Debora Simon Pacholder
Debora Simon Pacholder has secured winning outcomes for plaintiffs and defendants in complex litigation, including commercial, employment, civil rights, commercial landlord and tenant, insurance coverage, and multi-party tort litigation.
In March 2006, she won nearly $140,000 in sanctions against National Oilwell on behalf of the former president of National Oilwell’s subsidiary. The sanctions award, based on National Oilwell’s filing of a groundless “strike” suit, was noted in Texas Lawyer and was identified as the “verdict of the week” by the Texas Bluesheet. National Oilwell had alleged fraud and breach of fiduciary duties against its former officer, claiming more than $1 million in damages. After Ms. Pacholder obtained dismissal all of the claims brought by National Oil Well on summary judgment, she succeeded in recovering what is believed to be the highest ever amount of sanctions assessed in an employment case in state district court in Houston.
Ms. Pacholder succeeded in recovering long-term disability and other benefits for a former executive after a major insurance company had determined the executive was no longer disabled. She secured all the relief requested in pre-suit negotiations without filing suit.
Ms. Pacholder participated in the defense of a health services company sued for negligence in a wrongful death suit. After Ms. Pacholder filed for summary judgment on behalf of the company, the Plaintiffs settled the suit with the company’s co-defendant, but dismissed Ms. Pacholder’s client without requesting any settlement payment. In the summer of 2007, Ms. Pacholder and Mr. Zavitsanos recovered all of the client’s attorney’s fees incurred in defense of the medical malpractice suit in an arbitration action for indemnity against the company’s settling co-defendant.
For the same health services company, Ms. Pacholder has successfully obtained: 1) the appointment of a receivership over the defendant’s assets in a breach of contract action after less than one day of testimony; 2) a temporary injunction preventing disbursement of the defendant’s funds in another breach of contract action; 3) dismissal of two hotly contested actions brought against the company by a laboratory services company with no settlement payment by the company; 4) partial summary judgment on the defendant’s affirmative defenses in another breach of contract action, for which the client obtained in settlement 95 percent of the damages and attorneys fees incurred after presentation of the evidence at trial.
Ms. Pacholder successfully argued to the 14th Court of Appeals to have a summary judgment granted against her client overturned. The client, who had sought reimbursement for a settlement to which its insurer refused to consent, ultimately recovered the majority of the fees expended. The case,Comsys Information Technology Services, Inc. v. Twin City Fire Ins. Co., 130 S.W.3d 181 (Tex. App. Houston [14th Dist.] 2003, review denied) is cited often in insurance coverage opinions.
In 2006, she successfully defended an insurance adjuster in a mold claim in which the Plaintiff was seeking more than $1 million in damages.
Ms. Pacholder and John Zavitsanos defended a nation-wide auto and travel organization in a breach of contract and tortious interference action in which the plaintiff was seeking $8 million in damages. At the end of a five week trial, the jury returned a zero verdict in favor of the defense on all claims. The trial judge commented that the defense was one of the best he had seen. Ms. Pacholder and Mr. Zavitsanos successfully defended the verdict on appeal.
In a suit seeking more than $1 million in damages for breach of contract against a publicly traded telecommunications corporation, Ms. Pacholder defeated a party’s motion for protective order. The plaintiffs immediately dismissed all of their claims against the corporation.
In handling lease disputes for a major local shopping mall, she has obtained judgments to have commercial tenants evicted for non-payment of rent, recovered lease payments owed, and negotiated settlements. Ms. Pacholder also successfully defended a major local property management company in a claim for unpaid commissions, and, on the opposite side, has recovered unpaid commissions on behalf of another major commercial real estate firm. She has represented tenants in complex lease negotiations.
Ms. Pacholder defended a major automobile manufacturer against a claim of deceptive trade practices by a corporation and its individual proprietors who were seeking more than a million dollars in damages. She obtained an abatement of the corporation’s claim against the manufacturer due to the corporation’s non-payment of state franchise taxes. In another suit defending the same manufacturer, Ms. Pacholder negotiated a recovery on the client’s counter-claim, while the plaintiff took nothing.
She has obtained summary judgments on behalf of employers in various employment disputes. For example, she obtained summary judgment on all allegations of race and sex discrimination and racial and sexual harassment in a suit against a major corporation involved in the manufacturing of agricultural products. The summary judgment was upheld on appeal by the 5th Circuit en banc. Ms. Pacholder has also submitted numerous statements to the EEOC in defense of clients who have had charges filed against them for employment discrimination issues. Each of these submissions has resulted in a “no cause” finding.
Additionally, Ms. Pacholder’s negotiation skills have led her to achieve substantial results through mediation. She has successfully resolved more than 90 percent of the cases mediated on behalf of her clients.
Before joining the firm in February, 2000, Ms. Pacholder was an associate with Dallas’ Godwin Gruber (now Godwin Lewis) where she practiced in employment litigation and regularly secured non-suits and dismissals in tort litigation in which millions of dollars in damages were sought. She served as co-chair of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers Employment Law Committee from 1999-2000, and taught reading and writing skills to adults as an instructor for LIFT, Literacy Instruction for Texas.
Ms. Pacholder is a native Houstonian and is active in several community organizations. She was recognized by the Jewish Family Service of Houston for pro bono work. Ms. Pacholder was a speaker at the State Bar of Texas 19th Annual Texas Minority Counsel Program (2011) on “Obtaining and Avoiding Sanctions” Awards.
She attended the University of Houston Law Center, where she was a moot court semifinalist, and the University of Texas at Austin, where she graduated with honors in journalism and won several awards writing and editing for The Daily Texan.
- RCI v. American Automobile Association, Inc., 154 S.W.3d 878 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2005, review denied).
- Comsys Information Technology Services, Inc. v. Twin City Fire Ins. Co. , 130 S.W.3d 181 (Tex. App. Houston [14th Dist.] 2003, review denied).