Education & Clerkship

  • J.D., summa cum laude, Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center (2009)
  • B.A., summa cum laude, Louisiana College (2006)
  • Law Clerk to the Hon. Edith Jones, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, (2009-10)
  • Bristow Fellow, Office of the Solicitor General of the United States (2010-11)
  • Law Clerk to Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court of the United States (2011-12)

Biography

Winning cases requires work ethic, attention to detail, mastery of the law, sharp legal writing, persuasive oral advocacy, and collegiality. Michelle Stratton offers these strengths and more to each of her clients. 

Her primary practice area is appeals. She has also handled briefing and oral argument in district court litigation and arbitrations. Michelle has been named a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” every year since 2019.

Michelle has written scores of briefs at every level of federal and state courts, and in a wide array of matters—contracts, healthcare, securities, federal criminal prosecutions, statutory interpretation, intellectual property, bankruptcy, civil torts, and environmental claims, for example. Michelle is also a respected oral advocate. She has argued appeals in the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fifth and D.C. Circuits, the Texas Supreme Court, and the Texas First Court of Appeals, and she has argued dispositive motions in both federal and Texas district courts. 

Michelle obtained an undergraduate degree in History and English, graduating with a 4.0 GPA. She then graduated first in her law school class, having scored the top grade in 20 courses. After law school, Michelle clerked for the Honorable Edith H. Jones on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She next served as a Bristow Fellow in the U.S. Office of the Solicitor General, where she prepared cases on behalf of the United States for briefing and argument in the U.S. Supreme Court and helped to shape the government’s litigation in the federal courts of appeals. Michelle then clerked for Associate Justice Clarence Thomas on the U.S. Supreme Court during October Term 2011. Michelle joined SKV after several years of federal and state appellate practice at a major international law firm in Houston. 

Outside of work, Michelle devotes her time to her three young children, whom she homeschools part time. She is also active in her local church, where she studies and teaches the Bible in the women’s ministry and her family hosts a weekly community group.

Representative Matters

UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT CASES

  • Briefed issue of judicial deference to federal agency pronouncement, representing amici school board and school superintendents association (Gloucester County Sch. Bd. V. G.G., No. 16-273)
  • Briefed the legislative evidence supporting Texas statute protecting women’s health, representing amici Bipartisan and Bicameral Coalition of 121 Texas Legislators (Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, No. 15-274)
  • Briefed merits case concerning whether the Bankruptcy Code permits attorney’s fees for time spent defending the attorney’s fee application (Baker Botts LLP v. ASARCO LLC, No. 14-103)
  • Successfully opposed certiorari on behalf of Episcopal diocese in church property dispute (The Episcopal Church v. The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, No. 13–1520)

 

UNITED STATES COURTS OF APPEALS CASES

  • Successfully briefed and argued appeal before the Fifth Circuit on behalf of pipe company seeking to arbitrate claims against a competitor for breaching their settlement agreement and related torts, persuading the appellate court that the agreement’s broad arbitration clause reached all claims and that the district court erroneously denied arbitration (Polyflow, LLC v. Specialty RTP, LLC et al., No. 20-20416)
  • Successfully briefed appeal before the Fifth Circuit on behalf of high frequency trading firm in trade-secret misappropriation case, defending a multi-million dollar jury verdict. (Quantlab Technologies Ltd. v. Andriy Kuharsky et al., No. 16-20242)
  • Successfully briefed consolidated appeals before the Fifth Circuit on behalf of energy companies, defending against conversion claims brought by Mexico’s national oil company (Pemex Exploracion Y Produccion v. ConocoPhillips et al., Nos. 14-20417, 14-20418)
  • Successfully briefed appeal before the Fifth Circuit defending energy company’s mandatory pilot retirement age against Age Discrimination in Employment Act challenge (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Exxon Mobil Corp., No. 13-10164)
  • Successfully briefed appeal before the Fifth Circuit on behalf of river authority in Endangered Species Act challenge, obtaining reversal of permanent injunctive relief (The Aransas Project v. Shaw, No. 13-40317)
  • Successfully briefed and argued criminal sentencing appeal before the D.C. Circuit on behalf of the United States. (United States v. Ventura, No. 09-3101)

 

TEXAS SUPREME COURT CASES

  • Briefed and argued breach-of-contract dispute on behalf of employer defending against employee’s post-termination sales commission claim; decision pending (Perthuis v. Baylor Miraca Genetics Laboratories, No. 21-0036)
  • Successfully defended intermediate Texas appellate court’s determination that major health insurer’s claims in alleged multimillion-dollar healthcare billing dispute were barred by the statutes of limitations (United Healthcare Services, Inc., et al. v. Gonzales, et al., No. 19-0028)
  • Successfully petitioned for review of an intermediate Texas appellate court decision concerning the evidence a trial court may consider when determining whether a child support obligor is in arrears; the Court agreed with petitioner and reversed (Ochsner v. Ochsner, No. 14-0638)
  • Successfully defended an intermediate Texas appellate court’s statutory interpretation of a public retirement system’s authority (Klumb v. Houston Mun. Emps. Pension Sys., No. 13­0515)
  • Successfully petitioned for review and obtained reversal on the merits in statutory interpretation appeal on behalf of phone and internet provider who requested reimbursement of equipment relocation costs from flood control district (Southwestern Bell Telephone, LP v. Emmett, No. 13-0584)

TEXAS APPEALS COURT CASES

  • Successfully briefed appeal of $1M jury verdict before the First Court of Appeals on behalf of genetic testing laboratory, persuading the appellate court—without oral argument—to reverse and render a take-nothing judgment because laboratory’s employment contract with its employee did not entitle employee to sales commissions after his employment ended (Baylor Miraca Genetics Laboratories, LLC v. Perthuis, No. 01-19-00095-CV)
  • Secured dismissal of appeal for lack of jurisdiction and successfully opposed related mandamus petition in the Thirteenth Court of Appeals on behalf of medical doctor and medical research company that prevailed in arbitration. (Shamim Memon and Discovery MM Servs., Inc. v. Carl Meisner, M.D. and Gulf Coast Med. Research, LLC, No. 13-20-00340-CV; In re Shamim Memon and Discovery MM Servs., Inc., No. 13-20-00477-CV)
  • Successfully briefed and argued appeal before the First Court of Appeals on behalf of multiple defendants in a healthcare fraud case brought by a national healthcare insurer. (United Healthcare Services, Inc. et al. v. Gonzales, et al., No. 01-17-00237-CV)

FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT CASES

  • Crafted trial memorandum in federal money laundering and Texas commercial bribery prosecution centering on alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
  • Briefed and argued opposition to motion to set aside default judgment against former Venezuelan oil minister on behalf of energy company
  • Successfully briefed and argued motion to dismiss on behalf of a hospital system in a False Claims Act retaliation case brought by a terminated employee
  • Successfully briefed motions to dismiss securities-fraud lawsuits on behalf of publicly-traded companies and company executives

TEXAS DISTRICT COURT CASES

  • Briefed motion for summary judgment on behalf of prescription drug distributor in opioid litigation
  • Successfully briefed and argued motion to dismiss on behalf of a hospital system in a putative class-action challenge to emergency room rates
  • Successfully briefed and argued a motion asking the trial court to reconsider its order vacating an $8M arbitration award obtained by a medical doctor whose office administrator embezzled funds and stole research clients; the trial court reinstated the award

ARBITRATIONS

  • Briefed and argued appeal to second arbitrator of first arbitration award on behalf of non-profit hospital system in contractual dispute with major health insurer over reimbursement rates
  • Obtained summary judgment in arbitration on behalf of an energy company in a contractual dispute over defense and indemnity for environmental liabilities

 

 

 

 

Associations

  • Board Member, The Federalist Society Houston Lawyers Chapter
  • Editorial Board Member, The Advocate

Michelle Stratton Argues Contract Dispute in the Texas Supreme Court

On February 2, SKV counsel Michelle Stratton argued on behalf of Respondent Baylor Miraca Genetics Laboratories in the Supreme Court of Texas.   In 2018, Brandon Perthuis sued Baylor Genetics, his former employer, for breach of contract, alleging that Baylor Genetics owed him over $1.5 million in sales commissions on sales that Baylor Genetics made after Perthuis ...

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