Home » Attorneys » Hinson, Kelli M.

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

Kelli Hinson knows how to craft legal arguments that win cases for her clients.

When she presents an argument, the other lawyers 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.

Kelli has handled claims against lawyers and law firms from almost every angle—serving as General Counsel of her firm, representing other lawyers and major law firms around the country, and serving on the Dallas Grievance Committee and the Texas Board of Disciplinary Appeals. She applies the same informed expertise to shareholder disputes, derivative claims, and employment cases, including non-competition, discrimination, and FLSA matters. Her broad range of experience makes her a “go-to” attorney for high stakes business litigation. Plaintiffs’ attorneys also seek out her briefing skills when multi-million-dollar personal injury cases are on the line.

When cases or issues get taken up on appeal, she is armed and ready.  Her talents in brief writing and in distilling complex legal arguments are a natural fit with her appellate practice. 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/ATTORNEY MISCONDUCT DEFENSE
Represented a large regional firm against claims brought by the bankruptcy trustee of a former client alleging the firm aided and abetted the client’s allegedly fraudulent business practices. The plaintiff sought over $129 million in damages. Kelli negotiated a resolution prior to any ruling on the firm’s motion to dismiss.

Obtained dismissal of breach-of-fiduciary-duty claims against a large national law firm based on the firm’s representation of parties in litigation adverse to a former client.

Represented a law firm accused of failing to appropriately advise the client’s board of directors that the client was involved in allegedly abusive tax shelters and fraud. The lawyer in charge served as outside counsel and was an investor in the company. Kelli was able to negotiate a confidential settlement.

Won a motion to dismiss the claims against a prominent Dallas attorney 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 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

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE DEFENSE
Obtained summary judgment for a hospital in a medical malpractice case by knocking out the plaintiff’s expert on causation. The case was affirmed on appeal, and the Texas Supreme Court denied the petition for review.

Represented a Dallas-area hospital in prosecuting fraud claims against several individuals involved in a scheme to sell the hospital substandard MRI and Cath Lab equipment. The hospital was able to negotiate a settlement with the defendants, and the individual defendants either pleaded guilty to or were convicted of federal crimes in connection with the scheme.

Represented a physician in litigation against her former practice group over the value of her equity in the company. The parties reached a confidential settlement.

Represented hospitals and doctors throughout Texas in medical malpractice cases involving, among other types of injuries, anoxic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, shoulder dystocia, endocarditis, sepsis, broken hips, and bed sores.

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.

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
Obtained multiple injunctions in favor of an insurance brokerage company against former employees who went to work for competitors and violated their non-competition agreements.

Obtained summary judgment on the enforceability of a non-competition agreement that prohibited “acceptance” of business from former customers as well as “solicitation.”

Obtained injunction against a former employee of a large national home health company who went to work for a competitor and began soliciting the former employer’s employees, patients, and referral sources.

Successfully defended a medical device rep against claim that he was violating his non-competition agreement with his former employer. Negotiated a resolution prior to any discovery or significant activity in the case.

OTHER COMMERCIAL CASES
Obtained a take-nothing judgment for a tech company client after a 6-day arbitration. The plaintiff alleged the client had violated the earn-out provision in the agreement to buy his company and sought over $5 million.

Represented attorney who was a member of a company specializing in the consignment and sale of jet engine parts against claims that he breached his fiduciary duties to his former employer in connection with setting up the business and that he defrauded another member in the business. Plaintiffs sought over $180 million. The parties reached a confidential settlement.

Obtained summary judgment based on limitations in case alleging fraud in connection with the procurement of government contracts.  Affirmed on appeal.

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.

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.

Reported Decisions

Bowling v. Dahlheimer, No. 4:18-CV-610, 2020 WL 5369984, at *1 (E.D. Tex. Sept. 8, 2020) 

Alliant Ins. Servs., Inc. v. USI Southwest, Inc., 2020 WL 5269421, at *1 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Sept. 3, 2020) 

USI Southwest, Inc. v. Edgewood Partners Ins. Ctr., 2020 WL 2220573, at *1 (S.D. Tex. May 6, 2020) 

Miller v. Lone Star HMA, 2018 WL 3991191 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2018, pet. denied) 

Go Frac, LLC v. Texas Pride Fuels, Ltd. 2017 WL 117319 (Tex. App. – Fort Worth 2017, no pet.) 

Lazo Technologies, Inc. v. Hewlett-Packard Co., 2016 W.L. 80952 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2016, pet. denied) 

Gibbs v. Lufkin Industries, Inc., 487 Fed. Appx. 916 (5th Cir. 2012) 

Argo Data Resource Corp. v. Shagrithaya, 380 S.W.3d 249 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2012, pet denied) 

Gibbs v. Lufkin Indus., 487 Fed. Appx. 916, 917 (5th Cir. 2012)

Nat’l Benevolent Ass’n of the Christian Church v. Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP, 333 Fed. Appx. 822, 823 (5th Cir. 2009)

Rice v. Harken Exploration Co., 250 F.3d 264 (5th Cir. 2001)

Bagley v. Beville, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180309 (D. Nev. Dec. 26, 2013)

Aircraft Fueling Sys. v. Southwest Airlines Co., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141175 (N.D. Okla. Dec. 8, 2011)

Owens Illinois, Inc. v. T&N Ltd., 191 F.R.D. 522, 526 (E.D. Tex. 2000)

Glencrest Res., LLC v. Ellis, 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 6827 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth Aug. 16, 2012)

Smith v. Southwestern Bell Tel. Co., 101 S.W.3d 698, 702 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2003)

Honors and Distinctions

Best Lawyers in America, 2021, Commercial Litigation, Products Liability Litigation – Defendants

Rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell

National Diversity Council Award, Dallas Top Women in Legal, 2019

Named to the Texas Super Lawyers list, as published in Texas Monthly magazine, 2012-2020

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

D Magazine Best Lawyers in Dallas, 2018-2020, Business/Commercial Litigation 

D Magazine Best Lawyers in Dallas, 2014-2017, Professional Liability Litigation

Named one of America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators for North Texas, 2018-2020

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

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

Associations/Affiliations

Vice Chair, The Board of Disciplinary Appeals (one of 12 members of the Board appointed by the Supreme Court of Texas) 2020-2021

Co-Chair, DBA Morris Harrell Professionalism Committee 2021

Co-Chair, DBA STEER Mentoring Program 2021

Vice-Chair, DBA Morris Harrell Professionalism Committee 2020

President of the Board: The City Club of Dallas 2020-2021

Member, Midlothian Citizens Bond Advisory Committee 2020

Member, Dallas Firm General Counsel Group

State Bar District 6 Grievance Committee – Member, 2017-2018

Former Member: Advisory Board, Dallas Women Lawyers’ Association

Former Barrister: Patrick E. Higginbotham Inn of Court, 2015-2018

Leadership Midlothian – Class of 2017

2015-2016 Chair: Attorneys Serving the Community Charity Selection Committee

Member: Attorneys Serving the Community, Co-Chair 2013-2015

Former Chair: Dallas Bar Association’s Legal Ethics Committee

Former Advancement Chair: Boy Scouts of America, Troop 124

Past-President: Suicide and Crisis Center Board of Directors

Speeches/Publications

Panelist, The Ethics of Practicing Law Remotely, ABA TIPS Virtual Section Conference (April 2021).

Panelist, Can You Keep a Secret: Protecting the Privilege of In-House Counsel, Texas General Counsel Forum Webinar, June 2020.

Panelist, Legal Ethics and Lawyering in a Pandemic and Post-Pandemic World, TAMU Law Webinar, June 2020.

Author: Good Client Communication Isn’t Just Good Customer Service, It Can Also Help Avoid Malpractice Claims, Texas Lawyer (September 2018).

Faculty: Midlothian Small Business Institute at Tarlton State University, Midlothian Campus

Co-Author: What You Need to Know About Recovery of Attorney’s Fees Under Chapter 38, The Advocate (Winter 2017).

Co-Author: Starting a Business with Family or Friends? Agree on the Five “Ds” to Avoid Disaster, Carrington Coleman Capital Newsletter (2016 Special Healthcare Issue).

Speaker: ALAS New Loss Prevention Partner Conference, Chicago, IL (2016).

Speaker: Northern District of Texas Bankruptcy Bench Bar Conference, presented with Judge Mark X. Mullin (2016).

Speaker: Texas Grievance Procedure, presented at the Dallas Bar Association’s “Ethics Fest” (2016).

Speaker: Privilege Pitfalls, presented with Magistrate Judge David L. Horan at the Dallas Young Lawyer Association’s “Dinner With The Judiciary” (2015).

Speaker and Author: Protecting The Privilege, Texas Bar CLE, In-House Counsel 101 Course Book (2015).

Panel Moderator: The Ethics of Working With Witnesses, Dallas Bar Association “Ethics Fest” (2015).

Co-Author: Texas Turns A Corner: Resolving Shareholder Disputes in Closely Held Businesses After Ritchie v. Rupe, 67 Baylor L. Rev. 339 (2015).

Speaker: Practicing Civility and Constructive Ways to Deal With Those Who Don’t, ABA TIPS Section Webinar (2015).

Author: Attorneys Serving The Community: Mixing Good Works With Good Business, ABA Section of Litigation, The Woman Advocate Newsletter (2015).

Author: Ethical Pitfalls in Mediation and Settlement, Dallas Bar Association Headnotes, Vol. 40, No. 3, Pg. 16 (March 2015).

Speaker and Author: Remedies for Minority Shareholders in the Wake of Ritchie v. Rupe, Texas Bar CLE, Damages in Civil Litigation Course Book (2015).

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).

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

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: Annual Texas Survey of Professional Liability, published in SMU Law Review’s Texas Survey, 66 SMU L. Rev. 1055 (2013); 64 SMU L. Rev. 469 (2011); 63 SMU L. Rev. 729 (2010)62 SMU L. Rev. 1383 (2009)61 SMU L. Rev. 1047 (2008)60 SMU L. Rev. 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).

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