Select 'Print' in your browser menu to print this document.
Reese Gordon Marketos Drives in Large Verdict2013 Litigation Departments of the Year: Winner, Small Firm-General
Reese Gordon Marketos, a firm less than three years old, won one of the nation's largest verdicts so far this year, and got a summary judgment affirmed by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a fraud and breach-of-contract suit. Those are heady results for the six-lawyer firm.
Reese Gordon Marketos, a firm less than three years old, won one of the nation's largest verdicts so far this year, and got a summary judgment affirmed by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a fraud and breach-of-contract suit filed against the firm's clients by T. Boone Pickens and Cowboy Athletics Inc., a non-profit benefiting Oklahoma State University athletics.
Those are heady results for the six-lawyer firm.
"We're fortunate," says partner Pete Marketos, who won the $136 million verdict in February in Cameron County in a fraud suit against Mercedes-Benz.
Marketos says the oral arguments that secured the summary judgment in the lawsuit Cowboy and Pickens filed against Reese Gordon's clients were "all-the-way amazing" considering that the court's panel issued an opinion only 12 days after associate Kendal Simpson argued the appeal on behalf of the firm's clients. Appellate lawyers on the other side included James Ho, former Solicitor General of Texas, and Paul Clement, former U.S. Solicitor General.
Marketos, a former partner in Haynes and Boone in Dallas, and Joel Reese and Brad Gordon, former shareholders in Winstead, formed Reese Gordon Marketos in February 2011 to do complex commercial trial work. They've since added three lawyers: Simpson in March 2011, Adam Sanderson in April 2011, and Leslie Chaggaris in January 2012.
Marketos says the firm's goal is to operate efficiently and the firm will grow, but slowly.
"Our view is having singularly talented lawyers come on one at a time," he says.
"Obviously capacity is a concern — we only have six lawyers — but so far that has not been an issue. Collectively, we all love what we do and we will do what it takes to get the job done," says partner Gordon.
In March 2012, U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis of the Northern District of Texas granted a summary judgment in favor of the firm's clients. In Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., et al. v. Management Compensation Group-Lee Incorporated, et al., Cowboy Athletics, which supports Oklahoma State athletics, and Pickens sought the return of $33 million in premiums paid on insurance policies issued on elderly Cowboys supporters. Reese Gordon's clients are insurance brokers.
In a per curium opinion on March 18, 2013, the 5th Circuit affirmed Solis' judgment. "This was not Cowboy's first rodeo," the court wrote, finding Cowboy waived its rights in connection with its breach of contract claims, and "the record reveals no triable misrepresentations" with regard to fraud allegations.
Simpson returned to work early from maternity leave to handle the 5th Circuit argument. She says she couldn't pass up the opportunity. She says it's a testament to partners Reese and Gordon, who had worked on the lawsuit for years, that they wanted her — a fifth-year associate — to make the argument.
"She was very much in her comfort zone," Gordon says, noting that Simpson clerked at the 5th Circuit.
Ho, a partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Dallas who represented Cowboy before the 5th Circuit, says, "Kendal demonstrated the kind of poise and confidence at the podium that you would only expect from someone many years her senior."
With trial assistance from Chaggaris, Marketos won the Feb. 15 $136 million verdict in Carduco, Inc. d/b/a Cardenas Metroplex v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC, et al. Following a two-week trial, a jury awarded Texas Mercedes-Benz dealer Cardenas Metroplex $21 million in actual and $115 million in punitive damages after finding Mercedes-Benz USA and representatives defrauded it in a $7 million purchase of a dealership that owner Renato Cardenas Sr. wanted to move to McAllen from Harlingen.
On March 7, Judge Federico Hinojosa, a senior judge presiding by appointment, signed a final judgment awarding Cardenas Metroplex a total of $130 million in damages. The defendants have appealed the judgment to the 13th Texas Court of Appeals.
Rick Cardenas, Renato Cardenas' son who is an executive at Cardenas Metroplex, says he hired Reese Gordon because he wanted a small firm that would work expeditiously and communicate well. From his first conversation with Marketos, Cardenas says he knew he made the right choice.
"When you are in the heat of battle, communication is everything. These larger firms, it could take you a week to get something settled," Cardenas says. "Pete Marketos is probably the best attorney I've come across as far as ease of communication. I love his style, his demeanor."
Donna Boland, a spokeswoman for Mercedes-Benz USA, declined comment.