Thomas A. Donaho

Partner

Houston
T +1.713.276.1668
F +1.713.751.1717

Overview

Tom Donaho is a first-chair litigator with a focus on handling complex commercial disputes in both state and federal court. He has specific experience litigating contract matters, employment actions, regulatory enforcement actions, business torts and real estate disputes. He also has significant experience advising and assisting clients with respect to risk management and compliance issues. As a subject matter expert on indemnity and insurance, Tom is relied upon by clients across the country to develop contracts that serve risk allocation needs through indemnity and insurance protections.

Tom also serves as Pro Bono Coordinator, responsible for administration and supervision of firm pro bono matters. In that role, Tom works with numerous non-profit organizations to facilitate the provision of free legal services to those who need it most.

Select Experience

Litigation

  • Lead trial counsel for owners of venture-backed startup company in FTC enforcement and contempt action. Successfully defeated claims and requests for damages asserted by the FTC after two-week trial.

Indemnity and Contractual Risk Management

  • Served as indemnity counsel to oilfield exploration and production company in connection with indemnity demands arising from FLSA dispute.

Compliance

  • Advised publicly-traded company on necessary elements of comprehensive ethics and compliance program, including with respect to policies, practices and guidelines under the legal, accounting and human resources departments.
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Experience

Litigation

  • Lead trial counsel for owners of venture-backed startup company in FTC enforcement and contempt action. Successfully defeated claims and requests for damages asserted by the FTC after two-week trial.
  • Member of trial team that obtained a unanimous jury verdict after a six-week trial with actual damages of $72 million. The client, Plaintiff, is a publicly traded company that filed suit against former executives for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and conspiracy. The executives’ scheme involved kickbacks in domestic and international transactions as well as numerous efforts to conceal their behavior from compliance and audit.
  • Represented global heavy-duty trucks manufacturer in dispute with critical component supplier over untimely deliveries and improper shipping charges.
  • Represented nationally recognized financial services company in multidistrict theft of trade secrets litigation against industry competitor.
  • Represented property owner in land use and environmental litigation concerning property in TCEQ voluntary cleanup program.
  • Represented client with respect to environmental claims arising from abandoned Wisconsin sand mine and production facility.
  • Represented company in a series of lawsuits against former employees that misappropriated trade secrets to create competing business.
  • Represented company in lawsuit arising from former employee’s breach of noncompete and nonsolicitation clauses contained in employment contract.
  • Represented an exploration and production company in arbitrations involving damage to offshore platforms.
  • Represented a commercial equipment manufacturer in a dispute concerning alleged equipment failure and economic loss resulting therefrom.
  • Counseled client in connection with Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Representation included an investigation concerning preference actions, secured claims and adversary proceedings.
  • Regularly represents contractors and operators alike with respect to contract risk management, well blowouts, onshore and offshore drilling, drafting of commercial oilfield service agreements, joint operating agreements, catastrophic personal injury, exploration, completion, insurance disputes and bankruptcy.

Indemnity and Contractual Risk Management

  • Served as indemnity counsel to oilfield exploration and production company in connection with indemnity demands arising from FLSA dispute.
  • Assisted oilfield operator in navigating series of indemnity demands arising from personal injury actions, property damage actions and regulatory agency investigations.
  • Represented an oilfield services company in a contract dispute concerning indemnity obligations specified in an equipment supplier agreement.
  • Advised insurance carrier on application of Texas anti-indemnity acts to contractual indemnity provisions.
  • Represented oilfield service company in litigation over contractual indemnity obligations following personal injury lawsuit.
  • Routinely assists clients in evaluating and responding to indemnity demands.
  • Retained to train insurance carrier’s underwriters on how to evaluate potential risk arising from contractual indemnity agreements in the energy industry.
  • Regularly assists clients in restructuring indemnity provisions in their Master Service Agreements to serve risk allocation needs.
  • Drafted oilfield indemnity handbook utilized by practitioners throughout the industry.

Compliance

  • Advised publicly-traded company on necessary elements of comprehensive ethics and compliance program, including with respect to policies, practices and guidelines under the legal, accounting and human resources departments.
  • Provided guidance to clients regarding FTC investigation and compliance with the FTC Act.
  • Advised client on compliance with environmental, health and safety regulations on worksites across various jurisdictions.

Recognitions and Memberships

Community

  • City of Spring Valley Village (Elected to City Council in 2017)
  • Duke University Young Alumni Development Council

Pro Bono

  • Estate planning
  • Ad Valorem Tax Disputes
  • Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

Prior Positions

  • Harris County District Attorney's Office: Intern (2010)

Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas, 2013
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, 2012
  • Texas

Education

  • J.D., The University of Texas School of Law, 2011; Editorial Board, The Review of Litigation
  • A.B., Political Science, Duke University, 2008

Blog

In The Blogs

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Pillar and Post: Energy Law in the 21st Century
Fifth Circuit Rules Texas Choice-of-Law Provision Cannot Save Indemnity Agreement from Wyoming Anti-Indemnity Act
By Thomas A. Donaho
January 5, 2022
Throughout the oil patch, it has become common for parties to enter into agreements that contain Texas choice-of law-provisions, regardless of where the work is being performed or the extent of the parties’ sometimes tenuous relationship...
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