Lee Kaplan has tried dozens of cases in state and federal courts, representing plaintiffs and defendants ranging from Fortune 10 corporations to individuals. In recent years he has had two cases that landed in the top 25 verdicts in Texas for those years. His docket has included oil and gas, construction, securities, antitrust, patent and trademark infringement, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, fraud, theft of trade secrets, shareholder rights, and class actions. He frequently handles "high tech" cases and enjoys mastering complicated business dealings or scientific concepts in order to present them concisely to other lay people (particularly judges and juries). Mr. Kaplan also serves as an arbitrator, often named to panels by prior opposing counsel. Here are some recent examples of his results (omitting confidential arbitrations and settlements):
In 2020, as co-lead counsel with partner Land Murphy, he secured a $158 million judgment for Vitol against Targa after a 19-day state court bench trial, believed to be the longest Zoom trial to date in Texas. The case arose out of Targa’s failure to reimburse Vitol’s prepayments when Vitol terminated the contract for Targa’s failure to meet Startup of a splitter facility.
In 2019, he served as co-lead counsel for plaintiff Align Technology in a patent suit; the defendant (represented by five law firms) settled four days before the jury trial for $51 million.
In 2017 he won a critical (and rare) ruling that Hyundai discriminated against a franchise dealer in vehicle allocations. The matter is still in litigation.
In 2015 he won a two-week federal jury trial alleging theft of trade secrets, obtaining a $12.2 million verdict and judgment in addition to four stipulated judgments of $28.5 million reached with four defendants prior to trial. Quantlab Technologies Ltd. (BVI) and Quantlab Financial, LLC, vs. Vitaliy Godlevsky, Andriy Kuharsky, Anna Maravina, Ping An, Emmanuel Mamalakis, and SXP Analytics, LLC, Case No. 09-cv-4039 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. The case was one of the top 25 verdicts in Texas in 2015. In 2017 the Fifth Circuit affirmed the judgment in all respects. In 2018 the District Court awarded attorney’s fees of over $9.6 million, including $3.22 million against each of the two defendants who elected to try the case, and observed that that they “engaged in litigation behavior so acrimonious, vexatious, and indefensible that their bad faith exceeds any that this judge has seen in his nineteen years on the bench.”
In 2014, he served as an arbitrator in a four-week hearing of a $100 million-plus construction dispute, having been appointed to the panel by a former opposing counsel.
Mr. Kaplan has been named one of the "Top 100 Lawyers in Texas" for 2019 and 2020, as well as a Texas SuperLawyer since 2003. He has also been listed every year since 2007 in Chambers USA, "Leading Lawyers for Business," for commercial litigation. Chambers has referred to him as “good on his feet” and quoted a peer who said "he just lights up the courtroom" and recognized him as among Texas’ leading individual commercial litigators. He has been elected to membership in the American Law Institute.
Mr. Kaplan has been a contributor on the radio show "The Price of Business" commenting on diverse topics such as the competitive value of patent protection, factors that drive settlement negotiations in commercial litigation and suggestions on how employers can protect themselves from the loss of intellectual property or from unjustified lawsuits claiming that they have misappropriated others' trade secrets. Lee has been quoted for publication on various important legal issues, including the 2014 Texas Supreme Court case Ritchie v. Rupe, which overturned decades of Texas law and severely restricted or extinguished the rights of minority shareholders in Texas, and the 2019 Texas Supreme Court case Rohrmoos Venture v. UTSA DVA Healthcare, which imposed strict guidelines for the recovery of attorney’s fees in civil cases.
As an Eagle Scout and the father of an Eagle Scout, he serves as an assistant scoutmaster for Troop 212.
Currently representing a bank in a sealed qui tam action in federal court against a hospital, the bank, and various individuals alleging violations of the Stark Amendment and the Anti-Kickback statute, as well as the Texas Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act, revolving around alleged incentives for referrals. The United States and the State of Texas are still considering whether to intervene.
Represented a plaintiff whistleblower in a False Claims Act qui tam action alleging that her employer (a provider) was defrauding Medicare by falsifying records of client/patient visits. Case settled with a payment to the United States and a whistleblower recovery.
Victory for Quantlab
Discussed briefly above, after winning a federal jury trial for the Quantlab companies in a significant trade secrets case in May 2015, Lee Kaplan, Ty Doyle and Alex Wolf secured a permanent injunction against the two defendants who elected not to resolve the case prior to trial. After extensive briefing and argument over the scope of the permanent injunction, the Court agreed with Quantlab that defendants Andriy Kuharsky and Emmanuel Mamalakis should be enjoined from use of Quantlab’s trade secrets, including a two-year prohibition on participation in the automated high-frequency trading business without application to and approval from the Court. Click here for a copy of the Court’s injunction. Kuharsky worked for Quantlab as a quantitative researcher for six years. Mamalakis is a Wisconsin attorney/investor who was the CEO of a company set up to exploit Quantlab’s trade secrets. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the trial court in all respects in 2017.
WesternGeco v. ION Geophysical, et al.
Discussed briefly above, Mr. Kaplan served as co-counsel for WesternGeco who sued for infringement of four patents covering state-of-the-art technology for marine seismic surveys. He conducted voir dire and examination of both sides' damages experts. After a confidential settlement with one defendant during trial, WesternGeco obtained a favorable jury verdict against ION on all issues, including willful infringement, and actual damages of $105.9 million ($12.5 million in reasonable royalty and $93.4 million in lost profits). The Court entered judgment for $123.8 million. The Federal Circuit sustained royalty damages of approximately $20 million, but struck the $93 million in lost profits damages. In June 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Federal Circuit, ruling that lost profits were available when infringing components were supplied from the United States with the intent to combine them overseas.
See full decision here: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-1011_6j37.pdf. The parties settled the case in 2020.
Oil and Gas
Mr. Kaplan successfully defended a Fortune 100 energy company in Alaska federal court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a $100 million lawsuit brought by another Fortune 100 energy company over an AMI agreement covering oil and gas leases.
Fraud and Contract
Mr. Kaplan successfully defended on appeal a summary judgment dismissing all common-law and statutory claims of breach of contract, fraud, and negligence in a case alleging approximately $400 million in actual damages plus additional punitive damages for purported design problems in a catalytic cracking unit.
Mr. Kaplan represented the Special Committee of a board of directors in the successful defense of state court litigation arising out of a going-private transaction.
Additional Representative Matters
Mr. Kaplan represented former employees in a federal class action, recovering $25 million plus $3.5 million in attorney's fees for 1,900 former employees in a federal class action against a Fortune 500 company brought under the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act (ERISA).
Mr. Kaplan served as the lead attorney for Plaintiff Software Rights Archive in patent litigation against multiple computer search engine companies, including Google, AOL, and Yahoo, resolved confidentially.
Mr. Kaplan successfully defended a multimillion dollar patent infringement suit in a federal trial, obtaining a judgment that the patent was unenforceable due to inequitable conduct.
Mr. Kaplan obtained summary judgment for the real estate arm of a Fortune 10 energy company against a developer seeking to void restrictions on a large tract on a claim of "changed conditions."
Mr. Kaplan represented a former executive of an international construction firm who cooperated with the U.S. Government in a wide-ranging investigation of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, resulting in corporate disgorgement and fines of $1.7 billion. His client received a greatly reduced sentence for his assistance.
Mr. Kaplan obtained a $9 million judgment (including price erosion damages) after being hired as lead plaintiff counsel by a Fortune 20 company just four months before a patent infringement trial. The court found infringement on both patents and granted a permanent injunction. All findings were affirmed on appeal.
He obtained summary judgment in Texas state court for a firm accused of various "toxic torts" at Louisiana petrochemical facilities; all other defendants settled in advance.
Mr. Kaplan has conducted special investigations for the Board of Directors of a Fortune 500 corporation and the Audit Committee of the Board of a NASDAQ-listed company.
On behalf of a national bank client, Mr. Kaplan obtained summary judgment in state district court against a medical center developer on claims of tortious interference, breach of confidentiality and negligence arising out of the bank's due diligence investigation.
In a claim alleging defamation and misappropriation of likeness, Mr. Kaplan obtained a summary judgment in federal court for a Fortune 500 technology company against plaintiff record promoters.
In Pennsylvania federal court, Mr. Kaplan obtained the voluntary dismissal of an antitrust suit alleging price discrimination and attempted monopolization by a commodity supplier.
Mr. Kaplan has also represented clients in numerous injunction proceedings, international and domestic arbitrations, mediations, and appeals, and as a mediator and an arbitrator.
Mr. Kaplan has served as an arbitrator in multiple arbitrations, many of which involved disputes in excess of $50 million.
Named to The Best Lawyers in America,
Commercial Litigation, Litigation - Intellectual Property and Litigation - Patent, 2017
Board Certified in Civil Trial Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, 1996
Named a "Top 100 Attorney in Texas" by Super Lawyers, 2019-2020
Chosen as Texas "Super Lawyer" by Thomson Reuters, 2003-2019
Chambers USA, "America's Leading Lawyers for Business," 2007-2019
Named "Local Litigation Star" by Benchmark Litigation, 2012-2019
Named "Houston Top 100 Lawyer" by Super Lawyers - Texas Edition, 2005-2009, 2013-2014, 2017, 2018, 2019
State Bar of Texas
United States Supreme Court
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
United States Court of Federal Claims
United States District Court for the Southern, Northern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas
Pro Hac Admissions:
United States District Court for the Northern District of California
United States District Court for the District of Washington
American Bar Association, various sections
American Board of Trial Advocates
American Intellectual Property Law Association
American Law Institute
Eagle Scout, Adult Leader for Troop 212
Houston Bar Association, Litigation, Entertainment and Sports Law, and ADR Sections
Houston Intellectual Property Law Association
Institute for Transnational Arbitration
London Court of International Arbitration
State Bar of Texas Committee on Professionalism, 2005-2007; 2009-2010
State Bar of Texas Committee on Pattern Jury Charges Vol. 3, 198 -1992; 1994-1998
Texas Aerospace Commission, 1994-1999 (gubernatorial appointment)
"Targa Must Repay $129M In Failed Crude Processing Deal"
Law360, October 19, 2020
"Vitol Scores $147M Verdict in Marathon Zoom Bench Trial"
The Texas Lawbook, October 20, 2020
"4 Ways To Intimidate Your Trial Opponent"
Law 360, July 2, 2015
"Drafting Common Sense Patents for Judges and Juries"
IP Litigator, March-April 2006
(co-authored with Michelle Greer Galloway and David L. Hitchcock)
Speeches and Panels:
“Effectively Representing Clients in Federal Court"
Speech to Federal Bar Association, 1/26/2021
“Virtual Trials in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond”
Speech to Houston Intellectual Property Law Association, 12/10/2020
"Voir Dire in Bits and Bytes"
Presentation and panel discussion, American Bar Association Tort and Insurance Practice Section
"Expert Witnesses and Damages"
33rd Annual Page Keeton Civil Litigation Course, 2009
(co-presented with Carmen Eggleston)
"Intellectual Property for Civil Litigators"
State Bar of Texas Advanced Civil Trial Course, 2006
(co-presented with John Patton)
"How to Make Opposing Counsel Respect (Or Fear) You"
July 2, 2015
Woodrow Wilson Scholar
University of Texas School of Law
J.D., with honors, 1976
Friars; Order of Barristers
Chair, Board of Advocates
to the Hon. Joe McDonald Ingraham
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Baker Botts, L.L.P.
Baker Botts, L.L.P.
Smyser Kaplan & Veselka, L.L.P.
Board Certified in
Civil Trial Law by the
Texas Board of
American Law Institute
Institute for Transnational Arbitration
London Court of International Arbitration
American Board of
Listed in Chambers USA,
Leading Lawyers for Business,