Named the “Father of the Litigation Boutique in Texas” by The Texas Lawbook, Robin Gibbs has over 45 years of experience in handling high-stakes commercial litigation matters. Robin’s practice, and that of his firm, focuses exclusively on business and commercial litigation in a wide array of areas, including contract, energy, oil and gas, antitrust, trade secret, legal malpractice, securities, director liability, intellectual property, construction, and partnership disputes. Robin received the“Lifetime of Excellence in Advocacy Awards” from TACTAS and the “J. Chrys Dougherty Good Apple Award” from Texas Appleseed, 2018; the “Ronald D. Secrest Outstanding Trial Lawyer” award from the Texas Bar Foundation, 2017; the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Texas Lawyer, 2017; and the Trial Lawyer of the Year” award from TEX-ABOTA, 2012.
Robin joined Vinson & Elkins in 1971 where he tried insurance defense cases. He left the firm in 1974 to form the full-service firm of Wood, Campbell, Moody & Gibbs P.C., where he focused on the development of a trial group. In 1983, Robin and the trial lawyers formed Gibbs & Bruns LLP, formerly Gibbs & Ratliff L.L.P., focusing its practice on all forms of high-stakes commercial litigation. Gibbs & Bruns is a nationally recognized litigation boutique acclaimed for its high-value and precedent-setting work across the banking, energy, technology, construction, and financial services sectors, among others. The firm is renowned for its signature lean trial teams and representation of both plaintiffs and defendants in complex matters.
The Texas Lawyer named Gibbs & Bruns the winner of its “Litigation Department of the Year,” 2014 and 2016; Benchmark Litigation named Gibbs & Bruns to its “Top Ten Plaintiffs Firm” list, 2016; The National Law Journal named Gibbs & Bruns to its “Elite Trial Lawyers” feature, 2014 and 2015; Law 360 named Gibbs & Bruns one of the “Most Feared Plaintiffs Firms” and a “Texas Powerhouse” in 2014; The Financial Times named Gibbs & Bruns the “Top US Litigation Firm” in its feature “US Innovative Lawyers,” 2012; the firm was named to The National Law Journal’s inaugural “Litigation Boutiques Hot List,” 2012; The American Lawyer named Gibbs & Bruns a top four U.S. litigation boutique in 2009; and the firm was twice named to The National Law Journal’s “Plaintiffs Hot List.”
Zachry Construction Corporation v. Port of Houston Authority of Harris County, Texas
In this case, which was closely watched by the construction industry in Texas and across the country, Gibbs & Bruns recovered more than $37.2 million for its client, Zachry Construction Corporation, after a successful trial and multiple appellate proceedings that established numerous legal principles favorable to Zachry regarding construction law and governmental immunity.
Following a complex three-month jury trial against the Port of Houston Authority—and a resulting jury verdict for Zachry—the trial court entered a final judgment on April 28, 2010 awarding Plaintiff Zachry $23.4 million in damages. This breach of contract lawsuit arose from the Port’s last-minute rejection of a contractually approved construction method Zachry intended to use to build a 2000-foot wharf facility. Prior to trial, we successfully defeated several summary judgment motions filed by the Port seeking to dismiss the case in its entirety. We also won several pre-trial rulings that narrowed the issues to be tried in Zachry’s favor.
On appeal, the Fourteenth Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s judgment. The Texas Supreme Court granted review and reversed the appellate court’s decision, finding in favor of Zachry, and remanded the case to the court of appeals for further consideration. In December 2016, the Fourteenth Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s $23.4 million judgment. On September 1, 2017, the Texas Supreme Court denied the Port’s petition for review, and the judgment became final. The Port paid Zachry more than $33.5 million to satisfy the judgment, including post-judgment interest, and also agreed to pay more than $3.8 million in retainage that the Port had withheld during the litigation.
Harris County, Texas, et al. v. International Paper Company, et al.
Gibbs & Bruns represented Waste Management, Inc. and Waste Management of Texas, Inc. in a case brought by Harris County, Texas alleging over 40 years of discharges into the San Jacinto River from a dump site containing paper mill waste that was abandoned in the late 1960s. Citing various sections of the Texas Water Code and Texas Administrative Code, Harris County sought daily penalties of over $3 billion from Waste Management and McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corporation (a/k/a MIMC), the company that performed the disposal operations in the 1960s, and which many years later, became a wholly owned subsidiary of Waste Management of Texas, Inc. Shortly before trial, the court granted a summary judgment dismissal of all claims against Waste Management, Inc. After the close of the evidence at trial, the court granted a directed verdict holding that the waste site constituted one facility for statutory purposes, meaning that Harris County could not multiply the penalties by three. On the morning closing arguments were scheduled, Harris County agreed to settle with Waste Management of Texas and MIMC for $29.2 million.
Futch v. Baker Botts
Gibbs & Bruns represented Baker Botts against a malpractice claim brought by a former client that alleged Baker Botts provided the U.S. government, pursuant to an investigation, information that resulted in the client later pleading guilty to criminal charges. The client alleged breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and equitable fee forfeiture claims against Baker Botts. Gibbs & Bruns obtained summary judgment on all claims at the trial court by arguing that the former client was impermissibly fracturing his claims, that his claims were barred because a felon cannot sue his attorneys for damages stemming from his conviction, and that no forfeiture claim exists where a party did not pay its own fees. Gibbs & Bruns continued to represent Baker Botts on appeal, and the Fourteenth Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment on all claims.
United States of America ex rel. Ivey Woodard v. DaVita, Inc.
Gibbs & Bruns achieved a favorable settlement on behalf of DaVita, Inc., one of the world’s largest providers of dialysis services. DaVita had been sued in a substantial and complicated qui tam lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas, in which a private individual pursued claims on behalf of the United States government. The claims involved allegedly improper over-administration and billing for a commonly used anti-anemia drug over a 15-plus year time period. Under the settlement, in which DaVita denies all wrongdoing, DaVita obtained a complete dismissal with prejudice, will not be subject to a corporate integrity agreement or other oversight program, and will continue full participation in government healthcare programs. Our firm was selected for this high-profile matter because of our successful record of trying major litigation matters of this complexity.
In Re: Estate of John M. O’Quinn, Deceased
Robin and the firm represented the John M. O’Quinn Foundation, the sole beneficiary under the will of the late, legendary trial lawyer John O’Quinn, in a dispute with Darla Lexington, O’Quinn’s companion who claimed she was entitled to a substantial portion of O’Quinn’s Estate. After successfully defeating Ms. Lexington’s challenge to the Foundation’s standing to participate in the case as a party in the trial court and her subsequent petitions for writ of mandamus to the First Court of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court, and obtaining favorable summary judgment and pretrial rulings, the parties entered into a settlement agreement just days before trial was scheduled to begin.
SourceGas Distribution LLC v. Noble Energy, Inc.
Following a complex five-week trial, a Houston jury returned a verdict for client SourceGas Distribution LLC against Noble Energy, Inc. The jury determined that Noble breached its Gas Purchase Agreement (GPA) with SourceGas by selling SourceGas natural gas at above-market prices that SourceGas was not obligated to purchase under the GPA. Judge Patricia J. Kerrigan submitted the question of contract interpretation to the jury. In addition to a claim for damages, the contract dispute involved tens of millions of dollars worth of impact on future performance under the contract. On November 17, 2011, the jury determined that SourceGas’s contract interpretation was correct, found that Noble breached the GPA, and awarded damages of approximately $4.58 million. The jury also rejected Noble’s counterclaims for breach of contract against SourceGas, under which Noble sought approximately $1.5 million in damages. On April 24, 2012, the court entered final judgment in favor of SourceGas for over $6 million, including attorneys’ fees.
Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America LLC v. Kinder Morgan Kansas, Inc.
Robin and his team represented Kinder Morgan in an arbitration against Myria Holdings, Inc. Myria owns 80% and Kinder Morgan owns 20% of Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America LLC (NGPL). Kinder Morgan is the operator of the pipeline pursuant to an Operations and Reimbursement Agreement. NGPL is the largest pipeline operated by Kinder Morgan. Myria contended that Kinder Morgan breached the O&R Agreement by improperly allocating certain general and administrative costs to NGPL in the 2011 budget. The case was arbitrated in Philadelphia in July 2011. In a final decision, the arbitrator concluded that Kinder Morgan’s interpretation of the key contractual provision was correct. The arbitration award was confirmed by Judge Steven Kirkland in the 215th Harris County District Court on December 16, 2011.
Bobbitt Noel Jr. v. Devon Energy Holdings LLC, et al.
Gibbs & Bruns served as trial counsel for Plaintiff Bobbitt Noel in a fraud and breach of fiduciary duty case involving the buyout of minority interests in Chief Holdings, LLC. Mr. Noel won a $196 million judgment after a five-week jury trial and defeated all of Defendants’ counterclaims. Defendants appealed the case. Following oral arguments in the 14th Court of Appeals in November 2012, the parties reached a confidential, mutually acceptable settlement that fully resolved the matter.
WTG Gas Processing, L.P. v. ConocoPhillips, et al.
Robin and his team successfully defended ConocoPhillips against claims arising from its sale of some natural gas pipelines and processing plants. Plaintiff WTG Gas Processing, L.P. (WTG) alleged it had an oral contract to purchase the assets and filed suit against ConocoPhillips seeking damages for breach of contract, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation and further filed claims for tortious interference with a contract or prospective business relationship against ConocoPhillips’ financial advisor and the asset purchaser. Robin was retained to represent ConocoPhillips in December 2005. In October 2007, the trial court granted full and final summary judgment for ConocoPhillips and the remaining defendants, and WTG appealed. On February 23, 2010, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment dismissing all claims against ConocoPhillips, holding that ConocoPhillips had conclusively negated the existence of any contract with WTG. The court held that, under bid procedures communicated to each of the potential purchasers, ConocoPhillips unequivocally stated its intent not to be bound to any contract in the absence of a final, executed purchase and sale agreement and that WTG’s evidence was insufficient as a matter of law to show waiver of those rights. Because ConocoPhillips negated the existence of any contract with WTG, the court also affirmed the dismissal of WTG’s claim for tortious interference. WTG filed a petition for review with the Supreme Court of Texas, which was denied on January 14, 2011 after full briefing on the merits.
Huntsman Corporation v. Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, et al.
Gibbs & Bruns secured $1.7 billion net settlement package for Huntsman in a Texas trial, including $1.1 billion in financing and $632 million in cash, the largest cash settlement payment ever recovered with respect to a busted LBO.
Clear Channel Communications, et al. v. Citigroup Global Markets, Inc., et al.
Pivotal representation of CC Media in its $26 billion acquisition of Clear Channel Communications.
In re Enron Corp. Securities, Derivative and ERISA Litigation
This case involved the successful representation of the Outside Directors of Enron’s Board in over 100 cases and related federal, state, and administrative investigations that arose from Enron’s collapse. The firm’s clients cooperated fully with respect to all requests for testimony from enforcement personnel and criminal prosecutors and were not charged with any criminal or regulatory violations of the securities laws.
Trafalgar Holdings, et al. v. LennarPartners, Inc., et al.
This was a bench trial handled on behalf of the developer and builder of apartment buildings. Robin and his team obtained a $13 million award in this wrongful foreclosure matter.
Slosburg Company, et al. v. Law Engineering & Environmental Services, Inc.
Represented the developer of an apartment complex against an engineering company for failure to monitor a construction project. The case was tried to a jury and our client was awarded in excess of $3 million for damages arising out of soil compaction problems. The case was affirmed on appeal.
In re Azurix Corp Securities Litigation
Gibbs & Bruns represented Defendant Azurix Corporation, an Enron affiliate, in a series of class-action securities-fraud claims brought by individuals who purchased the company’s stock in an IPO. The claims were dismissed by the trial court for failure to state a claim under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. The trial court’s order was affirmed by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Mischer Corporation, et al. v. Heil Quaker Corporation, et al.
Robin and the firm represented a Plaintiff distributor and obtained a $4.1 million judgment, following a five-week jury trial, against a Defendant manufacturer for breach of a joint venture agreement.
Avia Development Group, Inc., et al. v. American General Realty Investment Corporation, et al.
Gibbs & Bruns secured a $309 million verdict for Plaintiff Avia Development Group in case against Defendant American General Realty involving American General’s breach of its joint venture and contractual arrangements to develop air cargo facilities at the Newark and JFK airports. Judgment was entered and the verdict was affirmed in all respects by an intermediate court of appeals. The case settled favorably for our clients.
Quantum Chemical Corp. v. The M.W. Kellogg Company
Gibbs & Bruns won an $11.5 million verdict for Defendant M.W. Kellogg Company in a construction suit in which Kellogg was sued for $260 million in actual damages plus $400 million in exemplary damages. A no-fraud and zero damages verdict resulted for Plaintiff Quantum. The firm secured the $11.5 million verdict for Kellogg on its misappropriation of trade secrets counterclaim. The case settled favorably on the counterclaim.
Stinnett, et al. v. Colorado Interstate Gas Company v. Mesa Operating Limited Partnership
Robin and his team were counsel for Defendant in a royalty suit alleging underpayment of royalties, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligent misrepresentation. Pre-trial damages claims exceeded $400 million; demand at trial exceeded $61 million. The jury found that Plaintiffs were barred from pursuing their claims and that Plaintiffs’ damages were less than $150,000. Based on the jury verdict, the trial court entered a take-nothing judgment and entered a declaratory judgment on Defendants’ behalf barring future claims. Judgment was affirmed on appeal by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Apex Municipal Fund, Inc., et al. v. N-Group Securities, Inc., et al.
Gibbs & Bruns won an $84 million verdict for Plaintiff clients in a suit alleging violations of federal and state securities laws arising out of the issuance and sale of $73 million in mortgage revenue bonds used to develop six private prisons in Texas.
Petromax, Inc., et al. v. First City National Bank
Gibbs & Bruns won a $0 defense verdict—on all liability issues and zero damages—for First City National Bank in a lender liability case involving claims of $10 million in actual damages and $34 million in punitive damages. The case was affirmed on appeal.
Boyce Engineering International v. McNair Energy Services Co.
Gibbs & Bruns secured a $60 million jury verdict for Plaintiff Boyce Engineering in a breach of joint venture agreement. Case settled favorably on appeal.
Basil Narun v. Allied Mercantile Bank, et al.
Gibbs & Bruns won an $8 million lender liability verdict against Allied Bank of Texas for Basil Narun.
Creole Production Co. v. James Harper
This case was a trade secrets matter in which Robin successfully defended against Plaintiff’s $25 million damage claim. The firm won a defense verdict—zero damages and no liability.
University of Texas, J.D., 1971
Case Note Editor, Texas Law Review
Phi Alpha Delta
Tulane University, B.A., 1968
Recipient of the “Lifetime of Excellence in Advocacy Awards” from TACTAS, 2018
Recipient of the “J. Chrys Dougherty Good Apple Award” from Texas Appleseed, 2018
Described as “the godfather of trial lawyers” by clients in Chambers USA, 2018
Recipient of the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Texas Lawyer, 2017
Named the “Ronald D. Secrest Outstanding Trial Lawyer” by the Texas Bar Foundation, 2017
Named “Father of the Litigation Boutique in Texas” by The Texas Lawbook, 2016
Named a “Trial Ace” by Law 360, 2015
Named in “The Best of the Best USA” top 30 litigators in the US by Euromoney Legal Media Group, 2015
Named TEX-ABOTA (American Board of Trial Advocates) Trial Lawyer of the Year, 2012
Listed on Top 15 Trial Lawyers in the U.S. List, International Commercial Litigation
Recognized by Legal 500 USA
Named a “Leading Trial Lawyer,” 2011-2018
Named a “Leading Lawyer” for Energy Litigation, 2008-2018
Named to Inaugural Legal 500 Leading Lawyers “Hall of Fame,” 2017
Recommended in General Commercial Disputes, Securities Litigation – Plaintiff
Listed in Chambers USA, 2003-2018
Named a “Leading Lawyer” in General Commercial and Energy Litigation
Named a “Nationwide Top Trial Lawyer”
Listed in Chambers Global, 2007-2019
Recognized as a “Top US Trial Lawyer”
Listed in Best Lawyers in America, 1993-2019
Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Antitrust Litigation,
Construction Litigation, Securities Litigation, Legal Malpractice Law – Defendants
Named in Best Lawyers in America “Lawyer of the Year”
“Securities Litigation Lawyer of the Year” Houston, 2012
“Bet-the-Company Litigation Lawyer of the Year” Houston, 2011
Named in Benchmark Litigation, 2009-2019
“Top 100 US Trial Lawyer,” 2015-2019
Named a “Texas Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters, 2003-2018
Named the “Number One” Texas Super Lawyer – 2017
Named to “Top 10” Texas Super Lawyers List, 2006-2007, 2010, 2014-2018
Named to “Top 100” Texas Super Lawyers List, 2003-2011, 2014-2018
Named to “Top 100” Houston Super Lawyers List, 2003-2018
Named to Lawdragon 500
”Hall of Fame” Inductee, 2019
“Leading Lawyers in America” List, 2010-2018
Named to “Top 25 US Litigators” list by Expert Guides – Best of the Best USA, 2009-2017
Named one of the World’s Leading Litigators by Who’s Who Legal: Litigation, Who’s Who Legal, The International Who’s Who of Commercial Litigators, 2006-2017
Named a Leading Individual for Dispute Resolution by Practical Law Company, 2007-2012
Named Texas Law Review’s “Dean Leon Green Award” Recipient, 2010
Named Anti-Defamation League’s “Karen H. Susman Jurisprudence Award” Recipient, 2008
Named a “Go-To” Lawyer for Securities Litigation by Texas Lawyer, 2002
Featured in “Texas’ Big Guns,” The National Law Journal, featuring top Texas litigators with national reputations, 1999
State Bar of Texas
Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of Texas
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
United States District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of Texas
American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
American Board of Trial Advocates, Advocate
President, Houston Chapter (2008)
The International Society of Barristers, Fellow
The American Law Institute, Member
International Network of Boutique Law Firms
President, Houston Chapter
American Bar Association, Member
Texas Bar Association, Member
Houston Bar Association, Member
Houston Bar Foundation, Fellow
Harris County Bar Association, Member
American Bar Foundation, Fellow
Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow
The University of Texas Law School Foundation, Trustee since 2008
Foundation Chair (2015-2018)
Vice President (2012-2014)
The University of Texas Law Alumni Association
Executive Committee (2002-2003)
Texas Law Review Association
Texas Supreme Court Historical Society, former Trustee
Chenailles Refuge – Costa Rica
Co-Founder: Environmental Protection Education Program
Robin is a frequent CLE presenter on topics involving trial mechanics and tactics.
Panelist, “The Art of Business Litigation: A Conversation (Business & Ethics) and CLE,” University of Houston Law Center, October 23, 2018, Houston, TX
Speaker, “Trial Demonstration: Zachry v. Port of Houston Opening Statement,” Construction Law Foundation of Texas, 31st Annual Construction Law Conference, March 1, 2018, San Antonio, TX
Panelist, “The Art of Business Litigation,” American Lawyer Media, October 21, 2015, Houston, TX
Panelist, “The Art of Business Litigation,” American Lawyer Media, October 1, 2014, Houston, TX
Author: “Corporate Fiduciary Duties,” State Bar Litigation Section Report: The Advocate, Fiduciary Duties, Vol. 68, Fall 2014 (co-author Angus Joe Dodson)
“Professionalism: An Essential Aspect of Our Practice of Law,” The Houston Lawyer, July/August 2010
“Hunting Mega-Fauna In Montgomery County – The Huntsman Case,” Lawyers Who Stare at Goats CLE, Conroe, TX, 2010
“Pleading the Fiduciary Litigation Case,” Fiduciary Litigation, State Bar of Texas CLE, May 6, 2004, Houston, TX (co-author Caren Sweetland)
“California Energy Issues: Litigation, Ethics, Retail, Pipelines and Regulation,” Enron Corp. Law Conference CLE, 2001
“Preparing a Case for Trial,” Inside Story: Great Texas Trial Lawyers Tell Their Secrets, Houston Bar Association, CLE, January 15, 1999, Houston, TX
“Federal Practice Guide (Fifth Circuit: Federal Civil Practice Before Trial),” Ch. 7, Lawyers Cooperative Publishing Company, New York, 1996
“The Emergence of Boutique Law Firms in Commercial Litigation,” Int’l Commercial Litig., A Special Supplement to the Dec. 1996/Jan. 1997 Issue, Euromoney Publications PLC 1996:12-15
“Implied Covenants Litigation,” Tactical and Legal Considerations In the Use of Experts In Energy and Environmental Litigation CLE, ABA Section of Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law, May 10, 1991
“Developing A Plaintiff’s Pretrial Strategy and the Use of Tangible Evidence,” Houston Bar Association CLE, 1990, Houston, TX (co-panelist Jennifer Josephson)