Don C. Griffin, Jr.
845 Texas Avenue
Houston, Texas 77002
For more than 25 years, trial lawyer Don Griffin has represented his clients in multimillion-dollar lawsuits in Texas state and federal courts. He is a trial lawyer with extensive courtroom experience and numerous jury trial verdicts. His practice focuses primarily on assisting property owners and developers subject to condemnation by government authorities.
Don has appeared before the Texas Supreme Court multiple times on behalf of his clients, most recently in February 2018 (W.A. “Andy” Meyers v. JDC/Firethorne, 548 S.W.3d 477 (Tex.2018)). Among his most high-profile verdicts was a February 2018 judgment against the State of Texas that resulted in an amount 1,837% above the State’s $1,300,000 compensation number after a three-week jury trial in Harris County — the largest reported jury verdict ever on behalf of a property owner in a Texas condemnation case. On May 28, 2020, the Houston First Court of Appeals issued a unanimous opinion affirming in all aspects the $28.8 million jury verdict obtained for his client CC Telge Road, L.P. See State v. CC Telge Road, L.P., No. 01-18-00416-CV, 2020 WL 2782370 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] May 28, 2020, n.p.h.).
Smaller verdicts, however, can be just as meaningful. In June 2018, Don led a group of V&E lawyers who won $913,563 (net recovery to client) for a family-owned collision repair facility in Little Elm, Texas when the Texas Supreme Court confirmed the jury verdict and trial court judgment obtained in a May 2015 Denton County jury trial. Prior to trial, the State had offered $49,104 in compensation. The victory was the result of a six-year-long legal battle with the State of Texas and the Texas Supreme Court opinion (Morale v. State of Texas, 557 S.W.3d 569 (Tex.2018)) is now cited at eminent domain conferences as one of the most important decisions affecting Texas condemnation cases.
January 2020 – Settlement and net recovery to property owners of $2.1 million on original offer of $680,025.00 from Harris County Flood Control District for fee taking to support storm water channel improvements
September 2019 – Jury verdict 960% above State’s first offer of $415,000.00 with net recovery to client of $2.7 million. Jury trial verdict and judgment against the State of Texas for right-of-way acquisition from a 300,00+ square foot cold warehouse/freezer facility for TxDOT’s S.H. 288 Project. The State did not appeal
July 2018 – Settlement and net recovery to property owner of $2,105,000.00 for State’s taking of 900 square feet from 0.898 acre tract improved and operated as a Jared jewelry store for TxDOT’s F.M. 1960 Project
Jury verdict in 2018 for $28.9 million, 2,223% above State’s offer of $1.3 million in a partial takings case for the Grand Parkway; the State took 40 acres out of a 613 acre tract being developed as a residential subdivision in Harris County, Texas, resulting in development changes yielding a lower value; this is believed to be the largest jury verdict for a property owner in a condemnation case ever in the State of Texas (The Texas Lawbook, February 7, 2018); the State appealed, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment for the property owner; subsequently, the Texas Supreme Court denied the State’s petition for review
February 2017 – Settlement and net recovery of $17.5 million to the property owner for Harris County acquisition of 50,000 square-foot expanded polystyrene manufacturing facility as part of Hardy Toll Road Expansion Project. Harris County’s appraisal and offer at the time of settlement was $5.4 million
May 2015 – Jury verdict in Denton County resulting in 1,800% increase above State’s pretrial offer. Denton County jury returned a verdict of $1.06 million for the property owner when the State’s offer before trial was $49,104.00 ($913,563.00 net recovery to client). This case was appealed by the State and the Texas Supreme Court issued an opinion in June 2018 affirming the jury verdict and final judgment. See Morale v. State of Texas, 557 S.W.3d 569 (Tex.2018).
September 2014 – Jury verdict resulting in 270% increase in compensation to client. Jury trial verdict equivalent to compensation sought by property owners at trial for the taking of a 42-acre tract for a detention pond in Harris County, resulting in a net recovery to clients of $8.85 million, when condemning authority’s first offer was $3.28 million. The verdict was affirmed by the Houston Fourteenth Court of Appeals and the County’s petition for review to the Texas Supreme Court was denied
- Baylor Law School, J.D., 1990 (Baylor Law Review; Order of Barristers; various law school organizations)
- University of Texas, B.B.A., Finance, 1986
- The Best Lawyers in America© (BL Rankings, LLC), “Lawyer of the Year,” (Houston): Eminent Domain & Condemnation Law, 2023; Litigation–Real Estate, 2023
- The Best Lawyers in America© (BL Rankings, LLC), (Houston): Eminent Domain & Condemnation Law, 2020–2023; Litigation–Real Estate, 2021–2023
- Member: American Board of Trial Advocates; Texas Association of Defense Counsel; American Bar Association; Houston Bar Association
- Past Board Member: Texas Association of Defense Counsel
- Past Chair: Young Lawyers Committee, Texas Association of Defense Counsel
- U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas
- Chambers USA 2023 Recognizes Vinson & Elkins’ Litigation & Regulatory Department in 24 Practice Categories, 68* Individual Lawyer RankingsRankings & AwardsJune 1, 2023
- Vinson & Elkins Achieves 292 Rankings in The Best Lawyers in America (BL Rankings, LLC) 2023, Including 7 “Lawyer of the Year” RecognitionsRankings & AwardsAugust 18, 2022
- Texas Supreme Court Rejects State of Texas Bid to Overturn $28.8M Harris County Jury Verdict for CC Telge Road, LPDeals & CasesMarch 17, 2021
- InsightOctober 16, 2018