Dylan Russell is a partner in Hoover Slovacek LLP’s appellate and litigation sections. He has been Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2017 and was recertified in 2022. Only about 400 attorneys licensed in Texas currently hold this certification, out of over 100,000 licensed attorneys. Now in his 20th year of practice after joining the firm as a law clerk in 2002, his focus is on complex appeals and trial litigation.
In his appellate practice, he has presented over 25 oral arguments in state and federal appellate courts. He has argued 5 times to the Fifth Circuit, including twice in 2022, once to the Second Circuit in New York, and 4 times to the Supreme Court of Texas, as recently as 2023. During the 2022-2023 term, Mr. Russell had 5 petitions for review granted by the Supreme Court of Texas, 3 of which were consolidated for oral argument in September 2022 and another was set for oral argument in March of 2023. Since 2015, Mr. Russell has had 11 petitions, including 2 petitions for writ of mandamus, granted by the Supreme Court of Texas. When he has been respondent in the Supreme Court of Texas, no petitioner has had their petition granted. In 2021, Mr. Russell briefed his first petition for a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court regarding a dispute about certain krypton-chloride excimer lamp technology, which asked whether state-court judgments confirming arbitration awards, including state-court orders clarifying such judgments, are “judicial proceedings” entitled to “full faith and credit in every court within the United States,” pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1738. As to Texas’s mid-level appellate courts, Mr. Russell has argued to the First and Fourteenth Courts of Appeals in Houston and the courts of appeals in Waco, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Beaumont, and Tyler. In addition to the courts mentioned above, he has briefed appellate cases in the courts of appeals in El Paso and San Antonio. Mr. Russell has also briefed two bankruptcy appeals, presenting oral arguments in one of them to the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. Mr. Russell has also attended trials as appellate counsel in federal district courts in Fort Worth and Houston and in a bankruptcy adversary proceeding in Fort Worth.
In his most recent argument before the Supreme Court of Texas, Mr. Russell argued on behalf of a mortgage lending company that sued its prior law firm for legal malpractice in an appeal under the Texas Citizens Participation Act (Texas’s anti-SLAPP statute), resulting in the unanimous Court reversal of the Tyler Court of Appeals, which reinstated the trial court’s order denying the law firm’s motion to dismiss. The official video of the argument can be viewed below:
In his trial practice, Mr. Russell has tried cases as first chair in Harris and Montgomery Counties, including several jury trials in Harris County. He appeared in numerous federal and state district courts in counties throughout Texas, including in 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.
- 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), Board of Directors
- 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, briefed and argued petition for review where the unanimous Texas Supreme Court reversed the Tyler Court of Appeals and affirmed the trial court’s order denying an anti-SLAPP (Texas Citizens Participation Act) motion to dismiss of a legal malpractice claim against a law firm for failing to secure damages in a default judgment in an underlying federal court case: USA Lending Grp., Inc. v. Winstead PC, 669 S.W.3d 195 (Tex. 2023).
- As lead counsel, briefed and argued petition for review where the unanimous Texas Supreme Court reversed the First Court of Appeals and the trial court’s class-certification order because the order failed to list the elements of pleaded defenses and address their effect on class-certification requirements: Mosaic Baybrook One, L.P. v. Cessor, 668 S.W.3d 611 (Tex. 2023).
- As lead counsel, briefed and argued appeal where the Dallas Court of Appeals affirmed a final judgment declaring parking agreement between commercial property owners enforceable and upheld award of attorney’s fees: Pasha & Sina, Inc. v. Shields Ltd. P’ship, No. 05-22-00197-CV, 2023 Tex. App. LEXIS 1559 (Tex. App.—Dallas Mar. 9, 2023, no pet.).
- As lead counsel, briefed appeal where the Beaumont Court of Appeals affirmed a final judgment, after a bench trial also tried by Mr. Russell, where court affirmed a permanent injunction and award of attorney’s fees against homeowner who violated the Texas Health and Safety Code by causing a public nuisance: Narzynski v. River Plantation Cmty. Improvement Ass’n, No. 09-21-00026-CV, 2023 Tex. App. LEXIS 1168 (Tex. App.—Beaumont Feb. 23, 2023, no pet.).
- Briefed petition for review and brief on the merits where Supreme Court of Texas reversed, in part, a plea to the jurisdiction that had dismissed a class-action case seeking relief such as reimbursement of drainage fees under a City of Houston ordinance: Perez v. Turner, 653 S.W.3d 191 (Tex. 2022).
- As lead counsel, briefed appellee brief where the Fourteenth Court of Appeals affirmed a final judgment dismissing claims and awarding fees and sanctions under the Texas Citizen Participation Act: Jetall Cos. v. Hoover Slovacek LLP, No. 14-20-00691-CV, 2022 Tex. App. LEXIS 2010 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Mar. 29, 2022, pet. denied).
- 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, briefed appellee brief where the First Court of Appeals affirmed a final judgment dismissing claims and awarding fees and sanctions under the Texas Citizen Participation Act: Jetall Cos. v. Ballases, No. 01-19-00305-CV, 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 8585 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Nov. 3, 2020, no pet.).
- 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:
- Committeeman for Senate District 13, Executive Committee, Texas Democratic Party
- General Counsel for Senate District 13 PAC
- Fort Bend County Democratic Party, General Counsel and Precinct Chair #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 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.