Elizabeth Pannill Fletcher
Lizzie Fletcher represents both plaintiffs and defendants in business litigation. She has experience in complex civil litigation, including antitrust, securities, employment, trademark, trade secrets, and commercial contract and tort disputes. She has represented companies and individuals in class actions, shareholder derivative cases, and other civil litigation in state and federal trial and appellate courts as well as arbitration proceedings.
She has represented companies and individuals in internal investigations; the negotiation and litigation of severance, non-competition, non-disclosure, non-recruitment and related employment agreements and matters; in investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission; before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
Lizzie was included on the 2012 and 2013 Texas Rising Stars lists, which name the best and brightest Texas lawyers under age 40 and those in practice fewer than 10 years. The Rising Stars are selected based on nominations made by attorneys from across the state who were previously honored in the annual Texas Super Lawyers list.
A fourth-generation Texas trial lawyer and a native Houstonian, Lizzie graduated from Kenyon College in Ohio in 1997, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and from the School of Law at The College of William & Mary in Virginia in 2006, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the William and Mary Law Review.
After graduating from law school, Lizzie joined Vinson & Elkins LLP in Houston. She joined Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing in 2009.
- As lead counsel, successfully defended final judgment and award of substantial attorneys’ fees to Mistras Group Inc. employee wrongly accused of breaching non-competition agreement in the First Court of Appeals, including presentation of oral argument to the court. Sentinel Integrity Solutions, Inc. v. Mistras Group, Inc., 01-12-00370-CV, 2013 WL 5727548 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Oct. 22, 2013, no. pet. h.).
- With John Zavitsanos, represented Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. in a pipeline dispute with BP Oil Pipeline Company in which BP had obtained summary judgment against Plains before AZA got involved in the case. Lizzie and John petitioned for reconsideration, got the summary judgment reversed, and won summary judgment for Plains, obtaining substantial attorneys’ fees for Plains for defending the lawsuit.
- With John Zavitsanos, Todd Mensing, and Jane Robinson, won a successful defense verdict for a Mistras Group Inc., a major non-destructive testing company, accused of infringing a competitor’s trademark. After the presentation of all of the evidence, AZA secured judgment as a matter of law from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, obtained a jury verdict that competitor’s trademark was generic, which resulted in the cancellation of the trademark.
- With John Zavitsanos, won a successful defense verdict for Mistras Group Inc. and its employees wrongly accused of breaching employment and non-competition agreements, tortiously interfering with those agreements, and stealing confidential information and trade secrets. After a three-week trial in Harris County District Court, the jury returned a take-nothing verdict against the plaintiff and awarded reasonable and necessary attorneys’ fees to AZA’s clients. The court entered a final judgment awarding more than $800,000 in attorneys’ fees, costs, and interest. Early in the case, Lizzie and John successfully argued for the denial of the plaintiff’s request for a temporary restraining order and temporary injunction, and successfully defended the plaintiff’s interlocutory appeal in the First Court of Appeals.
- Defended former employees alleged to have breached post-employment non-recruitment covenants with their former employer and prosecuted concurrent business disparagement and tortious interference claims in separate proceedings between the new and former employers, resulting in a favorable settlement.
- Obtained a voluntary dismissal with prejudice of a declaratory judgment action in Texas state court in which AZA’s client, a major natural gas transportation company, was accused of failing to perform obligations under a services agreement.
- Defended client alleged to have breached fiduciary duties to a partnership and obtained a favorable settlement of claims.
- Defended clients alleged to have breached their contractual and fiduciary duties to a partnership involved in real estate development, resulting in a favorable settlement of claims.
- Successfully defended effort to seal court records containing arbitration award vindicating former senior executive of a public software company wrongfully terminated. McAfee v. Weiss, 336 S.W.3d 840 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2011, pet. denied).
Before joining AZA, Lizzie:
- Represented a former senior executive of a public software company in a two-week arbitration, obtaining a substantial arbitration award and vindication for the executive where arbitrator found that executive was wrongfully terminated in connection with a stock-options backdating investigation and that company had breached the executive’s employment agreement and its duty of good faith and fair dealing.
- Represented defendant airline in multi-district litigation resulting in dismissal of claims brought by plaintiff travel agents who alleged that several airlines had conspired to violate antitrust regulations by reducing travel agent commissions. Co-authored the brief of appellees in support of dismissal, which was affirmed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. In re Travel Agent Comm’n Antitrust Litigation, 583 F.3d 896 (6th Cir. 2009) (cert. denied).
- Represented target company in expedited litigation in Delaware Chancery Court resulting in judgment that the buyer in a $10 billion merger breached its obligations to use its reasonable best efforts to secure its financing and consummate merger. Hexion Specialty Chemicals, Inc., et al. v. Huntsman Corp., 965 A.2d, 715 (Del. Ch. 2008).
- Represented medical device manufacturer in shareholder class action and resulting in dismissal with prejudice of stock option backdating claims. Worked extensively on the briefing in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the dismissal. In re Cyberonics Inc. Sec. Litig., 523 F.Supp.2d 547 (S.D. Tex. 2007), aff’d sub nom. Catogas v. Cyberonics, Inc., 292 Fed. Appx. 311, 2008 WL 4158923 (5th Circ. Sept. 8, 2008).
- Obtained summary judgment that medical device manufacturer alleged to have breached an indenture contract with its bondholders by failing to deliver certain SEC filings while an internal investigation was pending had not breached indenture. Cyberonics, Inc. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 2007 WL 1729977 (S.D. Tex. June 13, 2007).
- Sentinel Integrity Solutions, Inc. v. Mistras Group, Inc., 01-12-00370-CV, 2013 WL 5727548 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Oct. 22, 2013, no. pet. h.).
- McAfee v. Weiss, 336 S.W.3d 840 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2011, pet. denied).
- In re Travel Agent Com’n Antitrust Litigation, 583 F.3d 896 (6th Cir. 2009) (cert. denied).
- Hexion Specialty Chemicals, Inc., et al. v. Huntsman Corp., 965 A.2d 715 (Del. Ch. 2008).
- In re Cyberonics Inc. Sec. Litig., 523 F.Supp.2d 547 (S.D. Tex. 2007), aff’d sub nom. Catogas v. Cyberonics, Inc., 292 Fed. Appx. 311, 2008 WL 4158923 (5th Circ. Sept. 8, 2008).
- College of William & Mary Marshall-Wythe School of Law, J.D., 2006. Editor-in-Chief, William and Mary Law Review.
- Kenyon College, A.B., magna cum laude, with highest departmental honors in history, 1997. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
HONORS & DISTINCTIONS
- Received Texas Appleseed’s 2007 Award for Pro Bono Services
- Received William & Mary Law School’s Gambrell Professionalism Award
- Received Kenyon College Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award
ADMISSIONS & MEMBERSHIPS
- State Bar of Texas
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
- Houston Bar Association
- American Bar Association
PUBLICATIONS, PAPERS AND CLE PRESENTATIONS
- “Non Competes, Non-Disclosures, Non-Solicitations: Can Someone Explain It All?” Panelist, South Texas College of Law CLE, 26th Annual Employment Law Conference, July 25-26, 2013, Houston.
- “Flashing Yellow Lights on the Road to E-Discovery,” Submission to West LegalWorks Seminar on Electronic Discovery After the New Federal Rules (September 2007) (co-author).
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