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Harry M. Reasoner

Harry M. Reasoner Partner, Commercial & Business Litigation

“‘Magnificent lawyer’ Harry Reasoner is widely seen as one of the most talented trial lawyers of his generation. He puts his formidable advocacy skills to play in both civil litigation and arbitrations, and has extensive experience handling proceedings related to antitrust, securities, insurance and tort.” (Chambers USA, 2017). Harry practices primarily in complex civil litigation. He has served as lead trial counsel in litigation and arbitration involving antitrust, securities, insurance, contract, and tort claims in the billions of dollars. He has also handled the appeals of multimillion dollar verdicts in matters not originally tried by the firm, including antitrust, insurance, oil and gas, RICO, securities law, utility regulation, and UCC issues. In recent years, He has represented major oil companies, investment bankers, chemical companies, pipeline companies, television networks, and computer companies. 

Experience Highlights

  • (N.D. Tex.) — Settled a Lanham Act claim very favorably after obtaining summary judgment on RICO and antitrust counterclaims
  • (5th Cir.) — Won two appeals in the Fifth Circuit challenging EPA’s disapproval of Texas pollution regulations
  • (Tex. Dist. − Tarrant Cnty.) — Defeated an attempt by dissident limited partners to take control of the general partner of a master limited partnership
  • Obtained full value of General Motors bonds for hedge fund owner in bankruptcy proceedings
  • Lead trial attorney for a V&E team that represented, in a contingent fee antitrust case, the ETSI Pipeline Project, a joint venture attempting to build a coal slurry pipeline, in a suit brought against various western railroads; the case resulted in a jury verdict and subsequent judgment of $1 billion in damages with a net amount of $425 million ultimately received by the client against the nonsettling defendant
  • Lead trial attorney for a V&E team that defended Brown & Root and its parent, Halliburton, in a $20 billion action brought by the owners of the South Texas Nuclear Project, alleging that, in designing, engineering, and constructing the plant, numerous errors were committed, resulting in delay of completion of the plant and cost over runs on the project; successfully settled for less than 1% of claimed damages
  • In Dallas Times Herald v. Dallas Morning News, obtained a take-nothing jury verdict for the Morning News in a $100 million antitrust suit brought by a failing newspaper-competitor shortly before it went out of business
  • Defended CBS Inc. in Kastrin v. CBS Inc., a libel suit in El Paso; obtained a jury finding that the 60 Minutes broadcast did not libel the plaintiffs

Trials

  • (Del. Ch.) — In American General Insurance Company v. Continental Airlines, obtained a $120 million judgment for the plaintiff in a Delaware shareholder litigation
  • Obtained in arbitration between Westlake Monomers Corp. v. B.F. Goodrich Co. the dismissal of a $300 million preferential purchase rights claim against the defendant
  • Obtained an award in an eight-month arbitration in the District of Columbia for an oil and gas company over the allocation of responsibility for product defects between manufacturers in a polybutylene pipe litigation
  • (S.D. Tex.) — Obtained summary judgment on antitrust claims and dismissal of telecommunications claims in a $600 million case brought by Premiere Network Services, Inc. against SBC Communications, Inc
  • In First Nationwide Bank v. FDIC, obtained a $90 million judgment for a leading financial institution against the United States for retroactive legislation improperly depriving it of tax benefits in savings and loan bailouts

Appeals

  • (5th Cir.) — In Sandwich Chef of Texas v. Reliance National Indemnity Insurance Co., et al., obtained decertification in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit of a nationwide RICO class against the nation’s workman’s compensation insurers
  • (Tex.) — For Central and South West Corp., obtained a reversal of Texas PUC orders (1) excluding $2 billion in nuclear power plant construction costs and (2) retroactively lowering rates and denying tens of millions of dollars in tax benefits on behalf of major public utilities in four separate cases before the Supreme Court of Texas
  • (5th Cir.) — In Stinnett, et al. v. Colorado Interstate Gas Co., obtained affirmance in the Fifth Circuit of the denial of a $500 million claim by oil and gas royalty owners
  • (5th Cir.) — In Doe v. MySpace, obtained affirmation by the Fifth Circuit of dismissal of a highly publicized, unprecedented case arising from the statutory rape of a 14-year-old girl by a man she allegedly met on MySpace.com

Contact Details

Houston

T +1.713.758.2358
F +1.713.615.5173
hreasoner@velaw.com
1001 Fannin Street
Suite 2500
Houston, TX 77002
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Harry's Practices

  • The University of Texas Law School, J.D. first in class, 1962 (Editor, Texas Law Review; Chancellors; Order of the Coif)
  • Rice University, B.A. Philosophy summa cum laude, 1960 (Phi Beta Kappa; Delta Phi Alpha)
  • University of London, Rotary Foundation Fellow studying international law and comparative law of competition and monopoly, 1962 - 1963
  • Vinson & Elkins L.L.P., Houston, 1964; partner since 1970; managing partner, 1992 – 2001
  • Judicial clerk to The Honorable Charles E. Clark, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 1963 - 1964
  • Admitted to practice: Texas; District of Columbia; New York
  • Euromoney’s Benchmark Litigation, "Top 100 Trial Lawyers" in America for 2015 and 2017
  • The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White, Inc.), in Business Litigation, since 1985; Commercial Litigation, 2008—2017; Antitrust Law and Bet-the-Company Litigation, 2008—2017; Litigation – Regulatory and Enforcement (SEC, Telecom, Energy), 2012−2017
  • Chambers Global:  The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business, trial lawyers, since 2007
  • Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, trial lawyers, antitrust, energy & natural resources, since 2003
  • Euromoney’s Benchmark Litigation, "Litigation Star" in Texas, 2016−2018
  • Selected to the Texas Top 100 Super Lawyers list, Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters), since 2003
  • Who's Who Legal (Law Business Research Ltd.); Competition, 2016 and 2017; Litigation, 2016 and 2017
  • Appointed: Texas Access to Justice Commission, Supreme Court of Texas, 2006; Chair, 2009-
  • Fellow: American College of Trial Lawyers; International Academy of Trial Lawyers; International Society of Barristers; American Law Institute; American Board of Trial Advocates; American, Texas, and Houston Bar Foundations
  • Chaired: District Court Advisory Group for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas under the Civil Justice Reform Act; Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law
  • Served: Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee; Supreme Court of Texas Judicial Campaign Finance Study Committee; Texas Supreme Court Task Force on Civil Litigation
  • Trustee: University of Texas Law School Foundation; The Center for American and International Law, Trustee Emeritus (Chair of Institute for Litigation Studies); U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society