Home » Attorneys » Hinson, Kelli M.

"Opposing counsel say they lay awake at night wondering about my next strategic move."

Kelli Hinson knows the law. That’s what other lawyers say about her.

When she presents an argument, they see aspects of the case they hadn’t considered, and often have to rethink their position. That is the kind of advocacy it takes to overturn $88 million verdicts and win major summary judgments and dismissals for your clients.

As head of Carrington Coleman’s Professional Liability group, Kelli helps navigate cases for major law firms, healthcare institutions, and corporations, and the professionals who run them.

Her ability to clarify a professional’s and corporation’s legal duties—to plaintiff’s attorneys, judges, and juries—often brings these cases to quick and successful conclusions. She applies the same informed expertise to shareholder disputes, derivative claims, and officer and director suits, making her a “go-to” attorney for business litigation.

Being an amazingly quick study, she has yet to meet a legal problem she couldn’t eventually master. Her meticulous dissection of cases against her clients can leave the other side wondering what hit them.

The high school teacher who told her during a debate project that she’d make a good lawyer had no idea how right she was.

Experience

Legal Malpractice Defense
Obtained summary judgment in bankruptcy court on a legal malpractice claim against a large international law firm arising out of alleged malpractice in connection with out-of-court restructuring negotiations and bankruptcy. The court found that plaintiff’s fraud claims were an impermissible attempt to fracture its malpractice claims and held that the rest of plaintiff’s claims were barred by the doctrines of res judicata and judicial estoppel. The summary judgment was affirmed on appeal to the district court.

Represented two attorneys in federal court in a case alleging RICO violations, fraud, and other causes of action arising out of an alleged conspiracy between certain lawyers and chiropractors to defraud the plaintiff insurance company in connection with personal injury claims. Plaintiff dismissed our clients before it was required to respond to the attorneys’ motion to dismiss.

Successfully represented a prominent Dallas law firm against a sanctions motion seeking, among other things, to void the clients’ settlement agreement based on alleged misrepresentations at mediation.

Represented a large Texas law firm in a case involving alleged malpractice by the firm’s estate planning attorneys. Plaintiff alleged that the attorneys failed to recommend that his mother form a Family Limited Partnership to reduce her estate taxes. The parties reached a confidential settlement.

Medical Malpractice Defense
Obtained dismissal for the chairman of the board of a national hospital organization in a medical malpractice case. The jury later awarded over $22 million against the remaining defendant.

Obtained dismissal for hospital defendant (affirmed on appeal) in a medical malpractice case alleging that the doctor’s and the hospital’s negligence during patient’s labor resulted in injury to a newborn baby.

In a case alleging sexual assault by a healthcare provider, obtained a partial summary judgment for the hospital on the basis that the sexual assault, if it occurred, was not within the course and scope of the healthcare provider’s employment with the hospital.

Non-Compete and Trade Secret Litigation
Represented an insurance brokerage company in an “employee raiding” case in which the leading producer and regional manager left the company with 10 other employees to form the Dallas office of a competing company. The parties reached a confidential settlement after we obtained a temporary restraining order against the former employees.

Represented three consultants who were sued by their former employer for breach of fiduciary duty and usurpation of corporate opportunities. The court entered a take-nothing judgment against the plaintiff after a bench trial.

Other Commercial Cases
Obtained reversal of an $88 million judgment in a case brought by a minority shareholder alleging shareholder oppression, malicious suppression of dividends, breach of contract, and derivative claims against the majority shareholder. The Dallas Court of Appeals reversed and rendered, ordering that plaintiff take nothing.

Won a motion to dismiss the claims against her client who served as outside counsel and on the board of directors for a privately-traded company that ultimately filed bankruptcy.  The plaintiff’s bankruptcy trustee claimed, among other things, that the lawyer breached his fiduciary duty and had a conflict of interest.  Plaintiff sought over $27 million.

Obtained reversal of a class certification in Fort Worth in a case involving an alleged agreement to pay bonuses for the execution of oil and gas leases.

Represented a major airline in a construction dispute in which the contractor alleged over $17 million in damages. The parties reached a confidential settlement after the airline prevailed on numerous pretrial motions.

Represented officers and directors against claims for breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, fraud, fraudulent transfers, and other claims arising out of the bankruptcy of a large food distribution company. The plaintiff sued 26 defendants, asserted 27 causes of action, and sought in excess of $300 million in alleged damages. The parties reached a confidential settlement.

Represented a publicly-traded oil and gas company in an oil pollution case filed by a land-owner seeking over $38 million in alleged clean up costs under the federal Oil Pollution Act. The district court granted summary judgment, which was affirmed on appeal to the Fifth Circuit, on the basis that the discharges of oil and salt water about which the plaintiff complained were not discharges into “navigable waters” and, therefore, were not covered by the Oil Pollution Act.

Speeches/Publications

Speaker and Author: Does The Punishment Fit The Crime? The Struggle To Craft Remedies In Shareholder Oppression Cases, Texas Bar CLE, Damages in Civil Litigation course book (2013 and 2014).

Speaker and Author: What You Need to Know About Attorney Disqualification in Texas, presented with Hon. Judge Eric Moye at the DBA Legal Ethics Committee CLE (2013).

Author: Shareholder Disputes in Closely-Held Companies, Carrington Coleman Capital Newsletter (Fall 2013).

Speaker: Legal Malpractice Claims Arising in or Related to the Bankruptcy Context, TCBA Bankruptcy Section Luncheon (November 2013).

Author: Majority Rules? Waiting for the Texas Supreme Court to Define (or Reject) Minority Shareholder Oppression, State Bar of Texas Corporate Counsel Section Newsletter (Fall 2013).

Speaker, E-Mail Communications: It Doesn’t End When You Hit Send, Corporate Counsel Section CLE in Austin and Dallas (2013).

Author, Federal Judge in Texas Enforces Advance Conflict Waiver to Deny Disqualification Motion, Galderma Laboratories, LP v. Actavis Mid Atlantic LLC, No. 3:12-cv-2038, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24171, LPL eAdvisory (February 2013).

5th Circuit Affirms Trial Court Ruling that Insurance Company Has No Duty to Retain Independent Counsel in Malpractice Action.  Coats, Rose, Yale, Ryman & Lee, P.C. v. Navigators Specialty Ins. Co., No. 12–10055, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 21350 (5th Cir. Oct. 15, 2012). LPL eAdvisory, ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers’ Professional Liability (November 2012).

Author, Protecting the Secrets of In-House Counsel, Dallas Bar Association Headnotes, Vol. 37, No. 9, Pg. 10 (September 2012).

Speaker, Protecting the Secrets of In-House Counsel, General Counsel Forum, Houston Board of Directors (September 2012).

Author, Texas Court of Appeals Holds That State Courts Have Jurisdiction to Hear Legal Malpractice Cases Arising From Federal Antitrust Matters, ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers’ Professional Liability, LPL eAdvisory (August 2012).

Speaker, The Privileged Few: Attorney-Client Privilege for the In-House Lawyer, Dallas Bar Association Friday Clinic and Corporate Counsel Section meetings (2011).

Author and Speaker, Can You Keep a Secret? How Internal Disputes and Corporate Restructuring Can Affect the In-House Privilege, Texas State Bar Corporate Counsel Section Meeting (Dallas and San Antonio) (2011).

Author of annual Texas Survey of Professional Liability, published in SMU Law Review’s Texas Survey, 64 SMU L. Rev. 469 (2011); 63 SMU L. Rev. 729 (2010); 62 SMU L. Rev. 1383 (2009); 61 SMU Law Review 1047 (2008); 60 SMU Law Review 1233 (2007).

Chapter Author, Litigators on Experts: Experts in Legal Malpractice Cases, ABA Publishing (2010).

Author, Attorney Disqualification, Texas Bar Journal, November (2009).

Speaker: DAYL Dinner with the Judiciary, Member of ethics panel with Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson and Randy Johnston (2008).

Speaker: Dancing with Your Ex’s Ex – Contact with Your Adversary’s Former Employees, Member of speakers panel at DBA Ethics Committee CLE (2008).

Author and Speaker, Choosing, Using and Examining Expert Witnesses, presented at the University of Houston Law Foundation CLE, The Jury Trial, 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Author and Speaker, Recent Developments in Texas Legal Malpractice Law, presented at St. Mary’s Sixth Annual Symposium on Legal Malpractice and Professional Responsibility, 2007. 38 St. Mary’s Law Journal 1003 (2007).

Author, What Every Bankruptcy Lawyer Should Know About Legal Malpractice Claims in Texas, presented at the 26th Annual Jay L. Westbrook Bankruptcy Conference, University of Texas School of Law (2007).

Author, When Negligence Is Not Enough: Proving Causation in a Litigation Malpractice Case, ABA, Commercial and Business Litigation, Vol. 8, Issue 1, 2006. Reprinted, ABA, Professional Liability Litigation Alert, Vol. IV, Issue 1 (2007).

Author and Speaker, Five Things You May Not Know About Legal Malpractice Claims in Texas, presented at the Solo and Small Firm Section Meeting, Legal Ethics Committee Meeting, and North Dallas Clinic (2006).

Court Admissions

Texas, 1995

U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Education

Southern Methodist University
J.D., magna cum laude, 1995
Order of the Coif, SMU Law Review Association; Editor: 1995 Air Law Symposium, Hatton W. Sumners Scholar

McMurry University
B.B.A., summa cum laude, 1992

Associations/Affiliations

Co-Chair: ABA Commercial and Business Litigation Committee – Professional Liability Sub-Committee

Member and Past Co-Chair: Dallas Bar Association’s Legal Ethics Committee

2013-2014 Co-Chair: Attorneys Serving the Community

Advancement Chair: Boy Scouts of America, Troop 124

Member: United Way Young Leaders’ Society

Member: Dallas Breakfast Group

Past-President: Suicide and Crisis Center Board of Directors

Honors and Distinctions

D Magazine Best Lawyers in Dallas, 2014

Named to the Texas Super Lawyers list, as published in Texas Monthly magazine, 2012-2014

Named to Texas Rising Stars list, as published in Texas Monthly magazine, 2005-2011

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