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D. Ferguson McNiel, III
D. Ferguson McNiel, III
Senior Partner — Commercial & Business Litigation
Senior Partner — Commercial & Business Litigation

D. Ferguson McNiel, III

D. Ferguson McNiel, III

Texas Tower
845 Texas Avenue
Suite 4700
Houston, Texas 77002

start quote symbolWhat I enjoy the most about litigation is that you are constantly learning about new issues that arise with each and every lawsuit. You gain confidence from each case and they make you better suited to handle the next case.end quote symbol
D. Ferguson McNiel, III

Experience Highlights

  • (Tex. App. – 14th – Houston) — Obtained affirmance of summary judgment on liability on behalf of a commercial real estate company, obtaining the complete dismissal of all claims for breach of contract and nuisance asserted by a neighboring property owner in connection with our client’s development and expansion of a regional distribution center

  • Representing a pipeline company in an UNCITRAL arbitration arising out of the construction of a new gas processing plant in Canada

  • Representing a client in an AAA arbitration arising out of respondent’s engineering work in connection with the development of an underground storage facility in Brazil

  • Representing a company in a pending class action in Canada involving property damage

  • (S.D. Tex.); (S.D. Fla.); (5th Cir.) — Represented an aviation company in a suit brought by its former maintenance service provider in a breach of contract case; briefed, argued, and won defense of writ of mandamus to the 5th Circuit; in a bench trial, we successfully defeated plaintiffs’ claims and prevailed on a counterclaim, winning a million dollars (net) on the counterclaim 

  • Represented a Fortune 100 multinational consumer products company as its national trial counsel in vinyl chloride litigation in state and federal courts in a number of different states

  • Represented a major chemical company in agricultural product toxic tort cases involving approximately 25,000 non-U.S. workers who filed suit in various Texas state and federal courts; currently representing same company in similar cases filed by non-U.S. workers in Louisiana and Hawaii federal courts, and in the courts of the Philippines, Nicaragua and Panama; involved in similar cases dismissed from U.S. courts and then refiled in Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, The Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, and St. Lucia, all of which were resolved by settlement

  • (Del. Ch.) — Tried case on behalf of a racing company and an individual in an attempted dissolution of the corporation; the court found in favor of client

  • Represented a foreign manufacturer of wind turbines used in the generation of electricity

  • Represented a comprehensive provider of waste and environmental services in an attempt by various landowners to limit the use of a landfill

  • Representing a major engineering firm against claims of negligence and misrepresentation pertaining to the evaluation of a chemical plant project in the state court of Texas

  • Represented a major EPC contractor in claims arising from the renovation of two Gulf Coast refineries

  • Represented the owner of a major arts facility in claims against the contractor

  • Represented a major engineering firm in professional malpractice litigation in Louisiana concerning the design and construction of a chemical plant

  • Represented a client of the firm’s energy regulatory section, in an advisory capacity, in a dispute arising during construction of a pipeline and in post-construction litigation

  • Represented a leading pharmaceutical company as Texas counsel in diet drug litigation filed by plaintiffs opting out of a related class action

  • Represented a major chemical company against claims filed in Texas by nationwide plaintiffs against multiple defendants for property damage resulting from defects in polybutylene plumbing systems; in four separate jury trials and one arbitration, only a small portion of the overall liability to plaintiffs was assessed against our client

  • Currently serving as trial counsel in the state of Texas for a major oil company in its asbestos litigation, representing a product manufacturer in asbestos cases throughout the state of Texas

  • Represented a major chemical company in 8,000 claims arising from alleged chemical emissions from a plant; the case was tried to a jury with a defense verdict for our client

  • Represented a major oil company involving claims of breach of contract, fraud, and misappropriation of trade secrets pertaining to leases in a South American country

  • Represented plaintiffs in two suits involving a West Texas wind farm project; in one suit, our client was the general contractor of the project seeking amounts owed under the wind tower construction contract; in the second suit, our client was a non-U.S. supplier of equipment suing a distributor for breach of contract and incidental damages arising from the defendant’s failure to deliver equipment that the supplier then obtained at higher cost from alternative source


  • University of Arkansas, J.D., 1980 (Phi Delta Phi; Arkansas Law Review)
  • The University of Texas School of Law, 1978-1979 (Summer programs)
  • University of Arkansas, B.S.B.A. with honors, 1977 (Beta Gamma Sigma; 3-year letterman in baseball)
  • Chambers USA, Litigation: General Commercial (Texas), 2003–2020
  • Chambers USA, Litigation: General Commercial (Houston), 2020–2023
  • Legal 500 U.S., Environment Litigation, 2008−2009; Real Estate: Construction (Including Construction Litigation), 2010−2023
  • Lawdragon, 500 Leading Litigators in America, 2023
  • Recognized as a “Top Lawyer” in Construction Law, Corporate Counsel (ALM), 2011
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (BL Rankings, LLC), (Houston): Commercial Litigation, 2005−2024; Construction Law, 2008−2011 and 2021; Litigation–Construction, 2013−2024
  • Selected to the Texas Super Lawyers list, Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters), 2003−2020 and 2022
  • Fellow: Texas Bar Foundation; Houston Bar Foundation
  • Member: Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, International Society of Barristers; American Board of Trial Advocates; International Association of Defense Counsel; American Bar Association; Texas Association of Defense Counsel; Defense Research Institute; Houston Bar Association
  • Texas
  • United States Supreme Court
  • Fifth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal
  • U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Eastern, Western, and Northern Districts of Texas
  • “Extension of Time Clauses and Managing the Independent Delay Expert,” V&E CLE Program, April 4, 2013 (co-presenter)
  • “International Construction: Key Issues and Developments,” V&E CLE Program, October 4, 2011 (co-presenter)
  • Inside The Minds: Managing Construction Litigation — Leading Lawyers on Organizing Documentation, Developing a Case Strategy, and Overcoming Common Challenges, Thomson Reuters/Aspatore, 2009, “Preparing for Construction Litigation” (co-author)
  • “The Surface Destruction Test as Applied in Reed v. Wylie and Its Possible Effect on Arkansas Law,” 33 Ark. L. Rev. 422, 1979
  • Lecturer on litigation seminars on civil litigation, evidentiary issues, architect and engineer liability, and insurance law