Chris Norton

Chris Norton studied nuclear engineering at Texas A&M and mechanical engineering at the University of Houston. During his time in undergraduate school, he received both athletic and academic scholarships. After graduating first in his class, Mr. Norton was employed as an engineer with Top Secret security clearance for the Boeing Company, and worked on the design of nuclear war heads as well as the first Space Shuttle. He returned to law school at the University of Texas where he graduated in 1984 as a member of the Order of the Coif (top 10%).

Mr. Norton began his legal career primarily representing insurance companies and Fortune 500 companies. His defense experience gave him insight into how to best represent plaintiffs in cases against sizeable defendants. He subsequently became managing partner of the Bristow Hackerman Wilson & Peterson, P.C. litigation firm where he represented injured parties in mass tort cases and continued his representation of large clients in complex commercial cases.

With 27 years of experience, Mr. Norton presently focuses on representing individuals and small businesses. Mr. Norton and his wife have one son in middle school. He is actively involved with Boy Scouts, coaching young boys in athletics and holds a leadership position in the Married Adults Bible Study groups at Second Baptist Church. 

Representative Cases

Mass Tort:

  • Larry F. Robb, Individually and in behalf of a Class of Minority Shareholders of 3CI Complete Compliance Corp., et. al. vs. Stericycle, Inc., et. al. While at the Wynne Law Firm, Mr. Norton in conjunction with other lawyers, represented the minority shareholders of a publically traded medical waste management company in a class action against the majority shareholder alleging several theories of action that primarily included minority shareholder oppression. After almost four years of intense litigation, jurisdictional and legal challenges, related but diversionary suits in Harris County, removal to federal court and remand, hundreds of thousands of pages of documents produced, many of which required court orders, approximately forty oral depositions in locations across the country, thirteen motions to compel and for sanctions, awards of monetary sanctions and ultimately an order prohibiting the defendants from offering affirmative evidence in support of their defenses, the case settled shortly before trial for $32,500,000. In addition, the Court approved an Order awarding attorneys' fees of $10,833,333 plus out-of-pocket expenses of $391,385 to be paid out of the settlement proceeds. 

  • McDonald, et. al. v. Shell Oil Co., Hoechst Celanese Corporation, et. al. While at the Bristow, Hackerman, Wilson & Peterson, P.C. law firm, Mr. Norton in conjunction with other lawyers and law firms, represented over six thousand individual homeowners who purchased homes with defective plumbing systems. Almost 400 homeowners' cases were tried at once in the McDonald trial. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the homeowners and found fraud, gross negligence, knowing violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices, despicable conduct under California law, and punitive damages under Texas, California and Florida law. The cases for all six thousand plus homeowners settled after this trial.

Contract Disputes:

  • Southern Pacific Transportation Company v. Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas.While at the Bristow, Hackerman, Wilson & Peterson, P.C. law firm, Mr. Norton in conjunction with another lawyer, represented Southern Pacific Transportation Company in a contract, commercial real estate action with the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas. Both parties sued for breach of $114 million rail corridor and right-of-way purchase and sale agreement. The case settled after one week of jury trial. 

  • Nordic Aviation v. Tenneco Inc. While at the Bristow, Hackerman, Wilson & Peterson, P.C. law firm, Mr. Norton defended Tenneco in a breach of contract, conversion and misrepresentation action brought by a company seeking over $3,000,000 in damages. In addition to defending against the claims, we filed counterclaims for fraud and conspiracy as well as a third party action. When the case was called to trial, the plaintiff dropped all claims against the client and the third party agreed to a judgment in favor of the client.
  • Buffalo/Alabama Apartments, Ltd. v. Steadfast Insurance Company (referred to arbitration). While at the Wynne Law Firm, Mr. Norton in conjunction with another lawyer, represented the owner an apartment complex against the design professionals excess insurer over the defective design of a multi-million dollar, multi-story parking garage. An arbitration hearing was tried to conclusion and the arbitration panel awarded our client all of its damages plus all of its attorney fees.

  • George Cook, et. al. v. E.I. Dupont de Nemours and Company. While at the Bristow, Hackerman, Wilson & Peterson, P.C. law firm, Mr. Norton represented an individual inventor against Dupont for their failure to perform under an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement for the development and sale of new electronic technology. The case settled out of court with client receiving his actual damages, prejudgment interest, court costs and attorneys fees. The settlement amount is subject to a confidentiality agreement. 

  • Port of Galveston v. TransFreight Lines. While at the Miller, Keeton, Bristow & Brown law firm, Mr. Norton defended TransFreight Lines in an action brought by the Port of Galveston against client for outstanding transportation charges allegedly in excess of $400,000. After the deposition of the plaintiff's key witness shortly before trial, the Port of Galveston dismissed all claims against client.

Oil and Gas:

  • While at the Miller, Keeton, Bristow & Brown law firm, Mr. Norton in conjunction with another lawyer, represented Exxon in an arbitration proceeding of the final redetermination of the Initial Participating Areas under the Prudhoe Bay Unit Operating Agreement and Related Agreements. The arbitration was to finalize the boundaries of the gas cap and oil rim and determine the ultimate recoverable hydrocarbons, thus establishing the interest ownership of the participants in the Prudhoe Bay Unit. The parties settled prior to the commencement of the arbitration proceedings.

  • Seneca Resources v. Cashco Oil Company. While at the Miller, Keeton, Bristow & Brown law firm, Mr. Norton in conjunction with another lawyer, represented the operator of a large offshore oil and gas project. Suit against the non-operator was brought because the non-operator failed to pay its proportionate share of the development cost. The non-operator counterclaimed seeking damages because of the operator's alleged imprudent operations. The case was bifurcated such that approximately half of the non-operator's claims were tried to a court appointed master. After a month-long trial, the master rejected the non-operator's claims and awarded our client recovery of the development costs. Shortly thereafter, the case settled in favor of client.

  • While at the Miller, Keeton, Bristow & Brown law firm, Mr. Norton defended Enron and Northern Natural Gas Company as lead counsel in approximately twenty five natural gas, take or pay, cases. All cases settled prior to selection of the jury.

Personal Injury:

  • Suzanne K. Owen, et. al. v. Wolfe Nursery, Inc. While at the Miller, Keeton, Bristow & Brown law firm, Mr. Norton represented a woman who broke her leg when she slipped and fell at one of the defendant's stores. After seven successful motions to compel and for sanctions, Client was awarded in excess of $12 million in sanctions. The case subsequently settled with the Client receiving in excess of $900,000 after attorney fees and costs.

  • While at the Bristow, Hackerman, Wilson & Peterson, P.C. law firm, Mr. Norton represented various insurance companies in coverage disputes and was partner in charge of insurance defense docket for personal injuries, product liability, general liability and property damage claims involving hundreds of lawsuits.

  • Don McAlister Inc., et. al. v. Leopold Bros. Feed and Seed. While at the Bristow, Hackerman, Wilson & Peterson, P.C. law firm, Mr. Norton defended the owners of a grain elevator who were sued under the theories of negligence, product liability, and the D.T.P.A. for allegedly selling contaminated horse feed that killed a herd of valuable show horses. The case was tried to a jury verdict. The jury found in favor of client on all theories and additionally found the plaintiff was guilty of negligence.

  • Gloria Sklar v. Richard Harris. While at the Bristow, Hackerman, Wilson & Peterson, P.C. law firm, Mr. Norton defended the driver of a car who ran into the rear of the plaintiff's car while the plaintiff was stopped making a left hand turn into a private drive. The case was tried to a jury verdict. The jury found in favor of client on all theories and additionally found the plaintiff was negligent. 

  • Christina Pienta v. The Automobile Insurance Company of Hartford, Connecticut, et. al. While at the Bristow, Hackerman, Wilson & Peterson, P.C. law firm, Mr. Norton defended a truck driver and trucking company whose driver lost control of a rig after driving for nearly 24 hours without sleep and crashed at night. Plaintiff was injured when her vehicle struck the trailer at rest in the middle of the highway. Jury found both plaintiff and clients negligent, but returned a verdict substantially less than amount offered in settlement before trial.

Note: Past successes do not guarantee similar results under different factual and legal circumstances.

 

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