Robert E Meadows (Bobby)

Partner, Houston Office Managing Partner

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Robert Meadows

HOUSTON
T: +1 713 276 7370
F: +1 713 751 3290

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In the last decade, Mr. Meadows handled numerous high profile cases, many of which were tried. Over the last 10 years, Mr. Meadows spent a combined total of more than one year and three months in the courtroom.

  • 2010: Mr. Meadows led his trial team to a defense verdict for client Shell Oil Company in a drinking-water contamination case tried over a period of almost five months in California Superior Court in San Bernardino, California. The City of Redlands, California, brought suit against Shell, seeking compensatory and punitive damages for alleged malice relating to contamination of groundwater. The City argued for $46 million and an unspecified amount of punitive damages. On May 20, after four days of deliberations, the jury returned a defense verdict—i.e., no liability—for Shell. This case was recently selected by the Los Angeles Daily Journal as one of the Top Ten Defense Verdicts of 2010.
  • 2009: After a three-week jury trial in Vidalia, Louisiana, Mr. Meadows’ trial team won a defense verdict for Chevron in a case alleging property damage from historic oilfield operations in Concordia Parish, Louisiana. The plaintiff claimed that Chevron and the subsequent operators had knowingly contaminated the property with “toxic water” and “hazardous waste” from its oil and gas operations and demanded $125 million to remediate the property, as well as punitive damages. Prior to trial, Chevron and the other defendants submitted a $1 million remediation plan, which plaintiff refused. The jury rejected plaintiff's claims for negligence and punitive damages and, under a breach of contract claim, awarded the Chevron-proposed remediation costs of $1 million.
  • 2008: A three-member AAA panel in Houston, Texas, rendered a take-nothing judgment in favor of Chevron. The plaintiff, LL&E, sued to enforce a ‘preferential purchase right’ on oil and gas properties valued at $600 million that Chevron owned and sold to a competing purchaser, Hillcorp. LL&E claimed that Chevron wrongfully allowed Hillcorp access to certain seismic data that had been jointly developed by LL&E and Chevron, and Hillcorp was able to use the data to submit a lower bid. The arbitrators rejected the claim.
  • 2008: Mr. Meadows and team obtained a major victory on the eve of trial for Cooper Industries in a mass toxic tort case. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky granted summary judgment against four bellwether plaintiffs. Plaintiffs contended that general evidence of contamination in the area, combined with alleged evidence of elevated chemicals in the plaintiffs’ blood, was sufficient to show causation. The court disagreed.
  • 2007: In an arbitration held in New York City, King & Spalding and Mr. Meadows succeeded in enforcing an indemnity obligation that was obtained in 1974 when Chevron sold a nuclear fuel fabricating plant in Missouri to Combustion Engineering, Inc. (CE). As part of the consideration, CE agreed to assume and indemnify Chevron against all future loss or liability relating to the condition of the property. In 2003, Westinghouse Electric Company LLC, the current owner of the plant, filed a CERCLA cost recovery action against Chevron and others for past and future costs to remediate environmental contamination at the Missouri property. In addition, the state of Missouri filed a CERCLA natural resource damage claim, and neighbors filed toxic tort claims against Chevron for property damage. In reliance on the 1974 sale agreement, Chevron demanded indemnity from CE and its successor, Westinghouse, for all claims asserted against Chevron. These companies had denied their indemnity obligation, seeking to avoid a $150 million clean up.
  • 2007: King & Spalding and Mr. Meadows successfully defended Chevron in a number of lawsuits filed by the Oklahoma Tax Commission claiming more than $100 million in underpaid royalties, penalties and interest. After jury selection in one case and a ruling by the trial court that the plaintiffs’ damage theories failed as a matter of law, favorable settlements were reached that ended a decadelong litigation.   
  • 2007: In a two-week class certification hearing, King & Spalding and Mr. Meadows defended Chevron in a putative class action in Orleans Parish, Louisiana, brought by plaintiffs alleging personal injuries from exposure to Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) from nearby pipe yards that cleaned oilfield equipment. The Chevron team took the lead among various oil company defendants at the hearing and defeated class certification.
  • 2006: Mr. Meadows’ team spent more than two weeks in a hearing in Mexico City, representing a KBR, Inc. subsidiary in a dispute against a subsidiary of Pemex (PEP), Mexico’s national oil company. King & Spalding’s client claimed to have suffered significant losses resulting from PEP’s failure to perform under an EPC agreement entered in October 1997 for the construction of two large offshore platforms and ancillary structures in the Bay of Campeche on the Gulf of Mexico for the treatment, processing and reinjection of natural gas. The principal claim turned on whether PEP had delayed and disrupted the construction and improperly refused to pay certain change orders. A complete victory was obtained in 2010, when The International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) awarded approximately $350 million in damages, fees, expenses and interest accrued to date.
  • 2005: After a pre-trial that lasted 18 months in federal court in New Mexico, Mr. Meadows’ team assisted Chevron and Texaco in securing a summary judgment, dismissing all claims by the state of New Mexico for natural resource damages totaling $5 billion.
  • 2004: At the end of a seven-week jury trial in Houston, Texas, a unanimous defense verdict was delivered for King & Spalding client Halliburton Energy Services. The plaintiffs asked the jury for $140 million because of the second and third degree burn injuries suffered by four workers from a chemical plant explosion in Pasadena, Texas. To win the case, plaintiffs needed only to convince the jury that Halliburton was 1% at fault.
  • 2002: A four-week jury trial in Brookhaven, Mississippi, ended with Mr. Meadows’ team securing a defense verdict for Chevron; an award totaling $88,500 was divided among four plaintiffs. On similar claims of environmental damage to property caused by oil field pipe cleaning operations that released radioactive material, the same plaintiff lawyers had obtained a $1 billion verdict against another major oil company in Louisiana a few months earlier. Following the jury trial, the judge held a week-long evidentiary hearing on whether plaintiffs’ claim for punitive damages could proceed. He ruled for Chevron and denied plaintiffs a jury trial on their punitive damages claim.
  • 2001: King & Spalding and Mr. Meadows obtained a unanimous jury verdict for Compressor Engineering Company in Houston, Texas, defeating the plaintiff’s claim of disability and a lost career as a country and western singer, all said to have resulted from exposure to hydrogen sulfide that escaped due to defendants’ manufacture and installation of a defective valve. The victory occurred in a retrial ordered by the district court judge; the first trial was defended by another firm and ended in a plaintiff verdict.
  • 2000: Mr. Meadows and his team defended Halliburton Company at a trial in Mobile, Alabama, in a case involving claims of breach of fiduciary duty and theft of trade secrets. Plaintiffs sought more than $23 million; the jury returned a complete defense verdict.
EDUCATION
J.D., University of Houston
M.P.A., Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas
B.A., University of Texas

ADMISSIONS
Oklahoma
Texas
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas