Steven J. Mitby represents companies and individuals in high stakes business litigation throughout the United States. In 2014, Mr. Mitby served as lead counsel in major federal litigations in Texas, California, Delaware, and Georgia as well as a variety of state court matters in various jurisdictions. Unlike the majority of business litigators, he regularly tries cases. Mr. Mitby’s trial-focused approach to litigation results in more efficient pretrial discovery and better results for clients because he addresses every case issue based on what will influence the outcome at trial. He concentrates on commercial and intellectual property litigation.
Mr. Mitby has been recognized by attorneys across the country as one of the Best Lawyers in America for commercial litigation on the 2016-2017 lists. He also earned spots on the 2015-2016 Texas Super Lawyers lists, and on the 2011-2015 Texas Rising Stars lists, which honor the best and brightest Texas lawyers under age 40 and those in practice fewer than 10 years. He was selected based on nominations made by attorneys from across the state who were previously honored in the annual Texas Super Lawyers list. He is also a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. Mr. Mitby graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College and cum laude from Harvard Law School.
Recent successes include:
- In 2014, after a two-week business disparagement trial, Mr. Mitby won an $11.4 million jury verdict for Function One Consulting against a large national systems integration company. The win was ranked as Texas’ top verdict of 2014 in the intentional torts category, according to the legal reporting service VerdictSearch.This award is also the largest reputation-based tort verdict in Texas in the past decade and included a finding of actual malice and punitive damages. This result was especially notable because the defendants asserted multiple counterclaims (all of which they lost at trial) and, before trial, never offered a penny in settlement. The case settled favorably to Function One two weeks after the jury verdict.
- In 2014, Mr. Mitby represented Versata, Inc., an Austin, Texas-based software company in a multi-million dollar software license dispute with Equifax, Inc. Equifax filed a declaratory judgment action against Versata in its home jurisdiction of Atlanta, Georgia. Versata asserted copyright and trade secret counterclaims, seeking disgorgement of Equifax’s profits from the use of all software systems that incorporated Versata’s software as well as an injunction requiring Equifax to remove the Versata software from its servers. Mr. Mitby utilized a multi-disciplinary team of experts to establish the value of Versata’s software within these larger systems. The case settled favorably for Versata shortly after expert depositions.
- In 2014, Mr. Mitby defended Ignite, Inc., a Plano, Texas-based software company against patent infringement claims filed by Parallel Networks in Delaware. Mr. Mitby developed an invalidity defense, arguing that the accused features were part of software that predated Parallel’s patents. The case settled favorably to Ignite at mediation.
- In 2014, Mr. Mitby achieved a successful settlement in the defense of a high profile will contest in Jefferson County, Texas. Under the settlement, his client received more than he would have obtained under the will and related beneficiary designations that Mr. Mitby was defending.
- Mr. Mitby is currently defending Versata Software in patent and copyright litigation in the Northern District of California brought by XimpleWare Corporation, a provider of XML parsing software. The case is ongoing. Mr. Mitby is also representing a major oil and gas producer in litigation over a South Texas lease.
Besides these recent results, Mr. Mitby has been called in at the last-minute by other lawyers to try cases. In December 2010, for example, he was hired less than one month before trial to defend a company in a multimillion dollar shareholder dispute. With Steven as lead counsel, the company not only won on every single issue at trial, but was awarded $750,000 in attorney’s fees.
Mr. Mitby has also developed special focus in patent infringement and technology-related litigation. He has been trial counsel in three patent trials, one of which involved damages claims in the hundreds of millions of dollars. In 2011, Mr. Mitby was instrumental in winning the second-largest patent infringement verdict in the United States – a $392 million award in favor of his client against SAP Americas. (Read about this patent case here.)
In addition to his trial practice, Mr. Mitby Achieved significant appellate results. In 2010, Texas Lawyer named Steven “Appellate Lawyer of the Week” for his Fifth Circuit victory in a first-impression ERISA case against Continental Airlines, which garnered national and international press coverage. (Read about this appellate case here and hear Mr. Mitby’s oral argument here.) Mr. Mitby has also authored numerous successful appellate briefs in Texas state courts and in the Federal Circuit.
In keeping with AZA’s longstanding tradition of representing individual clients in sensitive legal matters, Mr. Mitby also represents corporate executives and public officials in high profile cases. In 2011, for example, Mr. Mitby successfully represented the CEO of the Houston Port Authority in criminal, county attorney, and internal investigations of the Port that received extensive press coverage in Houston. In the midst of a political and media firestorm, Mr. Mitby vindicated his client’s reputation by obtaining a rare letter of exoneration from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, which was widely publicized in the Houston Chronicle as well as Houston radio and television stations. (Read about this case here.) Mr. Mitby has achieved many similarly successful results for individual clients on a confidential basis.
OTHER REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS
- AMSF v. Halliburton (represented Halliburton in securities class action related to financial reporting of asbestos liabilities and losses on fixed price contracts).
- Coleman Holdings v. Morgan Stanley (represented Morgan Stanley in appeal of $1.58 billion judgment).
- ConocoPhillips v. G. B. Boots Smith (represented ConocoPhillips in dispute with pipeline construction contractor).
- Enron Corp. Savings Plan v. Hewitt Associates (represented benefits plan in litigation concerning misallocation of settlement funds from Enron-related class action).
- Ford Motor Company v. Navistar (represented Ford in contract litigation against main diesel engine supplier for Ford pickup trucks).
- Gammino v. Southwestern Bell (represented Southwestern Bell in patent litigation and appeal involving international call-blocking technology).
- Hercules v. OneBeacon Insurance Company (represented London market entities in insurance coverage dispute involving hundreds of millions of dollars in asbestos liabilities).
- Internal Investigation (represented audit committee of Fortune 500 company in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation involving Middle Eastern and Central Asian operations).
- Kothmann Enterprises v. Trinity Industries (represented Kothmann Enterprises in patent litigation involving roadside safety technology).
- Kovar, et. al. v. Platinum Energy Resources Inc. (represented shareholder group against claims it owed a substantial debt stemming from the merger of two oil and gas companies).
- Legacy Academy v. LLC Concepts (represented Legacy Academy in trademark litigation involving daycare centers in Houston and Dallas areas).
- Sky Technologies v. IBM (represented Sky Technologies in patent litigation involving software patents).
- SuperSpeed v. Oracle (represented SuperSpeed in patent litigation involving computer hardware technology).
- Texas Instruments Employment Matters (represented Texas Instruments in ERISA and civil rights cases).
- Texas Vioxx Litigation (represented Merck in cases involving novel products liability legal issues).