J. Keith Russell

Partner

Houston
T +1.713.646.1369
F +1.713.751.1717

Overview

As part of the firm’s nationwide Distribution and Franchise team, Keith Russell represents manufacturers and distributors in all aspects of their relationships with their dealer distribution networks. Keith’s experience includes representation of manufacturers and distributors of new motor vehicles, heavy-duty trucks, construction and farm equipment, emergency response vehicles, marine products, and powersports vehicles such as motorcycles and utility vehicles.

Keith is an experienced trial lawyer with a broad knowledge of the unique regulatory environment in which manufacturers operate. He has counseled manufacturers and distributors in cutting-edge issues such as, among other things, distribution of electric and automated vehicles, vehicle subscription programs, and creation of unique management agreements for manufacturers in their relationships with publicly and privately owned dealership groups.

Select Experience

  • As lead counsel, successfully represented a heavy-duty truck manufacturer in a precedent setting protest action to reduce a dealer’s assigned territory based on poor sales performance.
  • As lead counsel, successfully represented an automobile manufacturer in protest by a dealer against the establishment of a new dealership, resulting in a unanimous decision in favor of the manufacturer. Responsible for all aspects of trial preparation and trial.
  • Successfully represented a construction equipment manufacturer in an arbitration proceeding to terminate the dealer agreement of a poor-performing dealership. Responsible for depositions, discovery, trial preparation, and examination and cross-examination of fact witnesses.
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Experience

  • As lead counsel, successfully represented a heavy-duty truck manufacturer in a precedent setting protest action to reduce a dealer’s assigned territory based on poor sales performance.
  • As lead counsel, successfully represented an automobile manufacturer in protest by a dealer against the establishment of a new dealership, resulting in a unanimous decision in favor of the manufacturer. Responsible for all aspects of trial preparation and trial.
  • Successfully represented a construction equipment manufacturer in an arbitration proceeding to terminate the dealer agreement of a poor-performing dealership. Responsible for depositions, discovery, trial preparation, and examination and cross-examination of fact witnesses.
  • Represented an automobile manufacturer in class certification cases at trial court and on appeal. Heavily involved in extensive class certification and appellate briefings.
  • Lead counsel for manufacturer of emergency response vehicles in acquisition of competitor, consolidation of dealership networks, licensing of manufacturer and its dealers, drafting and implementing new dealership agreements, and resolving various disputes arising out of that process.
  • As second-chair trial counsel, successfully represented major petrochemical company in defending a claim of breach of a multi-million dollar supply contract in two-week jury trial in Harris County, Texas.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • The Legal 500 United States (2019)
    • Recommended in Industry Focus - Transport: Rail and Road - Litigation

Memberships

  • Texas Bar Association
  • Houston Bar Association: Dispute Resolution Committee Volunteer Mediator (2002 to 2006)

Community

  • Houston BBB Volunteer Mediator/Arbitrator (2003 to 2006)
  • Boy Scouts of America: Cub Scout Cubmaster, Den Leader, and Committee Chairman (2005 to 2012)

Prior Positions

  • United States Army: Staff Sergeant (1986 to 1991)

Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, 1999
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas, 2000
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, 1999
  • Texas, 1998

Education

  • J.D., University of Houston Law Center, 1998; cum laude; Articles Editor and Member, Houston Journal of International Law
  • B.A., Government, The University of Texas at Austin, 1995