Marie R. Yeates Partner, Appellate

Marie is a practice group leader of the firm-wide Appellate practice. The firm’s Appellate practice group was formed in 1991 and is acknowledged to be “one of the largest and strongest appellate groups in the state” by Chambers USA.

Marie has presented 100 appellate oral arguments in federal and state appellate courts across the country. Regarding her “ability to pull together the many strands of an argument,” clients report that “[w]atching the firm’s appellate star, Marie Yeates in action is ‘like watching someone conducting an orchestra,’” (Chambers USA 2005). She has been involved in the appeal of various types of litigation, including commercial disputes, business torts, oil and gas, securities law, class actions, tax, trade secrets, labor law, and condemnation.

Marie is recognized as a top-tier appellate lawyer with a reputation for thoroughness, perfectionism, and unparalleled preparation. According to Chambers USA 2009, she “is noted for her impressive advocacy and rapid grasp of the most complex issues.” She “is a ‘go-to appellate expert,’ affirm clients, who value her ‘high level of excellence and hard-working approach,’” (Chambers USA 2008). In 2007, Chambers USA reported that clients view Marie as “‘incredibly tenacious and intensely focused,’ praising her reputation as a long-standing appellate lawyer with the accompanying experience. ‘She is a major force to be reckoned with.’” And, in Chambers USA 2006, “clients admired ‘the extremely smart’ Marie Yeates for her ‘intense dedication’ to her national appellate practice.” Chambers USA 2012 lauds Marie as a “rare talent” and, according to one source, she is an “outstanding appellate lawyer; very bright, very hard-working and known in particular for being meticulous.” This reputation is clearly widespread, with Marie described elsewhere as “truly amazing” and someone who “can take very complicated things and bring them together to form strong arguments.Since Chambersinstituted its ranking for appellate lawyers in 2005, Marie has consistently been recognized, each year, in the top category (Band 1) of appellate litigators in Texas. From 2009 to 2012, she was also given a national ranking by Chambers in recognition of the breadth of her appellate practice. Further, The National Law Journal (December 17, 2001) named her as one of America’s Top 50 Women Litigators.

Marie served as the Managing Partner of the Houston office from 2007 to 2014.

Experience Highlights

  • (Tex. App. − 9th − Beaumont) — Obtained reversal of a $100 million judgment based on claims of business disparagement and tortious interference with prospective business relations
  • (9th Cir.) — Obtained affirmance of the district court’s judgment dismissing RICO claims brought by a county government which sought, as damages, its alleged increased cost for providing government services purportedly caused by the presence in the county of illegal aliens
  • (Tex.) — Obtained a ruling unanimously striking down a procedure used by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission that improperly lowered the rates at which Texas hospitals are reimbursed for providing Medicaid services
  • (5th Cir.) — Obtained reversal of the judgment against our client, the former chief accounting officer of a major corporation, in a securities fraud case brought by the SEC
  • (Tex. App. − 5th − Dallas) — Obtained reversal of a $15 million judgment against our client in an asbestos case, where the appellate court based its ruling on its conclusion that the risk to a worker’s wife of second-hand exposure to asbestos was not foreseeable
  • (5th Cir.) — Obtained reversal of the district court’s refusal to dismiss securities fraud claims brought against The Shaw Group and certain of its officers
  • (Tex. App. − 14th − Houston) — Obtained affirmance of the dismissal, based on a forum selection clause requiring suit in a European country, of a theft of trade secrets case brought against our client
  • (5th Cir.) — Obtained affirmance of the district court’s judgment in favor of a gas trader that the jury had found liable for attempting to manipulate gas prices
  • (5th Cir.) — Obtained affirmance of dismissal in a putative class action asserting securities fraud
  • (Tex.) — Obtained reversal of a multimillion dollar judgment arising out of a dispute concerning whether a controlling shareholder owes a fiduciary duty to a putative shareholder in a closely held corporation
  • (Tex. App. − 14th − Houston) — Obtained affirmance of a summary judgment in the client’s favor dismissing claims for tortious interference with contract
  • (5th Cir.) — Obtained affirmance of the judgment of the district court dismissing a securities fraud case in which a stock owner sued the defendant corporation for fraud and negligent misrepresentation in connection with losses he sustained when share price fell
  • (Cal. App. – 2d Dist.) — Obtained affirmance of judgment granting a new trial in a case involving alleged fraud and breach of contract in a business franchise
  • (7th Cir.) — Obtained affirmance of a settlement approved by bankruptcy court following a $167 million adverse judgment against a corporate subsidiary in Mississippi state cou
  • (Tex. App. − 14th − Houston) — Obtained affirmance of the trial court’s summary judgment against a stock owner suing for fraud in connection with losses when share price fell
  • (Tex.) — Obtained rendition of take-nothing judgment in legal malpractice where the Supreme Court made a significant legal ruling that expert testimony is required on the issue of whether plaintiff in malpractice case would have prevailed in the underlying trial but for its attorneys’ alleged negligence in preparing and trying that underlying case
  • (Tex.) and (U.S.) — Obtained mandamus relief from the Texas Supreme Court and holding from Supreme Court that an employee’s mere access to trade secret documents at his place of employment does not constitute possession, custody, or control of those documents for purposes of discovery
  • (Tex. App. − Waco) — Handled for a large energy company the jury charge phase of a trial and the appeal to a successfully mediated settlement, from an adverse $140 million verdict on contract and fraud claims arising from an area of mutual interest agreement
  • (Tex. App − San Antonio) — Obtained reversal of a $3.4 million judgment against the client and rendition (in the Court of Appeals) of a take-nothing judgment on the basis of the statute of limitations, resulting in significant precedent concerning the Texas Medical Liability Insurance Improvement Act
  • (Tex.) — Obtained a ruling protecting a client’s trade secret tire formula
  • (10th Cir.) — Obtained affirmance of a class action settlement of various royalty owners in carbon dioxide litigation
  • (Tex. App. − 14th − Houston) — Obtained affirmance on appeal of the trial court’s judgment notwithstanding the verdict following an adverse jury verdict for several hundred million dollars
  • (Tex. App. − Corpus Christi) — Handled an appeal leading to a successful settlement from a $112 million adverse judgment involving alleged underground gasoline contamination from a service station
  • (Tex.) — Obtained Texas Supreme Court review and favorable settlement in a case involving the proper interpretation of the Texas Oil & Gas Division Order Statute
  • (Tex. App. − Austin) — Obtained from the trial court reversal of an adverse jury verdict of $12 million in a tortious interference, conspiracy, and trademark case, and then obtained affirmance from the Court of Appeals of trial court’s take-nothing judgment
  • (Tex. App. − Corpus Christi) — Obtained mandamus relief in this royalty dispute involving hundreds of millions of dollars, in which the trial court had struck the defendants’ defenses as a discovery sanction
  • (9th Cir.) — Obtained reversal in this tax case in which the appellate decision establishes significant precedent on the deductibility of free meals provided by employers who require their employees to stay on premises during meal hours
  • (Tex.) — Obtained a decision establishing significant limitations on recovery of emotional distress damages
  • (Tex.) — Obtained reversal of a $30 million judgment against our client in a decision that established important principles of UCC law
  • (Tex. Dist. − Harris Cnty.) — Obtained, for the defendant brokerage house, a judgment notwithstanding the verdict following an adverse $10.5 million verdict in a commercial fraud case
  • (Tex. Dist. − Jefferson Cnty.) — Handled jury charge phase of trial; Vinson & Elkins defended a pipeline company against claims by thousands of plaintiffs who sued after severe flooding in the San Jacinto River caused pipelines to be uncovered, rupture, and spill product into the floodwaters; The National Law Journal (April 6, 1998) listed this jury verdict in the defendants’ favor as one of the fifteen outstanding defense verdicts in the country in 1997
  • (Tex) — Obtained a decision establishing important principles concerning the reach of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act
  • (Tex. App. − 1st − Houston) — Handled jury charge, post-verdict motions, and appeal following a jury verdict for plaintiffs of several hundred million dollars in a commercial dispute involving issues relating to contract, partnership, and fiduciary duty law; Marie argued this case before the First Court of Appeals in Houston
  • (Tex. App. − 9th − Beaumont) — Obtained reversal of an $80 million judgment in this oil and gas dispute, and rendition of judgment, in defendants’ favor
  • (Tex. App. − Corpus Christi) — Obtained rendition of an $11 million wrongful termination judgment to $2 million
  • (Tex. App. − Austin) — Obtained, for a large grocery store chain, reversal of an adverse judgment in favor of the grocery store’s landlord following a bench trial
  • (Tex.) — Obtained ruling in a client’s favor delineating when a court “renders” judgment
  • (Tex.) — Obtained ruling in a client's favor that a trial court can "ungrant the grant of a new trial"
  • (Tex. App. − 14th − Houston) — Obtained settlement on appeal, following post-trial motions in the trial court and appellate briefing, when a large pipeline company was assessed a $74 million judgment following a jury verdict in the 55th Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas, in an oil and gas dispute
  • (Tex. App. − Corpus Christi) — Obtained mandamus relief from the appellate court directing the trial court to set aside the trial court’s order striking the defendants’ witnesses in this oil and gas royalty dispute in which the plaintiffs sought to recover $235 million
  • (Tex.) — Obtained a ruling on how a case should be tried following a default sanction on liability
  • (Tex. App. − 1st − Houston) — Obtained affirmance on appeal of a defense verdict in case in which members of the Navajo Indian tribe sought to hold a defendant oil company liable for tens of millions of dollars arising out of a dispute over termination of oil and gas leases
  • (5th Cir.) — Obtained affirmance on appeal for plaintiffs of judgment of $10 million in oil and gas dispute
  • (Tex. App. − Corpus Christi) — Obtained reversal of a $14 million adverse judgment against a national beverage manufacturer arising from a dispute between the manufacturer and its distributor, and rendition of judgment for the manufacturer

Case Citation

  • Fluor Enterprises, Inc. f/k/a Fluor Daniel, Inc. and Leslie Antalffy v. Conex International Corporation, 273 S.W.3d 426 (Tex. App. – Beaumont 2008, writ denied)
  • WTG Gas Processing, L.P. v. ConocoPhillips Co., No. 14-08-00019-CV, 309 S.W.3d 635, 2010 WL 695801 (Tex. App. – Houston [14th Dist.] Mar. 2, 2010, writ denied)
  • United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Dizona, 594 F.3d 408 (5th Cir. 2010)
  • Canyon County v. Syngenta Seeds, Inc., 519 F.3d 969 (9th Cir. 2008) (Marie’s oral argument appeared on CSPAN)
  • El Paso Hospital District d/b/a R.E. Thomason General Hospital, et al. v. Texas Health and Human Services Commission and Don Gilbert, Commissioner, 247 S.W.3d 709 (Tex. 2008);  see “High Court Invalidates Cutoff Date Used to Decide Medicaid Rates,” Vol. 23, No. 52, Texas Lawyer (Mar. 3, 2008)

    • United States Securities and Exchange Commission v. Snyder, 292 Fed. Appx. 391, 2008 WL 4218781 (2008), In the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
    • Indiana Elec. Workers’ Pension Trust Fund IBEW v. Shaw Group Inc., 537 F.3d 527 (5th Cir. 2008)
    • Alcoa, Inc., v. Behringer, 235 S.W.3d 456 (Tex. App—Dallas 2007, pet. denied)
    • Preda Consultants, Inc. et al. v. Shell International Exploration & Production, Inc., et al. 234 S.W.3d 679 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2007, pet. denied)
    • Financial Acquisition Partners L.P., et al. v. Keith Blackwell, Jonathan S. Pettee, Deloitte & Touche L.L.P., et al.; 440 F.3d 278 (5th Cir. 2006)
    • Michael T. Willis, Francie Willis, Urban Retreat of Houston, Inc., and Willis Hite Enterprises, Inc. v. Dan Donnelly, 299 S.W.3d 262 (Tex. 2006)
    • Robert F. Smith v. Waste Management, Inc.; 407 F3d 381 (5th Cir. 2005)
    • Valu Gas, Inc., et al. v. Equilon Enterprises LLC., 2005 WL 950133 (Cal. Ct. App. April 26, 2005)
    • In the Matter of A.G. Financial Service Center, Inc. v. American General Finance, et al., 395 F.3d 410 (7th Cir. 2004)
    • Kosti Shirvanian, Kosti Shirvanian and Marian Shirvanian in Their Capacities as Trustees of Kosti Shirvanian and Marian Shirvanian Family trust, and Ralph Tuffenkian and Savey Tufenkian in Their capacities as Trustees of Tufenkian Family Trust v. Earl E. Defrates; Rodney Proto, and Waste Management, Inc., 161 S.W.3d 102 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2004, pet denied)
    • Tom Alexander, Individually and Alexander & McEvily v. Turtur & Associates, Inc., 146 S.W.3d 113 (Tex. 2004); see “Texas High Court Demands Expert Testimony in Legal Mal Case,” Vol. 20 Texas Lawyer, September 6, 2004
    • In re Hal G. Kuntz, 124 S.W.3d 179 (Tex. 2003); see “Issue of First Impression Likely to Affect Discovery,” Vol. 19, Texas Lawyer, January 5, 2004
    • T-Bar X Limited Company v. Anadarko Petroleum Corporation; No. 01-05-16,218-CV; In the 82nd Judicial District Court of Robertson County, Texas, Texas Court of Appeals at Waco (2004)
    • Laboratory Corporation of America v. Compton, 126 S.W.3d 196 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2003, pet. denied)
    • In re Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., 106 S.W.3d 735 (Tex. 2003) (orig. proceeding); see “The Secret Recipe, Firestone Formula Safe from Plaintiffs in Tread-Separation Suits,” Texas Lawyer June 2, 2003
    • Rutter v. Wilbanks Corp., 314 F.3d 1180 (10th Cir. 2002), cert. denied, 71 U.S.L.W. 3641 (June 9, 2003)
    • Lee v. Lee, 47 S.W.3d 767 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2001, pet denied)
    • Coastal Mart, Inc. v. Timely Adventures, Inc., et al.; No. 13-00-00577-CV; In the Court of Appeals for the 13th Court of Appeals at Corpus Christi, Texas
    • Coastal Oil & Gas Corporation and Coastal Oil & Gas USA, L.P. v. Coates Energy Trust and Coates Energy Interests, Ltd.; No. 00-1093; In the Supreme Court of Texas (2001)
    • John Paul Mitchell Systems, Inc. v. Randalls Food Markets, Inc., et al., 17 S.W.3d 721 (Tex. App.—Austin 2000, pet. denied); see “Judge Voids Judgment Against Randalls, Wholesaler,” Houston Chronicle, November 21, 1998
    • In re Education Management, 14 S.W.3d 418 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2000, no pet)
    • In re Fina Oil and Chemical Co., Fina, Inc., Fina Natural Gas Co., Shell Western E&P, Inc., Shell Oil Co., Shell Gas Trading Co., Conoco, Inc., No. 13-98-640 CV, in the Thirteenth Court of Appeals at Corpus Christi, 1999 WL 33589153 (March 11, 1999)
    • Boyd Gaming Corp. v. C.I.R., 177 F.3d 1096 (9th Cir. 1999); seeLos Angeles Times article reporting on the Ninth Circuit’s decision; see “Employers May Deduct Meals Given to Workers; Court’s Ruling in Big Victory for Casino Operators, Hotels and Others that Need to Keep Employees on Premises During Work Hours,” Los Angeles Times, May 13, 1999, Business Section.
    • Standard Fruit and Vegetable Co., Inc. v. Johnson, 985 S.W.2d 62 (Tex. 1998); see “State’s High Court Rejects Veteran’s Suit, Houston Chronicle, January 14, 1999
    • Minnesota Min. and Mfg. Co. v. Nishika Ltd., 953 S.W.2d 733 (Tex. 1997), reversing and rendering in part, 955 S.W.2d 853 (Tex. 1997); 565 N.W.2d 16 Minn. 1997) (on certified question from Texas Supreme Court)
    • Hypernet Corporation v. Josephthal Lyon & Ross Incorporated, No. 95-044013, in the District Court, Harris County, Texas, 152nd Judicial District (1997); see “Firm Wins, Then Loses, Millions,” Houston Chronicle, December 17, 1997)
    • Ainsworth v. Colonial Pipeline Co., C.A. No. D-151,227, 136th Judicial District, Jefferson County, Texas (1997); In re Colonial Pipeline Co., 968 S.W.2d 938 (Tex. 1998) (orig. proceeding)
    • Armstadt v. U.S. Brass Corp., 919 S.W.2d 644 (Tex. 1996); The Texas Lawyer (September 5, 1994) (listing case as one of the most important cases of that Supreme Court term)
    • Avia Development Group-DFW, Inc. v. American General Realty Investment Corp., et al., No. 91-47852, in the District Court of Harris County, Texas, 61st Judicial District No. 01-93-1027-CV, American General Realty Investment Corporation v. Avia Development Group-DFW, Inc., No. 01-93-1027-CV (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 1996)
    • Prairie Producing Co. v. Angelina Hardwood Lumber Co., 885 S.W.2d 640 (Tex. App.—Beaumont 1994, writ denied), 882 S.W.2d 640 (Tex. App.—Beaumont 1994, writ denied); see “Judgment against Union Oil Reversed,” Houston Chronicle, August 30, 1994
    • Borden Inc. v. De La Rosa, 825 S.W.2d 710 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi 1991), judgment vacated, 831 S.W.2d 304 (Tex. 1992)
    • H.E.Butt Grocery Company v. Wolf, No. 03-92-00266-CV (Tex. App.—Austin 1993, no writ), appeal from 26th Judicial District Court of Williamson County, Texas
    • S&A Restaurant Corp. v. Leal, 892 S.W.2d 855 (Tex. 1995), reversing 883 S.W.2d 22 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 1994); see “Unsolicited Advice to the Plaintiff:  Next Time Around, Try Takeout,” The Wall Street Journal, February 17, 1995; “Texas’ Top Court Strikes $2 Million Settlement,” Houston Chronicle February 18, 1995
    • Fruehauf Corp. v. Carrillo, 848 S.W.2d 83 (Tex. 1993), reversing, 838 S.W.2d 573 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 1992); Carrillo, et al. v. Fruehauf Corp., No. 04 9100035-CV (Tex. App.—San Antonio 1994) (from the 229th District Court of Starr County C.A. No. 7752) (June 22, 1994, March 22, 1995)
    • Trunkline Gas Co. v. Huffco Petroleum Corporation, No. 14-92-0122-CV (Tex. Civ. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 1993), from the 55th Judicial District Court of Harris County
    • Shell Western E&P Inc. v. Partida, 823 S.W.2d 400 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi 1992, no writ)
    • Welex, a Div. of Halliburton Co. v. Broom, 806 S.W.2d 855 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 1991) reversed, 816 S.W.2d 340 (Tex. 1991), on remand, 823 S.W.2d 704 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 1992, writ denied)
    • Bass, et al. v. The Superior Oil Co., et al., No. 01-92-00778-CV, in the First Court of Appeals at Houston (unpublished) (April 15, 1992)
    • Arleth v. Freeport-McMoran Oil & Gas Co., 2 F.3d 630 (5th Cir. 1993)
    • Adolph Coors Co. v. Rodriguez, 780 S.W.2d 477 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi 1989, writ denied)

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    Contact Details

    Houston

    T +1.713.758.4576
    F +1.713.615.5544
    myeates@velaw.com
    1001 Fannin Street
    Suite 2500
    Houston, TX 77002
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    Marie's Practices

    • Louisiana State University School of Law, J.D. first in class, 1980 (Order of the Coif; Editor-in-Chief, Louisiana Law Review)
    • Louisiana State University, B.S., Accounting summa cum laude, 1977 (Phi Kappa Phi; Alpha Beta Psi; Beta Gamma Sigma)
    • Admitted to practice: Louisiana, 1980; Texas, 1982; The United States Supreme Court; Texas Supreme Court; Louisiana Supreme Court; Fifth, Seventh, Eighth Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal; U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Northern Districts of Texas 
    • Judicial clerk to The Honorable Alvin B. Rubin, U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, 1980– 1981
    • Euromoney’s Benchmark Litigation, America’s Top 250 women in litigation, 2012–20145
    • Chambers USA, Litigation: Appellate (Texas), 2007–2015; Appellate (Nationwide), 2009–2014; Litigation: General Commercial (Texas), 2003–2006
    • Houston Business Journal, Who’s Who in Energy, 2014
    • Texas Lawyer, one of the top 20 “Winning Women” litigation and appellate attorneys in Texas,  August 2011
    • National Law Journal, “Appellate Hot List,” 2009
    • Euromoney’s Benchmark Appellate, Fifth Circuit Litigation Star, 2012 and 2013
    • Euromoney’s Benchmark Litigation, Local Litigation Star: Texas, 2011–2013
    • Legal Media Group’s (Euromoney’s) Guide to the World’s Leading United States Litigation Lawyers, 2005
    • The Best Lawyers in America© (Woodward/White, Inc.), appellate law, 2008–2015; commercial litigation, 2010 and 2012–2015
    • Legal 500 U.S., Supreme Court & Appellate – Supreme Court, 2010–2015; Supreme Court & Appellate – Appellate, 2010–2015; Energy: Litigation, 2013
    • Selected to the Texas Super Lawyers list, Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters), 2003–2014
    • Selected to the Top 50 women lawyers (Texas) and Top 100 lawyers (Houston), Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters), 2003–2009
    • Who’s Who In America (Law Business Research Ltd.), 2006
    • President-elect: Texas Supreme Court Historical Society, June 2013–June 2014
    • Fellow: Trial Lawyer Honor Society, Litigation Counsel of America
    • American Academy of Appellate Lawyers (since 1997); Board Certified (since 1987) in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization; The Council of Appellate Lawyers; Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists; American Law Institute; Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation; American Bar Foundation; Houston Bar Foundation; American Bar Association
    • American Bar Association, Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, Practitioners’ Reading Group for Evaluation of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, 2009
    • Co-chair: Law Firm Initiative of the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast, 2009–2010 campaign
    • Co-chair: Alexis de Tocqueville Society of the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast, 2005–2006 campaign
    • Chair: Women’s Initiative of the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast, 2001–2002 campaign
    • Board of Trustees: The United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast ,2003–present
    •  “Woman of the Year” Award from the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast, 2004
    • Recipient:  “Woman on the Move” Award from the Texas Executive Women, 2002
    • Executive Women’s Partnership Committee of the Greater Houston Partnership