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Jason M. Powers

Jason M. Powers Partner, Commercial & Business Litigation

Jason focuses primarily on controversies between businesses, especially disputes relating to joint ventures and the joint development of business opportunities through strategic contracts and investments. Disputes over failed joint ventures often present formidable challenges, as they frequently involve management changes, complex accounting issues, a dearth of available witnesses and business records, and parallel investigations. These cases also embrace a wide-ranging body of law, including antitrust, securities, business torts, and contracts. Jason brings to bear more than a decade of experience handling cases in each of these substantive areas and overcoming the obstacles these cases present.

Experience Highlights

  • Energy trading venture: In a $250 million ICDR arbitration, defended a Fortune 100 energy company against its partner’s allegations that it breached fiduciary duties in the management of one of the nation’s largest energy traders; helped obtain a favorable settlement to resolve the litigation and facilitate the wind down of the joint venture
  • Retail monopolization: Obtained dismissal with prejudice of a bankrupted produce supplier’s Sherman Act Section 1 (distribution channel foreclosure), Sherman Act Section 2 (attempted monopolization), and Clayton Act Section 7 (merger-to-monopoly) claims against a large grocery chain; demonstrated that limitations barred supplier’s claims, notwithstanding its “continuing violation” theory, and that supplier lacked antitrust standing to pursue retail monopolization claims
  • RICO and fraud claims: Defended a public company against claims that its former officers used the company’s stock in a criminal scheme to entice investors to participate in the officers’ separate business enterprise; managed the defense of seven federal court lawsuits seeking more than $1.3 billion in damages in a multidistrict litigation proceeding; teamed with other V&E lawyers to obtain a highly favorable settlement
  • Retail monopolization: Successfully represented producer of Akaushi Beef against claims of conspiracy to restrain trade and monopolization in the market for premium beef in the United States; after a seven day trial, the jury found in favor of the client, awarding both actual and exemplary damages

Commercial Arbitration

  • Investment in retail operations: Defended a national gasoline retailer against a supplier seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages over a nationwide contract for a sales channel presence in the retailer’s stores; teamed up with other V&E lawyers to obtain a take-nothing award in a CPR arbitration over breach of contract, tort, and RICO claims

Commercial & Business Litigation

  • HMO patient dumping: Represented a premier pediatric hospital pursuing state court claims against a health maintenance organization for millions of dollars in uncompensated emergency care provided to its members; worked with other V&E lawyers to recover for past services and establish a new going-forward business relationship between the hospital and the HMO
  • False Claims Act: Defended a government contractor against allegations of falsifying and manipulating records to overcharge the government. Reached a settlement under which all qui tam claims were dismissed without any payment to

Antitrust

  • Economic credentialing: Successfully defended a general hospital against state court antitrust claims brought by a physician who became ineligible to practice at the hospital after he acquired a competing specialty hospital; preserved the general hospital’s conflict of interest policy, defeating a request for injunction sought under state antitrust law and state health codes
  • Bundling: Represented a global medical products manufacturer in federal court litigation alleging that the manufacturer’s product bundling and exclusive-distribution discounting violated antitrust law; teamed with other V&E lawyers to obtain a highly favorable settlement
  • Hospital acquisition: Successfully defended a state court antitrust action to enjoin a hospital acquisition, allowing the merger to go forward without restrictions
  • Compliance: Designed and presented an antitrust compliance program for a large integrated chemicals concern, speaking on compliance issues to thousands of employees across the U.S

Energy Litigation

  • E&P spinoff dispute: Represented a publicly traded international gas producer in a dispute with its former parent company, defending the producer’s ownership of its key oil and gas assets and blocking the former parent’s attempt to re-assert control of the spun-off company; worked with a team of V&E lawyers to defend five separate lawsuits and arbitration proceedings in two states involving allegations of breach of contract, torts, mineral title disputes, and shareholder derivative claims; helped position the suits for a settlement to which the market responded with immediate and significant gains in the client’s share price
  • AMI litigation: Retained by an unconventional producer to step into a three-year-old dispute its new subsidiary faced over an alleged area of mutual interest (AMI) in the Fayetteville Shale. With trial approaching, worked with other V&E lawyers to negotiate a settlement that unwound the AMI, preserved the client’s key assets and its rights to continue its development program, and resulted in dismissal of parallel proceedings in two states
  • Asset sale price adjuster dispute: Represented a multinational energy company in federal court contract litigation in California over the sale of its oil producing assets; teamed with other V&E lawyers to defeat the opponent’s eight-figure damages claim based on a price adjuster clause in the sale agreement; then recovered an additional eight-figure settlement in our client’s favor on its counterclaims
  • Chemical products litigation: Represented a large refiner in seven lawsuits brought by end users over alleged defects in plastic resins, all of which were defeated on summary judgment or settled on highly favorable terms

Class Actions

  • Vanishing premium litigation: Represented a multinational life insurer in a putative consumer class action involving claims in contract, good faith and fair dealing, and unjust enrichment; obtained summary judgment in Texas state court, and then successfully argued to uphold the decision in the Austin Court of Appeals
  • Antitrust consumer class action: Defended a Fortune 500 auto retailer against consumer classes alleging price-fixing and deceptive trade practices; briefed and helped to obtain reversal of federal court class certification of antitrust claims; helped obtain approval for a favorable class settlement in state court; oversaw the class notice and administration process on behalf of the settling defendants
  • ATM consumer fee class: Defended a large retail chain against allegations that it failed to comply with the Federal Reserve Board’s fee disclosure requirements for automatic teller machine operators; developed evidence that positioned the case for a favorable settlement

Securities Litigation & Enforcement

  • 10b-5 claims: Represented a large software company in putative class securities fraud litigation, teaming up with other V&E lawyers to successfully obtain dismissal under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act and cut off a potential eleven-figure damages claim
  • Wrongful buyout claims: Defended limited partners against a state court lawsuit alleging that they conspired to squeeze out a fellow partner prior to selling the partnership entity for a gain; drew on the partnership documents and plaintiff’s conduct to contest the plaintiff’s fraud and fiduciary duty theories, positioning the case for a favorable settlement
  • Internal investigation: Participated in an audit committee investigation of accounting irregularities at a safety products manufacturer, helping to turn up evidence and information needed to complete the manufacturer’s independent audit process, so that financial statements could be issued to investors and filed with the SEC

Contact Details

Houston

T +1.713.758.2522
F +1.713.615.5809
jpowers@velaw.com
1001 Fannin Street
Suite 2500
Houston, TX 77002
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Jason's Practices

  • The University of Texas School of Law, J.D. with high honors, 1998 (Associate Editor, Texas Law Review; Chancellors; Order of the Coif)
  • The University of Texas, B.B.A. with highest honors, 1995 (Business Honors Program)
  • The University of Texas, B.A. with highest honors, 1995 (Plan II Honors Program; Phi Beta Kappa; Alpha Lambda Delta; Phi Eta Sigma)
  • Admitted to practice: Texas; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas; U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • Legal 500 U.S., Antitrust: Civil Litigation/Class Actions, 2017
  • Euromoney's Benchmark Litigation, "Future Litigation Star" in Texas, 2009, 2012–2018
  • Who's Who Legal (Law Business Research Ltd.); Competition, 2016
  • "Partner to Know," Global Arbitration Review's GAR 100, 2009
  • Selected to the Texas Rising Stars list, Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters), 2004–2006 and 2008–2012 
  • Recognized as a "Top Lawyer" in Houstonia Magazine's Top Lawyers list, 2016
  • "Lawyers on the Fast Track," HTexas magazine, 2004
  • Board of Directors, Houston Urban Debate League, a nonprofit organization devoted to restoring interscholastic debate programs in inner-city schools
  • Former Chairman, Houston Bar Association Antitrust and Trade Regulation Section
  • Editorial Board, The Antitrust Practitioner(The publication of the ABA Section of Antitrust Law Civil Practice & Procedure Committee)
  • Member: Section of Antitrust Law, American Bar Association; Houston Bar Association; Houston Young Lawyer's Association