Lauren Beck Harris
J.D., Baylor University School of Law, Baylor Law Review, 1990
B.A., Government, The University of Texas at Austin, 1987
United States Supreme Court
United States Court of Appeals Fifth and Tenth Circuit
United States District Court Northern, Southern, Western and Eastern Districts of Texas
Lauren Harris is a partner in the litigation practice group and head of the appellate section of Porter Hedges. With over twenty-eight years of experience as lead counsel in state and federal appellate courts, she prepares briefs and presents oral argument in appeals from judgments, interlocutory appeals, and in original proceedings.
Ms. Harris has handled hundreds of appeals in a variety of areas including energy litigation, commercial disputes, products liability, labor and employment, healthcare liability, professional liability, legal and medical malpractice, construction litigation, and toxic tort. She is frequently retained to assist clients with preservation of error strategies at the trial court level, including the preparation of dispositive motions, jury charges, post-verdict and post-judgment motions and assistance in trial.
Ms. Harris is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She is the past chair of the Houston Bar Association Appellate Practice Section. She has also served as chair of the International Association of Defense Counsel Appellate Practice Committee, and the Amicus Curiae Committee. Ms. Harris has served on the State Bar of Texas' Appellate Section Council, and on the Board of Directors of the College of the State Bar of Texas. She was selected for inclusion in Texas Super Lawyers in appellate law in 2003-2008, 2012-2018 and selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019. BTI Consulting Group has also recognized her as a "Client Service All-Star," awarded annually to a select group of attorneys acknowledged by corporate counsel for client service excellence.
- Achieved favorable jurisdictional ruling on behalf of foreign energy companies in a suit alleging the companies tortiously interfered with a Texas entity’s attempt to purchase Colombian assets. Searcy v. Parex Resources, Inc., 496 S.W.3d 58 (Tex. 2016).
- Represented energy company in appeal involving a mineral lease dispute and achieved an affirmance of the judgment for the client company. Orca Assets, G.P., LLC v. Burlington Resources Oil and Gas Co., L.P., 464 S.W.3d 403 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi-Edinburg 2015, pet. denied).
- Represented energy company in competing oil company’s challenge to an adverse judgment relating to title to Louisiana assets, and obtained affirmance of the judgment and a decision that the firm’s client was entitled to recover attorneys’ fees. Devon Energy Prod. Co., L.P. v. KCS Resources, LLC, 450 S.W.3d 203 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2014, pet. denied).
- Defended oil and gas company in an appeal involving whether the company owed a contractor’s injured employee a duty to warn of the dangers of hydrogen sulfide gas, and obtained an affirmance of the judgment for the company. Hammack v. Conoco, Inc., 902 S.W.2d 127 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 1995, writ denied).
- Assisted in obtaining a reversal of a $2.5 million dollar judgment against an environmental consultant alleged to have breached his fiduciary duties. Bigham v. Southeast Texas Environmental, LLC, 458 S.W.3d 650 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2015, no pet.).
- Participated in the successful defense of a leading oil and gas consulting firm in an appeal by a purchaser of oil and gas properties alleging errors in reserve estimates. In re Capco Energy, Inc., 669 F.3d 274 (5th Cir. 2012).
- Represented oil and gas consulting firm in investor’s appeal in which the trial court’s preclusion of the investor’s claims for fraud and related common law theories for alleged errors in oil reserve estimates was affirmed. Highland Capital Management, L.P., v. Ryder Scott Co., 402 S.W.3d 719 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2012, no pet.).
- Successfully defended law firm on appeal against legal malpractice claims asserted by condominium association based on the law firm’s alleged failure to sue a surety on a performance bond. Augusta Court Co-Owners’ Ass’n v. Levin, Roth & Kasner, 971 S.W.2d 119 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 1998, pet. denied).
Labor and Employment:
- Obtained reversal of substantial judgment against former employee alleged to have used former employer’s trade secrets in a competing business. Kellmann v. Workstation Integrations, Inc., 332 S.W.3d 679 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2010, no pet.).
- Represented employee of temporary employment agency before the Texas Supreme Court and obtained reversal of judgment for agency’s client company on whose premises worker was injured. Garza v. Exel Logistics, Inc., 161 S.W.3d 473 (Tex. 2005).
- Obtained a reversal of the trial court’s failure to dismiss a medical malpractice lawsuit against a Texas hospital based on the plaintiffs’ failure to timely serve expert reports, and an affirmance of the decision dismissing the suit against the treating physician. St. Luke’s Episcopal Hosp. v. Poland, 288 S.W.3d 38 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2009, pet. denied); Poland v. Ott, 278 S.W.3d 39 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2008, pet. denied).
- Assisted in appeal on behalf of health care provider involving whether provider could be liable for administering necessary life-sustaining medical care to a newborn infant contrary to the parents’ instructions. HCA, Inc. v. Miller, 36 S.W.3d 187 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2000), aff’d, 118 S.W.3d 758 (Tex. 2003).
- Successfully defended health care provider in case involving whether hospital employee could recover for reaction to medication obtained from hospital pharmacy, or whether reaction to medication was extension of work-related injury, making recovery under the Workers’ Compensation Act the employee’s exclusive remedy. Payne v. Galen Hosp. Corp., 4 S.W.3d 312 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 1999), aff’d, 28 S.W.3d 15 (Tex. 2000).
- Achieved affirmance of a judgment for a hospital on the plaintiff’s claims for negligence in the peer review and credentialing process. Mills v. Angel, 995 S.W.2d 262 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 1999, no pet.).
- Represented health care facility in successful mandamus action involving the application of the hospital committee and peer review committee privileges. In re WHMC, 996 S.W.2d 409 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 1999, orig. proceeding).
- Successfully represented hospital in appeal involving whether the hospital could be liable under an ostensible agency theory for injuries a minor child suffered during birth. Valdez v. Pasadena Healthcare Management, Inc., 975 S.W.2d 43 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 1998, pet. denied).
- Represented a Texas hospital in a lease dispute with a former lessor and obtained affirmance of the summary judgment for the hospital. Celtic Prop., L.L.C. v. Cleveland Regional Medical Center, L.P., No. 09-13-00464-CV, 2015 WL 4600661 (Tex. App.—Beaumont July 31, 2015, no pet.).
- Obtained a reversal of a trial court’s determination that personal jurisdiction did not exist over a non-resident chemical company in Texas on behalf of a Texas manufacturer in its suit for breach of a licensing agreement and misappropriation of trade secrets. Calabrian Corp. v. Alliance Specialty Chem., Inc., 418 S.W.3d 154 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2013, no pet.).
- Achieved affirmance of a multi-million dollar judgment including punitive damages for clients whose property was damaged as a result of a natural gas pipeline explosion. Seminole Pipeline Co. v. Broad Leaf Partners, Inc., 979 S.W.2d 730 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 1998, no pet.).
- Represented construction company in overturning an adverse judgment for alleged defects in a hazardous waste containment facility where the plaintiff chemical company remediated the alleged defects prior to any inspection. Gulf Chem. & Metallurgical Corp. v. Miner Dederick Constr., LLP, 455 S.W.3d 164 (Tex. 2015) (per curiam).
- Represented engineering and construction company in the successful defense of a building owner’s appeal asserting alleged construction defects. South Texas College of Law v. KBR, Inc., 433 S.W.3d 86 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2014, pet. denied).
- Achieved reversal of a trial court’s denial of arbitration in a remediation contractor’s dispute with a school district over the work performed. Cotton Commercial USA, Inc. v. Clear Creek Indep. Sch. Dist., 387 S.W.3d 99 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2012, no pet.).
- Defended a contractor of a major high rise project in an appeal by a condominium association to recover for alleged construction defects, and obtained an affirmance of the judgment for the contractor. Bayou Bend Council of Co-Owners v. Manhattan Constr. Co., 866 S.W.2d 740 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 1993, writ denied).
First Amendment and Anti-SLAPP:
- Accomplished a reversal of the lower court’s decision declining to dismiss tort claims against a non-profit company for its publication of its ratings of the plaintiff’s home repair business. Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan Houston, Inc. v. John Moore Services, Inc., 441 S.W.3d 345 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2013, pet. denied).
- Secured a reversal of the lower court's denial of a motion to dismiss a second lawsuit by a home repair business for alleged poor ratings, and the client received its attorneys' fees and award of sanctions. Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan Houston, Inc. v. John Moore Services, Inc., 500 S.W.3d 26 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2016, pet. denied).
- Fuentes v. Zaragoza, No. 01-16-00251-CV, 2018 WL 2437120 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] May 31, 2018, no pet.) (achieved reversal of judgment against individual third party and corporate clients alleged to be alter egos of husband in divorce proceeding involving estate claimed to be worth $1 billion).
- In re Fuentes, 530 S.W.3d 244 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2017, ong. proceeding) (mandamus relief granted to corporate entities and individual against whom wife in divorce proceeding sought to enforce judgment despite $25 million supersedeas bond).
Professional / Civic Affiliations
- International Association of Defense Counsel, Chair, Appellate Practice Committee (2001-2003); Chair, Amicus Curiae Committee (2004-2010), Vice-Chair, Amicus Curiae Committee (2018-)
- State Bar of Texas: Council, Appellate Section (2006-2009); Commission for Lawyer Discipline, Special Assistant Disciplinary Counsel (1998-1999); Board of Directors, College of the State Bar of Texas (2004-2010)
- Houston Bar Association, Appellate Practice Section, Chair (2006-2007)
- American Bar Association, Council of Appellate Lawyers; Tort & Insurance Practice Section, Appellate Practice Committee (1999-2001)
- Defense Research Institute, Member
- Texas Association of Defense Counsel, Member
- Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit, Member
- Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists, Member
- Texas Bar Foundation, Sustaining Life Fellow
- Houston Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
- Houston Young Lawyers Foundation, Life Fellow
- Phi Delta Phi Honorary Legal Fraternity, Member
- Baylor Law Review Association, Life Member
- Junior League of Houston, Inc., Board Member (2000-2001)
- “Post-Verdict Issues,” 2013 Harris County Civil Judicial Education Conference (08/05/13)
- "Jury Charge Update," State Bar of Texas Summer School Course, Galveston, Texas (2010)
- "Default Judgments," State Bar of Texas, Advanced Civil Appellate Practice Course, Boot Camp, Austin, Texas (2006)
- "Texas Supreme Court Update," Harris County Judicial Conference, Austin, Texas (2005)
- "House Bill 4 and Other New Statutes - A Year Later," State Bar of Texas, Advanced Civil Trial Course, Dallas, Texas (2004)
- "Recent Class Action Developments," State Bar of Texas, Advanced Civil Appellate Practice Course, Austin, Texas (2002)
- "Using an Appellate Lawyer at Trial," International Association of Defense Counsel, Mid-Year Meeting, Tuscon, Arizona (2002)
- "Drafting an Effective Statement of Facts," Practicing Before the First and Fourteenth Courts of Appeal, Houston Bar Association Continuing Legal Education (2001)
- "Appellate Ethics," University of Texas School of Law, 10th Annual Conference on State and Federal Appeals, Austin, Texas (2000)
- "SCOTX Mulls Role of Reasonableness in ‘Farm Out’ Agreements," The Texas Lawbook (01/17/19)
- "Chipotle Gets New Trial In $3M Sexual Assault Case," Law360 (11/20/18)
- "Foreign Cos. Can Escape ERG Suit, Texas High Court Says," Law360 (06/17/16)
- "Texas Court Axes $2.6M Award Over Enviro Contamination," Law360 (02/05/15)
- "Devon Energy's Oil Deed Suit Stays Dead In Texas," Law360 (10/30/14)
- "Texas Court Urged To Nix $100M Suit Over Failed Energy Deal," Law360 (09/18/13)
- "Defamation Suits Face High Bar In Texas Anti-SLAPP Law," Law360 (07/24/13)
- "BBB Ducks Repair Company's Defamation Suit On Appeal," Law360 (07/16/13)
- "Oil Appraiser Ducks Fraud Claims Over $24M Investment," Law360 (04/05/12)