James E. Smith
B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Kansas, Tau Beta Pi, Phi Lambda Upsilon, 1978
J.D., with honors, The University of Texas School of Law, 1982
United States District Court Northern, Southern, Western and Eastern Districts of Texas
United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit
United States Patent and Trademark Office
United States Court of Appeals Federal Circuit
Jim Smith is a partner in the environmental section of Porter Hedges. His practice principally focuses on environmental matters, in counseling, supporting transactions, and trying cases. His degree in chemical engineering combined with his legal experience enables him to bring a unique perspective as he represents refining, petrochemical and other resource related industry clients. He counsels corporate as well as individual clients on a variety of environmental issues, in addition to trying and arguing appeals in both civil and criminal matters and in both state and federal courts. Mr. Smith has appeared before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and other administrative agencies in permitting and enforcement matters.
Mr. Smith's practice concerns all major environmental media. His trial and transaction work has involved air quality, water quality, hazardous and solid waste, and other permitting and enforcement matters, as well as state and federal Superfund cases. He has facilitated closures under the Texas Voluntary Cleanup Program and has assisted with plume management zones and Municipal Settings Designations.
Mr. Smith also has experience in contract disputes and intellectual property matters, and is registered before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a patent attorney. He has represented individuals and corporations in criminal matters, both as attorney in charge of cases and as counsel in criminal investigations. He has also represented corporations in citizen suits, in both air quality and water quality cases and has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in private civil enforcement matters, dealing with water quality, solid waste and air quality issues.
Mr. Smith has been selected for inclusion in Texas Super Lawyers since 2003. He has also been listed in Chambers USA for Environmental Litigation since 2005, The Best Lawyers in America for Environmental Law since 1995, and is a past recipient of the Houston Bar Association's President's Award.
- Represented a major chemical manufacturing company in a Clean Water Act citizen's suit, brought by a national environmental interest group.
- Represented a major chemical manufacturing company regarding a disposal site before the state regulatory agency and defended that company in several related toxic tort suits.
- Represented a large electric cooperative in a contract dispute involving a gas fired power plant.
- Represented both large and small companies in transactions involving ongoing environmental permits, and often where ongoing remediation of affected soil and/or groundwater would continue after transfer of ownership, and assisted in drafting contract documents to manage the remedial efforts and allocate risks.
- Defended companies and individuals in both civil and criminal environmental enforcement matters.
- Assisted in conducting internal investigations, and presented the results of the investigation in order to persuade agencies not to pursue criminal and/or civil enforcement.
- Represented an upstream energy service company in a suit alleging that former employees stole trade secrets and devised systems that infringed on client's patents.
- Advised a chemical manufacturer regarding the quality of a potential acquisition targets' patent and trade secrets.
- Conducted a prosecution history review and advised a major refiner in response to claimed patent infringement, regarding fuel and lubricant additive patents.
- Represented clients in patent infringement cases involving computer software, computer hardware, drilling equipment, propping agents, and other oil and gas production technologies.
- Successfully defended clients in environmental criminal trials, and has arranged pre-trial diversions and plea agreements for corporations in environmental cases.
- Obtained dismissals on behalf of clients in criminal actions against corporations in environmental matters, on constitutional grounds and upon appeal.
- Negotiated supplemental environmental projects in order to facilitate the diversion and the dismissal of charges against a corporation in pre-trial diversion program.
- Tried civil cases to verdict based on nuisance, trespass, and/or the applicability of state or federal environmental regulations in civil disputes.
- Successfully brought and successfully defended cost recovery claims under the state and federal solid waste disposal or CERCLA statutes.
- Successfully handled arbitrations of private disputes relating to environmental cleanup and contractual issues.
- Argued several environmental cases before appellate courts.
Professional / Civic Affiliations
- State Bar of Texas, Member of Litigation, Environmental, and Intellectual Property Sections
- American Bar Association, Member of Litigation, Natural Resources and Environmental, and Intellectual Property Sections
- Houston Bar Association, Member of Litigation, Environmental, and Intellectual Property Sections
- Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow
- University of Texas School of Law, Keeton Fellow
- Mercury Baroque, Member of Board of Directors
- Environmental Alert: "Potential Seismic Activity from Injection Wells Prompts Railroad Commission of Texas to Order Hearings" (04/27/15)
- Litigation Alert: "Make Sure Your Expert Addresses Alternative Causes, or You May Get a Terrible Post-Trial Surprise" (04/08/15)
- Environmental Alert: "TCEQ Announcement Regarding Storage Vessels Subject to New Source Performance Standards for Oil and Gas Production, Transmission and Distribution" (03/11/15)
- "Texas High Court Aids Uncertainty Over TCEQ And Trespass," Law360 (02/19/15)
- Litigation Alert: "Texas Appellate Court Says Pipeline Must Convince Jury of Common Carrier Status in Condemnation Case" (02/18/15)
- Environmental Alert: "Texas Supreme Court Declines to Determine Effect of Permit in Subsurface Trespass Case" (02/10/15)
- "Contaminated Properties," Sound Advice, American Bar Association Section of Litigation (12/19/14)
- Construction Alert: "Texas Supreme Court Sinks Port Authority's Ship - Port Authority's No Damages for Delay Clause Held Unenforceable" (09/17/14)
- Environmental Alert: "EPA's Inspector General Says EPA Must Improve Efforts regarding Methane Emissions from Pipelines" (08/04/14)
- Environmental Alert: "Clearly Allocate Risk of Changed Interpretations in Transactions" (07/30/14)
- "Clearer Standard For Multiple Source Causation In Texas," Law360 (07/29/14)
- Environmental Alert: "Texas Supreme Court Clarifies Causation Standard in Multiple Source Toxic Tort Cases" (07/15/14)
- "With More Time, EPA Looks For Ways To Combat Acid Rain," Law360 (06/17/14)
- Environmental Alert: "DC Circuit Says EPA Can Delay Acid Rain Rules, but Vacates EPA’s Inconsistent Aggregation Policy" (06/05/14)
- Environmental Alert: "EPA Proposes Further Controls for Refinery Emissions" (05/15/14)
- Environmental Alert: "Supreme Court Reverses DC Court of Appeals; Finds EPA’s Basis for CSAPR to be Reasonable" (04/29/14)
- "EPA Shifts Focus In Fight To Deflate Methane Emissions," Law360 (04/24/14)
- Environmental Alert: "EPA's Draft Strategic Plan Acknowledges Reduction in Enforcement Resources" (01/14/14)
- Environmental Alert: "Texas Railroad Commission to Hire Seismologist" (01/08/14)
- Environmental Alert: "EPA Recognizes New Standard for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments in Real Estate Transactions" (01/07/14)
- Litigation Alert: "OSHA's Launch of Web Resources to "Assist" Companies May Be Part of a Disturbing Trend" (10/30/13)
- Environmental Alert: "US Supreme Court Appears Ready to Address GHG Issue Left Unresolved by Court of Appeals" (10/16/13)
- Environmental Alert: "Texas Appellate Court Says Cities Can Adopt and Enforce TCEQ Regulations" (09/04/13)
- Environmental Alert: "Texas Supreme Court Upholds TCEQ Discretion to Deny Public Hearings on Permit Amendments" (08/29/13)
- Litigation Alert: "Steps to Avoid Parent Company Liability for Worker Injuries" (08/28/13)
- Environmental Alert: "Silence When Questioned by Law Enforcement Can Be Used Against You" (07/18/13)
- Environmental Alert: "EPA's Inspector General Cites Five Key Management Challenges" (07/09/13)
- Environmental Alert: "Insurance Policyholders Should Expect Courts Will Strictly Interpret Notice Provisions" (06/26/13)
- "The 2012 Election's Effect on the Energy Industry and Energy Litigation," American Bar Association, Section of Litigation E-Newsletter (06/03/13)
- Environmental Alert: "EPA Proposes Changes to Oil & Gas Production Tank Emission Requirements" (04/22/13)
- Environmental Alert: "Texas Railroad Commission Adopts New Water Recycling Rules" (03/27/13)
- Environmental Alert: "SEC Refuses to Support Exclusion of a Shareholder Proposal Relating to Climate Change" (03/05/13)
- Environmental Alert: "Texas Supreme Court to Consider Who Can Oppose Proposed TCEQ Permits" (02/11/13)
- Environmental Alert: "Lack of GHG Permitting by TCEQ may be Hurting Texas Business" (01/10/13)
- Environmental Alert: "U.S. Supreme Court Reiterates that Transfers within a Stream Are Not Discharges" (01/09/13)
- "How Fracking Benefits Air Quality," Law360 (12/18/12)
- Environmental Alert: "Environmental Groups Seek New EPA Rules for Oil & Gas Industry" (10/29/12)
- Environmental Alert: "California Environmental Groups Seek to Halt Hydraulic Fracturing" (10/18/12)
- "D.C. Circuit Upholds EPS's Greenhouse Gas Regulations," WestLaw Journal (09/26/12)
- "A New Age for Hydrocarbon Development: How Will Environmental Regulatory Agencies Respond?," TerraLex Connections (09/25/12)
- "Process Facilities Pose Unique ESI Challenges," Texas Lawyer (09/03/12)
- Environmental Alert: "Air Emission Rules for Oil & Gas Published in Federal Register and Effective October 15, 2012" (08/28/12)
- Environmental Alert: "D.C. Circuit Reverses EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule" (08/22/12)
- Environmental Alert: "Fifth Circuit Upholds TCEQ's Flexible Permits Program" (08/15/12)
- Environmental Alert: "Environmental Groups Send EPA Notices of Intent to Sue Regarding Refinery Emissions" (07/23/12)
- Environmental Alert: "D.C. Circuit Upholds EPA's New Nitrogen Dioxide Standard" (07/18/12)
- Environmental Alert: "Court Refuses to Consider 'Big Picture' Arguments and Upholds EPA’s GHG Regulations" (07/17/12)
- Environmental Alert: "Chesapeake Settles Pennsylvania Water Contamination Case" (07/05/12)
- "New Rules in the Air," Oil and Gas Investor (07/01/12)
- Environmental Alert: "U.S. Supreme Court Increases Jury Role in Determining the Basis for Fines in Criminal Cases" (06/26/12)
- Environmental Alert: "D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Dismisses Petitions for Review of EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Rules" (06/26/12)
- Environmental Alert: "5th Circuit Upholds EPA Disapproval of TCEQ's QFP" (06/18/12)
- "Environmental Enforcement: Remember the ‘Citizen’ Groups When Resolving Compliance Issues," Westlaw Journal (05/22/12)
- "Environmental Regulation in 2012 and Beyond: Now Is the Time to Prepare," Energy Law Advisor (05/2012)
- News Update: "BP Engineer Arrested Relating to Deepwater Horizon - Not for Pollution, but for Deleting Text Messages" (04/25/12)
- Environmental Alert: "EPA Delays "Green Completion" Requirements for Gas Wells until 2015" (04/19/12)
- Environmental Alert: "EPA's Oil & Gas Emissions Rules Now Due April 17, 2012" (04/03/12)
- Environmental Alert: "Court Rules EPA was Wrong in Disapproving Texas SIP" (04/02/12)
- Environmental Alert: "API Report: EPA Regulations and Shortage of 'Green Completion' Equipment May Hinder Gas Production" (03/27/12)
- Environmental Alert: "US Supreme Court Allows Pre-Enforcement Challenges to Clean Water Act Administrative Orders" (03/22/12)
- Environmental Alert: "Texas Supreme Court Issues Landmark Groundwater Opinion" (02/27/12)
- Environmental Alert: "EPA Clarifies Position on Pavillion, WY Groundwater Dispute" (01/25/12)
- Environmental Alert: "Court Temporarily Halts Cross-State Air Pollution Rule" (01/09/12)
- Environmental Alert: "Texas Railroad Commission Adopts Rules on Disclosure of Fracking Chemicals" (12/15/11)
- Environmental Alert: "EPA Draft Report: Wyoming Groundwater Likely Contains Chemicals from Fracking" (12/09/11)
- Environmental Alert: "University of Texas Energy Institute Releases Preliminary Finding: No Link Between Hydraulic Fracturing and Groundwater Contamination" (11/16/11)
- Environmental Alert: "EPA Announces Schedule to Develop Natural Gas Wastewater Standards" (10/20/11)
- Environmental Alert: "EPA Concludes Hearings Regarding New Rules for the Oil and Gas Industry" (10/04/11)
- Environmental Alert: "EPA's OIG Determines that EPA Met Statutory Requirements, but not OMB Requirements, in Issuing GHG Endangerment Finding" (09/30/11)
- "EPA to Hold Hearings Regarding Proposed Air Quality Rules For The Oil And Natural Gas Industry," Oil & Gas Monitor (09/2011)
- Environmental Alert: "Texas Supreme Court Rules that Holding an Injection Well Permit Does Not Protect the Holder from Trespass Claims" (08/31/11)
- Environmental Alert: "Department of Energy Releases Initial Report on Environmental Impact of Shale Gas Production" (08/12/11)
- Environmental Alert: "Texas Files Briefs Challenging EPA’s GHG Program" (06/29/11)
- Client Alert: "Managing Employee Responses to Investigations" (03/2011)
- "Understanding CERCLA," ILTA, Storage Terminals Magazine (09/01/10)
- "Texas Legislation To Watch In 2015," Law360 (01/02/15)
- "Texas Looks To Bridge Divide Over Urban Fracking," Law360 (12/15/14)
- "Texas Justices Ax $400K Award for Environmental 'Stigma,'" Law360 (08/22/14)
- "Energy GCs: More M&A, JVs, IPOs Expected in 2014," The Texas Lawbook (01/23/14)
- "Texas Supreme Court weighs polluter’s toll on ranch’s value," Austin American-Statesman (01/02/14)
- "Plant Asks Texas Justices To Nix Damages In Light Of Cleanup," Law360 (12/05/13)
- "Texas High Court Takes Fight Of Pollution 'Stigma' Damages," Law360 (10/18/13)
- "Trying to Clear the Air," Houston Business Journal (02/08/13)
- "Schneiderman Grabs Reins In Run-Up To Methane Battle," Law360 (12/14/12)
- "Coal gets the squeeze from natural gas-fired power," Houston Business Journal (10/12/12)
- "9th Circ. Leaves Climate Change Suits Up To State Law," Law360 (09/21/12)
- "EPA, Texas dispute over Clean Air Act not over," Houston Business Journal (08/17/12)
- "Analysis: Insurers find it tough to price fracking risk," Reuters (05/11/12)
- "Fracking Regulations Could Bite Houston Natural Gas Producers," Houston Business Journal (04/27/12)
- "Texas unlikely to add impact fee on shale plays, experts say," Houston Business Journal (02/22/12)
- “Law360 Ranks Largest Energy Practice Groups,” Law360 (02/10/12)
- "Steffy: Other countries learning Macondo's lessons," Houston Chronicle (01/10/12)
- "Chinese Court Accepts $78M Oil Spill-Related Lawsuit against ConocoPhillips," International Business Times (01/03/12)
- "SEC Bears Down on Fracking," The Wall Street Journal (08/25/11)
- “Judge Trims Asarco Suit Over $150M Superfund Payout,” Law360 (08/09/11)
- "Porter Hedges Shows That a Midsize, Single-Office Firm Can Compete, and Win, Amid the Giants," Of Counsel Magazine (07/2011)
- "Firm Finance: Porter & Hedges," Texas Lawyer (04/25/11)
- "Porter & Hedges courts success by sticking with veteran attorneys, niche practices," Houston Business Journal (11/12/10)
- "Fundamentals of Environmental Enforcement," UHCLC Graduate School of Environmental Management, Environmental Law Class
- "Suggestions on Dealing with Agency Investigations," Environmental Law Enforcement class at South Texas College of Law
- "Lessons Learned for Experts and Advocates," Forensic Expert Witness Association Dallas Chapter Meeting (01/22/2015)
- "Legal Landmines - Litigation Holds, Spoliation, and other Litigation Hazards," Forensic Expert Witness Association (05/13/14)
- "Understanding and Complying with the Litigation Hold Memorandum: A Guide for Engineers and Facility Managers," Houston Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, April 2014 Technical Meeting (04/15/14)
- “Deposition Tactics, Tricks & Traps,” Forensic Expert Witness Association Houston Workshop (04/19/13)
- "Stormwater Discharge Permits and Clean Water Act Compliance" (04/26/12)
- Panelist: “Examination of Opposing Party Media,” Forensic Expert Witness Association, Houston Chapter (2012 Workshop) (03/30/12)
- “Update on Three Key Environmental Programs: Greenhouse Gas Regulation, Regulation of Air Emissions from Oil & Gas Facilities, and Cross State Air Pollution Rule,” CLE Presentation (11/02/11)
- "Increasing Expert Effectiveness at Trial,” Houston Chapter of the Forensic Expert Witness Association (04/21/11)
- "Fundamentals of Environmental Enforcement and Agency Investigations, " Houston Bar Association (12/16/10)
- Panelist: "Construction Defects and Environmental Issues," Forensic Expert Witness Association, Houston Chapter (2009)
- "Expert Testimony: The Basic Legal Requirements," Forensic Expert Witness Association, Houston Chapter (2009)
- "E-Discovery: The New Demands of a Wireless World," American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (2006)