Elizabeth Pannill Fletcher
Lizzie Fletcher represents plaintiffs and defendants in many types of business litigation including cases concerning breach of contract, covenants not to compete, trade secrets, employment, antitrust, securities, trademarks, and real estate matters.
Lizzie has successfully tried cases to verdict in state and federal courts. She has represented companies and individuals in internal investigations, shareholder derivative cases, and class actions; in the negotiation and litigation of severance, non-competition, non-disclosure, non-recruitment and related employment agreements; in investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission; before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Trademark Trial and Appeal Board; before commercial and employment arbitration panels; and before state and federal courts of appeal.
Lizzie has been recognized by attorneys across the country as one of the Best Lawyers in America for commercial litigation on the 2016 list and has been included on the 2012-2015 Texas Rising Stars lists, which name the best and brightest Texas lawyers under age 40 and those in practice fewer than 10 years.
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 AZA in 2009.
- Won a take-nothing verdict from a Harris County jury for a Houston businesswoman, defeating claims that she had received money from allegedly fraudulent commercial property sales.
- 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. Successfully defended final judgment and award of substantial attorneys’ fees to Mistras Group Inc. employee wrongly accused of breaching non-competition agreement in before the First Court of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court. Sentinel Integrity Solutions, Inc. v. Mistras Group, Inc., 414 S.W.3d 911 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2013, pet. denied).
- Successfully defended final judgment and award of substantial attorneys’ fees to Mistras Group Inc. employee wrongly accused of breaching non-competition agreement in before the First Court of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court. Sentinel Integrity Solutions, Inc. v. Mistras Group, Inc., 414 S.W.3d 911 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2013, pet. denied).
- 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 Zavitsanos petitioned for reconsideration, got the summary judgment reversed, and won summary judgment for Plains, obtaining substantial attorneys’ fees for Plains for defending the lawsuit.
- Won a successful defense verdict for 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 and obtained a jury verdict that competitor’s trademark was generic, resulting in the cancellation of the trademark.
- 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).
- In the last few years, Lizzie has successfully handled more than a dozen cases involving non-competition agreements, non-solicitation agreements, and non-recruitment covenants, often in connection with claims for theft of trade secrets, tortious interference with customers and employees, and business disparagement.
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 the arbitrator found that the executive was wrongfully terminated in connection with a stock-options backdating investigation and that company had breached her client’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 Cir. 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., 414 S.W.3d 911 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2013, pet. denied).
- McAfee v. Weiss, 336 S.W.3d 840 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2011, pet. denied).
- In re Travel Agent Comm’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 Cir. 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.
ADMISSIONS, PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES, & 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
- Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
HONORS & DISTINCTIONS
- Selected to Best Lawyers in America 2016.
- Selected to the Texas Rising Stars list for Business Litigation in 2012 – 2015.
- 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
PUBLICATIONS, PAPERS AND CLE PRESENTATIONS
- “Winning Opening Statements and Closing Arguments: Make them Effective and Ethical,”Panelist, The University of Texas School of Law 2015 Trial Skills Training Camp, October 23, 2015, Houston, Texas
- “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.