Tim Shelby has been recognized repeatedly as a successful young lawyer. He was recognized by attorneys across the United States as one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2015. He was named to the Texas Super Lawyers list in 2014. He was on the Texas Rising Stars list in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014, which honors the best Texas lawyers under age 40 and those who have practiced less than 10 years. Mr. Shelby is rated AV Preeminent, the highest possible peer rating, by Martindale Hubbell. H Texas Magazine recognized him as a Professional on the Fast Track – Law in 2009.
Mr. Shelby focuses on complex commercial litigation, oil and gas-related litigation, trade secret litigation, and professional liability matters. Prior to joining AZA, Mr. Shelby practiced for eight years in the litigation department of Baker Botts in Houston.
Mr. Shelby received his law degree from Harvard Law School in 2002. While at Harvard, he served as a Teaching Fellow in Harvard’s Department of Economics. Mr. Shelby received a Masters of Public Service and Administration from the Bush School of Government at Texas A&M University in 1999, where he was recognized as a Bush Fellow. Mr. Shelby received his undergraduate degree, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, in economics and political science from Baylor University in 1997.
• Energy companies – Mr. Shelby routinely represents exploration and production companies, refining and petrochemical companies, pipeline companies, oilfield tool manufacturers, and oilfield services companies in a wide variety of energy litigation matters, including breach of contract claims, tortious interference claims, and trade secret misappropriation matters. Recent victories include:
• Breach of contract claims – Mr. Shelby took on an oilfield tool manufacturing client that had $35 million in breach of contract claims against it based on supposedly “non-conforming” equipment delivered just after the drop in the price of oil in July 2008. Within six months of representing the client, he completely changed the dynamic of the case and his client received a multimillion dollar settlement.
Mr. Shelby and AZA Partner Todd Mensing recently won a trial verdict for Air Liquide, a Houston-based industrial gases company, in a nearly $4 million fraud and breach of contract case. The jury rejected all of the $2 million plus claims against Air Liquide and then awarded $1.7 million to Air Liquide, representing full damages, including attorneys’ fees.
• Business claims – Mr. Shelby recently defended an oil purchasing and marketing company against over $150 million in claims brought by multiple producers under various lien statutes. The producers filed suit after their crude purchaser, SemGroup, filed for bankruptcy as a result of struggles related to the drop in the price of oil in 2008. The producers claimed that Mr. Shelby’s client had repurchased the oil from SemGroup and the producers’ liens extended to that oil. After over 200 depositions and a three-day summary judgment hearing, the plaintiffs abandoned their claims against his client.
Mr. Shelby also defended a crude purchasing company against over $100 million in trespass claims brought against the company by a large landowner in the Permian Basin. After securing a summary judgment ruling that significantly reduced the liability in the case, the landowner gave up and dismissed the remaining claims against his client on the eve of trial.
• Trade secret claims – Representing plaintiffs, Mr. Shelby has secured multiple temporary restraining orders, temporary injunctions, and permanent injunctions for oilfield tool and service companies. He recently served as the lead trial lawyer for an oilfield tools company in a high-profile bench trial against a competitor who bribed an employee to get manufacturing drawings and then provided them to Chinese manufacturers. The competitor was forced to take the unusual step of agreeing to the entry of a permanent injunction at the end of the trial. See this Houston Chronicle story about the case.
Representing defendants, Mr. Shelby recently forced one of the largest oilfield services companies in the world to abandon its trade secret claims and dismiss the lawsuit within two weeks of filing suit.
• Breach of fiduciary duty claims — Mr. Shelby, along with AZA’s Joseph Ahmad and Adam Milasincic, have vigorously defended a former in-house lawyer for Schlumberger against Schlumberger’s trade secret and breach of fiduciary duty claims. The district court ultimately dismissed the majority of the claims against AZA’s client under the Texas Anti-SLAPP statute and hit Schlumberger with $600,000 in sanctions and attorneys’ fees. This case has received widespread media attention.
• Inventors – Mr. Shelby routinely represents inventors in disputes related to the ownership of patents and royalties owed under licensing agreements.
• Electric and gas utilities – Mr. Shelby represented a large electric and gas utility in commercial, environmental, property-damage, and personal-injury disputes. He also defended a large retail electric utility against breach of contract and deceptive trade practice claims.
• Insurance brokers – Mr. Shelby defended against professional-liability and business-tort claims asserted against one of the largest insurance brokers in the world.
COURT ADMISSIONS AND AFFILIATIONS
•State Bar of Texas
•United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
•United States District Courts for the Southern, Eastern and Northern Districts of Texas
•Institute for Energy Law, Advisory Board, 2010-2011
•Houston Bar Association, CLE Committee, 2008 & 2010
•Houston Young Lawyers Association
PUBLICATIONS, PAPERS AND CLE PRESENTATIONS
Witness Credibility in Trial and Depositions, Texas Lawyer’s In-House Counsel Summit, March 2013.
Strategies for Corporate Representative Depositions, 33rd Annual Corporate Counsel Institute, Houston, Texas, April 2011
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