Represented an El Paso manufacturer as plaintiff in a joint-venture contract dispute with two Chinese electronics companies.

Represented a Houston-based consulting partnership against claims by a former consultant alleging an ownership interest in the firm.

Other Contract Disputes
Jeff represented a pipe manufacturer in claims by a pipeline developer concerning a South American pipeline across the Andes mountains.  The case resolved favorably shortly after our clients’ summary judgment motions were filed.

Jeff currently represents the same pipeline manufacturer in another dispute, this one involving its supply of over 400 miles of pipe for an oil pipeline in Wisconsin and Illinois.

Jeff started his legal career working with Phil Bruns on the Quantum Chemical v. The M.W. Kellogg litigation involving the construction of a chemical plant in LaPorte, Texas.

Education

Harvard Law SchoolJ.D.magna cum laude1992
  Managing Editor, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy

University of OklahomaB.B.A.with Special Distinction1986
  Medallion of Academic Excellence

Admissions and Certifications

C.P.A. (retired), 1987-2012, Oklahoma Board of Public Accountancy
State Bar of Texas1992
Admitted to various federal district and circuit courts

Memberships and Affiliations

Houston Bar Association, Member
Houston Bar Foundation, Fellow
Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow

Presentations and Publications

“The Professional Objector and Revised Rule 23: Protecting Voice Rights While Limiting Objector Abuse,” 24 Rev. Litig. 609 (2005)