Dylan Russell is a partner in Hoover Slovacek LLP’s appellate and litigation sections. He is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Only about 400 attorneys licensed in Texas currently hold this certification, out of over 100,000 licensed attorneys. Now in his nineteenth year of practice after joining the firm as a law clerk in 2002, his focus is on complex litigation and appeals. In his appellate practice, he has presented oral arguments to the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Second Circuit, the Supreme Court of Texas as recently as 2019, and to the lower appellate courts, including numerous times to the First and Fourteenth Courts of Appeals in Houston and the courts of appeals in Waco and Corpus Christi. In 2021, Mr. Russell presented oral arguments in person at the Tyler Court of Appeals and Houston’s Fourteenth Court of Appeals and via Zoom before the Beaumont Court of Appeals and Dallas Court of Appeals. In 2020, Mr. Russell argued twice to the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans just before COVID-19 pandemic and then via WebEx on the first day that the Court held virtual oral arguments. In 2021, Mr. Russell briefed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. He has won two petitions for writ of mandamus at the Supreme Court of Texas. In addition to the courts mentioned above, he has also briefed appeals in the courts of appeals in Dallas, El Paso, and San Antonio.
Mr. Russell has appeared in district courts for trial matters in counties throughout Texas, including Harris, Montgomery, Fort Bend, Galveston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Liberty, Bexar, Travis, Brazoria, Williamson, Burnet, Hardin, Lubbock, Brazos, Denton, and El Paso counties, among others. Mr. Russell also has appeared in federal courts and in state courts, pro hac vice, in states such as Florida, Missouri, New York, Connecticut, and Oklahoma.
In addition to addressing disputes before federal and state courts and private arbitrators, Mr. Russell has handled disputes before various judicial and administrative bodies including the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Public Utility Commission, the State Office of Administrative Hearings, and an administrative review panel of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. Subject areas of cases and matters that Mr. Russell has handled include the following, among others:
- Class-actions, including products liability, late-fee claims under Texas Property Code § 92.019, and water/wastewater overcharge claims under Texas Water Code § 13.505.
- Insurance defense coverage
- Anti-SLAPP actions under the Texas Citizens Participation Act
- Real estate
- Qui tam whistleblower and Federal False Claims Act
- Boundary line disputes
- Trespass to try title
- Implied reciprocal negative easement claims involving golf courses
- Deed restrictions
- Commercial and residential construction disputes
- Improper inspections
- Faulty concrete and commercial building construction
- Water drainage issues
- Residential construction issues
- Employer-employee relations
- Race, sex, age, and disability discrimination
- Covenants not to compete
- Theft of trade secrets
- Unemployment and wage claims
- FLSA overtime claims
- Corporate disputes
- Shareholder oppression
- Ownership of intellectual property rights
- Website domain name disputes
- Commercial landlord-tenant disputes
- Commercial sale of goods disputes involving metal building components and sand plant processing equipment
Mr. Russell has also handled numerous matters against federal and state governmental entities and agencies including:
- Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC)
- Department of Justice
- Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- Fannie Mae
- Local cities
- Municipal utility districts
- A Metropolitan transit authority
The governmental entity matters concerned various issues including:
- International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA)
- The Sudanese Sanctions Regulations
- Chapter 125 nuisance claims
- Discriminatory water rates
- Inverse condemnation
- Access easements
- Election contest disputes
- Administrative appeals related to municipal drainage fees
- Wrongful foreclosure
- Breach of contract claims
- Selected to the Rising Stars, 2011-2013 and Super Lawyers®, 2019-2022, as a Top-Rated Appellate Attorney in Houston, Texas. Super Lawyers® is a registered trademark of Thompson Reuters
- Hot Topics in Election Law: Recent Cases and Potential Issues (Panel Discussion), Houston Appellate Section (Houston Bar Association, 2020)
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS:
- Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists (TACTAS), Member
- Texas Supreme Court Historical Society, Member
- State Bar of Texas: Litigation and Appellate Sections
- Houston Bar Association: Litigation, Appellate, and Federal Practice Sections
- Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit
- Fort Bend County Bar Association
REPRESENTATIVE APPELLATE CASES:
- As lead counsel, argued and briefed appeal where court of appeals affirmed final summary judgment reinstating fire fighter and granting back-pay and benefits because Civil Service Commission decision upholding the termination was not free from the taint of illegality. City of Houston v. Cortez, No. 14-20-00565-CV, 2022 Tex. App. LEXIS 912 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Feb. 8, 2022, no pet.).
- As lead counsel, briefed appeal where court of appeals reversed award of attorneys’ fees under denied anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss. TotalGen Servs., LLC v. Thomassen Amcot Int’l, No. 02-20-00015-CV, 2021 Tex. App. LEXIS 471 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth Jan. 21, 2021, no pet.).
- As lead counsel in two related bankruptcy appeals, successfully reversed a bankruptcy court’s finding of no breach of contract, and in the second appeal, obtained a partial reversal increasing the contract damages award and adding attorney’s fees and interest. Sharp Iron Grp., LLC v. Total E&S, Inc. (In re CJ Holding Co.), No. H-18-1974, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 200651 (S.D. Tex. Nov. 27, 2018); Sharp Iron Grp. v. Total E&S, Inc., No. H-19-5022, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 249443 (S.D. Tex. Nov. 24, 2020).
- As lead counsel, obtained affirmance of take-nothing judgment and award of prevailing-party attorney’s fees, dismissing homeowner’s lawsuit against home builder. Keller v. Legend Home Corp., No. 09-17-00199-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 4433 (Tex. App.—Beaumont May 30, 2019, pet. denied).
- As lead counsel, successfully argued to the Supreme Court of Texas that the statute of limitations on civil conspiracy claims should be the period that applies to the underlying tort, not the blanket two-year period that the lower courts of appeals had decades applied to all torts: Agar Corp. v. Electro Circuits Int’l, LLC, 580 S.W.3d 136 (Tex. 2019). Video of Mr. Russell’s argument to the Court can be viewed here: http://www.texasbarcle.com/CLE/SCPlayer5.asp?sCaseNo=17-0630&bLive=&k=&T=.
- As lead counsel, briefed appeal where court of appeals affirmed jury finding in favor of homeowners’ association where homeowner unsuccessfully alleged that short-term rentals violated deed restrictions. Schack v. Prop. Owners Ass’n of Sunset Bay, 555 S.W.3d 339 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi-Edinburg 2018, pet. denied).
- As lead counsel, briefed appeal where court of appeals reversed key portions of trial court’s order denying anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss. Abatecola v. 2 Savages Concrete Pumping, LLC, No. 14-17-00678-CV, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 4653 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] June 26, 2018, pet. denied).
- As lead counsel, briefed petition for writ of mandamus and brief on the merits where Supreme Court of Texas ruled that the trial court abused its discretion by erroneously denying a motion to designate attorneys as responsible third parties in a real-estate transaction, after clarifying that such erroneous denials are ordinarily subject to mandamus relief: In re Coppola, 535 S.W.3d 506 (Tex. 2017) (per curiam).
- As lead counsel, argued and briefed a petition for review to Supreme Court of Texas where the Court reversed the lower court rulings on a commercial eviction in favor of the landlord’s right to possession, after clarifying the law on the effect of non-waiver clauses: Shields Limited P’ship v. Bradberry, 526 S.W.3d 471 (Tex. 2017). Video of Mr. Russell’s argument to the Court can be viewed here: http://www.texasbarcle.com/CLE/SCPLAYER.ASP?sCaseNo=15-0803.
- As lead counsel, argued and briefed an appeal to the First Court of Appeals where the court reversed a judgment against a condominium association and management company brought by unit owners relating to Hurricane Ike-damage insurance funds: AMI Ass’n Mgmt. v. Sprecher, No. 01-15-00791-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 7879 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Aug. 17, 2017, no pet. h.).
- As lead counsel, briefed interlocutory appeal of a district court’s temporary injunction order that prevented the filing of a commercial eviction lawsuit in justice court where the Fourteenth Court of Appeals reversed the injunction order: Midway CC Venture I, LP v. O&V Venture, LLC, 527 S.W.3d 531 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2017, no pet.).
- As lead counsel, briefed appellee brief where the Fourteenth Court of Appeals affirmed a final judgment ruling that the Houston Proposition 1 drainage fee ballot in 2010 was misleading, after a prior favorable reversal and remand from the Supreme Court of Texas: City of Houston v. Dacus, No. 14-16-00123-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 1131 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Feb. 9, 2017, pet. denied).
- As lead counsel, briefed petition for writ of mandamus and brief on the merits where Supreme Court of Texas ruled that the trial court abused its discretion by restricting access to and use of ballots related to a disputed amended deed restriction: In re Keenan, 501 S.W.3d 74 (Tex. 2016) (per curiam).
- As lead counsel, argued and briefed interlocutory appeal where the court of appeals ruled that anti-SLAPP motions to dismiss were actually denied by operation of law, despite written orders granting the motions and awarding approximately $100,000 in attorney’s fees: Inwood Forest Cmty. Improvement Ass’n v. Arce, 485 S.W.3d 65 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2015, pet. denied).
- Briefed petition for review, motion for rehearing, and brief on the merits where Supreme Court of Texas ruled the Houston Proposition 1 drainage fee ballot in 2010 was misleading, reversing the trial court and Fourteenth Court of Appeals decisions holding otherwise: Dacus v. Parker, 466 S.W.3d 820 (Tex. 2015).
- As lead counsel, argued and briefed to the Fourteenth Court of Appeals on an appeal by the opposing party after obtaining a favorable jury trial judgment for a sand processing plant distributor: Guniganti v. C&S Components Co. Ltd., 467 S.W.3d 661 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2015, no pet.).
- Briefed petition for writ of mandamus where the court of appeals reversed key parts of trial court’s order granting “death penalty” sanctions: In re RH White Oak, LLC, 442 S.W.3d 492 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2014, orig. proceeding) (per curiam).
- Briefed insured’s motion to court of appeals resulting in dismissal of insurer’s permissive appeal seeking to reverse trial court denial of summary judgment on coverage, which lead to trial court finding insurer had a duty to defend insured client: Great Am. E&S Ins. Co. v. Lapolla Indus., Inc., No. 01-14-00732-CV, 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 6746 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] June 24, 2014, no pet.).
- Briefed with co-counsel an emergency motion granted by the Texas Supreme Court staying significant parts of a trial court’s temporary injunction order in State of Texas nuisance case: In re Nabilco Inc. and D. Houston, Inc. d/b/a Treasures, Case No. 12-0852.
- Briefed appeal where the court of appeals reversed the trial court award of past-due commercial lease rent and rendered for the full amount sought at trial: MCN Spring Shadows, L.P. v. Kearney, L.L.C., No. 14-10-01180-CV, 2011 Tex. App. LEXIS 8075 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Oct. 11, 2011, no pet.).
- Briefed appeal where the court of appeals reversed and remanded the trial court’s granting of a plea to the jurisdiction of a water rate claim: Tara Partners, Ltd. v. City of South Houston, 282 S.W.3d 564 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2009, pet. denied).
- As lead counsel, argued and briefed appeal affirming money judgment for misapplied bank loan funds: Doss v. Homecomings Fin. Network, Inc., 210 S.W.3d 706 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi 2006, pet. denied).
- As lead counsel, argued and briefed appeal reversing default judgment for trespass to try title claim and remanding case to trial court: Henry v. Fest, No. 10-03-00313-CV, 2005 Tex. App. LEXIS 2852 (Tex. App.—Waco, Apr. 13, 2005, no pet.).
REPRESENTATIVE TRIAL COURT CASES:
- Won district court jury trial as first chair where the court found purchasers of sand plant processing equipment breached a contract with the distributor, resulting in a favorable judgment where the client received over $500,000 in damages and attorney’s fees.
- Won jury trial as first chair, recovering real estate agent bonus from national home builder.
- Won two district court trials as first chair, one to a jury and the other to the bench, where judgment was in favor of commercial landlord client.
- Successfully disposed of a $10,000,000 claim for tortious interference claim under the Texas Citizens Participation Act (Texas’s anti-SLAPP statute).
- Successfully disposed of two tortious interference claims totaling $39,000,000 in claimed damages under the Texas Citizens Participation Act (Texas’s anti-SLAPP statute).
- Successfully argued a certified question to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality where the Commissioners interpreted the Texas Water Code to prevent water districts from arbitrarily contravening the rights of ratepayers to appeal discriminatory water rates.
- Won district court trial as first chair where court found municipal utility district water rates charged to apartment community owner were illegal and arbitrary.
- As lead counsel, settled breach of escrow agreement case against United States agency where client received over $1.9 million of disputed funds.
- Successfully argued to the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to avoid centralization of multiple federal cases involving manufacturers of spray polyurethane foam: In re Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation Products Liability Litigation, 949 F. Supp. 2d 1364 (J.P.M.L. 2013).
- Along with co-counsel, advised Houston-based oil equipment manufacturer during five-year long federal investigation resulting in a negotiated settlement with the Department of Justice and OFAC regarding claims of violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations.
OUTSIDE AND CIVIC ACTIVITIES:
- Fort Bend County Democratic Party, General Counsel and Chair of Precinct #3127
- United States Running Streak Association, Inc. (http://www.runeveryday.com/)-Premier Member.
- Retired running streak from March 20, 2011 to December 30, 2013; current streak started April 9, 2014, including over seven years of at least a 5K a day.
- Completed five road marathons, five 50K (31 mile) trail races, a 42 mile training run, and a 60-mile run (attempt at a 100-miler).
- Fort Bend YMCA Soccer Coach, 2009-2011.
PAST EMPLOYMENT AND PROFESSIONAL POSITIONS:
- Intern for Judge Marcia Crone, U.S. Magistrate Court, Southern District of Texas, 2002.
- Intern for Justices John Anderson, Kem Frost, and Don Wittig, Fourteenth Court of Appeals, 2001.
- Professional Musician and Saxophonist, 1996 – 2000, performing with bands such as Duck Soup, Mr. Fabulous & Casino Royale, The Sharp 5 Jazz Quintet, Rocket 69, and the Elision Saxophone Quartet. While at U.T., performed with the U.T. Jazz Orchestra, U.T. Wind Ensemble, and U.T. Saxophone Choir.