Robert K. Wise


Mr. Wise is a founding member of Lillard Wise Szygenda PLLC. Since completing his clerkship for the Hon. Paul C. Weick of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, he has practiced law in Dallas, Texas for more than thirty years. A former equity partner in the international law firm of Hunton & Williams LLP, Mr. Wise left Hunton to form Lillard Wise Szygenda, a firm focused on providing elite representation at economical rates.

Mr. Wise’s practice centers on trial and appellate litigation. He has tried more than thirty lawsuits and arbitrations and has argued more than thirty appeals in both Texas and federal appellate courts. His practice areas include: complex commercial litigation involving contract, misrepresentation, and breach of fiduciary duty claims, primarily in the energy, construction, banking, and real estate industries; construction-defects litigation; accounting-malpractice defense; and complex personal-injury litigation.

Mr. Wise also is an accomplished writer, having taught legal writing at the Dedman School of Law of Southern Methodist University and having published many law review articles on a variety of topics.

Noteworthy Accomplishments

  • In a case of first impression, convinced the Oklahoma Supreme Court to affirm a trial court’s application of non-Oklahoma law to the determination of the validity of a noncompete entered by Oklahoma residents in connection with the sale of a business, to (1) affirm the trial court’s holdings that the noncompete was valid under Texas law and breached by the sellers, injunctive relief was warranted, and a company owned by the sellers tortiously interfered with the noncompete, and (2) reverse and remand the case to the trial court for a determination of actual and punitive damages, which could exceed $24 million. See Berry & Berry Acquisitions, LLC v. BFN Props. LLC, 2018 OK 27, ___ P.3d ___ (2018).
  • Convinced the Texas Supreme Court to reinstate a summary judgment in favor of one of the nation’s largest midstream energy company in a highly publicized case in which a small town and many of its residents sued the owners of several compression stations for nuisance and trespass. See Town of Dish v. Atmos Energy Corp., 519 S.W.3d 605, 606 (Tex. 2017).
  • Obtained a summary judgment and the upheld it on appeal in a million-dollar lawsuit by a Fort Worth used-car dealership against a floor-plan financing company for alleged breaches of the parties’ floor-plan financing agreement, DTPA violations, fraud, and defamation. See KW Ministries, Inc. v. Auction Credit Enterprises, LLC, No. 05-14-01392-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 2930 (Tex. App.—Dallas Mar. 21, 2016) (mem. op.).
  • Defeated appeal from a summary judgment in favor of a major electric transmission and distribution company in a $25,000,000 negligence action arising out of a wildfire that destroyed a lake resort and many houses allegedly caused by an employee’s careless smoking.  See Club Vista Dev. II, Inc. v. Oncor Elec. Delivery Co., No. 05-12-01727-CV, 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 9081 (Tex. App.—Dallas Aug. 15, 2014, pet. denied) (mem. op.).
  • Successfully defended a major electric transmission and distribution company in a personal-injury lawsuit seeking more than $90 million in damages for injuries sustained by two minor children who allegedly came in contact with a downed power line.
  • Obtained a zero liability judgment after a two-week bench trial in a deceptive-advertising action brought by the FTC against three debt-settlement companies and their officers and directors in which the FTC sought more than $58 million dollars in damages, and then upheld the judgment on appeal.   See FTC v. Financial Freedom Processing, Inc., et al., No. 3:10-CV-2446-N (N.D. Tex. Mar. 12, 2012), aff’d, No. 12-10520, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 16766 (5th Cir. Aug. 12, 2013).
  • Obtained a $2.5 million summary judgment award on a railway’s indemnity claim against a feed mill operator related to a railroad crossing accident.  See Kan. City So. Ry. v. Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30260 (W.D. La. Mar. 29, 2010).
  • Obtained ruling from the Texas Public Utilities Commission clarifying the law on the proper calculation of administrative penalties under Section 15.023 of the Public Utility Regulatory Act.  See PUC Docket No. 37634, Agreed Notice of Violation and Settlement Agreement Relating to Luminant Energy Company LLC’s Violation Of PURA § 39.151(j) and PUC Subst. R. 25.503(f)(2), Relating to Failure to Adhere to ERCOT Protocol Concerning Load Acting as Resource Service Requirements, Order on Certified Issue at 3 (Feb. 25, 2010).
  • Successfully defended a major electric generating company in an administrative proceeding seeking the largest fine ($171 million) ever imposed by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.
  • Obtained a favorable jury verdict in a million dollar breach of contract and fraud action brought against a major mid-stream natural gas company.
  • Successfully prosecuted a multi-million dollar claim for defective design and construction of one the world’s state-of-the art, largest, and most expensive aggregate processing plants.
  • Successfully defended a leading prestressed concrete pipe manufacturer against a multi-million dollar claim that the pipe supplied for a major water transmission pipeline was defective.
  • Successfully represented several other pipe manufacturers in many multi-million dollar cases alleging design and manufacturing defects in prestressed concrete water pipe.
  • Obtained favorable appellate decision clarifying Texas law on standing to sue accounting firms for negligent misrepresentation.  See Compass Bank v. King, Griffin & Adamson, P.C., No. 3:01-CIV-2028-N, 2003 WL 22077721 (N.D. Tex. Sept. 5, 2003), aff’d, 388 F.3d 504 (5th Cir. 2004); Abrams Ctr. Nat’l Bank v. Farmer Fuqua & Huff, P.C., 225 S.W.3d 171 (Tex. App.–El Paso 2005).
  • Successfully tried six-week jury trial against Enron involving breach of contract and tortious interferance claims.
  • Successfully handled ERISA class action for major electric utility.
  • Obtained a $2 million jury verdict in a wrongful discharge and defamation action.
  • Successfully handled derivate litigation for major electric utility.
  • Successfully prosecuted antitrust and fraud claims involving coal leases worth billions of dollars for a major electric utility.
  • Argued appeals in the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fifth, Ninth, and D.C. Circuits and most Texas courts of appeals.  Published opinions in appeals handled by Mr. Wise include: CQ Inc. v. TXU Mining Co., 565 F.3d 268 (5th Cir. 2009); Metromedia Energy, Inc. v. Enserch Energy Servs., Inc., 409 F.3d 574 (3d Cir. 2005); Friberg v. Kan. City So. Ry., 267 F.3d 439 (5th Cir. 2001); Abrams Ctr. Nat’l Bank v. Farmer Fuqua & Huff, P.C., 225 S.W.3d 171 (Tex. App.–El Paso 2005, no pet.); Larue v. Genescreen, Inc., 957 S.W.2d 958 (Tex. App.–Beaumont 1997).   

Professional and Civic Affiliations

  • Member, State Bar of Texas
  • Member, Dallas Bar Association, Business Litigation Section Committee
  • Member, Dallas Bar Association, Chairman and Vice Chairman, Legal-Ethics Committee
  • Member, American Bar Association

Publications and Speeches

  • Co-Author, Texas Discovery: A Guide to Taking and Resisting Discovery Under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure (1st ed. 2016, 2d ed. 2019) (published by Texas Lawyer Books, an ALM publication)
  • Author, Texas Written Discovery: Drafting and Responding under the Texas Discovery Rules (2015) (published by Texas Lawyer Books, an ALM publication)
  • Co-Author, The Practitioner’s Guide to Properly Taking and Defending Depositions under the Texas Discovery Rules, 68 Baylor L. Rev. 399 (2016)
  • Principal Author, A Guide to Properly Using and Responding to Requests for Admission under the Texas Discovery Rules, 45 St. Mary’s L.J. 655 (2014)
  • Author, Ending Evasive Responses to Written Discovery: A Guide for Properly Responding (and Objecting to Interrogatories and Document Requests under the Texas Discovery Rules, 65 Baylor L. Rev. 510 (213)
  • Author, Administrative Penalties Against Electricity Market Participants Under the Texas Public Utility Regulatory Act, 62 Baylor L. Rev. 788 (2010)
  • Co-Author, First Refusal Rights Under Texas Law, 62 Baylor L. Rev. 433 (2010)
  • Co-Author, Of Lies and Disclaimers―Contracting Around Fraud Under Texas Law, 41 St. Mary’s L.J. 119 (2009)
  • Principal Author, Negligent Misrepresentation in Texas: The Misunderstood Tort, 40 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 845 (2008)
  • Author, Mediation in Texas: Can the Judge Really Make Me Do That?, 47 S. Tex. Law Rev. 849 (2006)
  • Author, Demand Futility in Shareholder-Derivative Litigation under Texas Law, 28 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 59 (1997)
  • Author, The Lawyer-Witness Rule: A Comparison of a Lawyer’s Ability to be Both Witness and an Advocate under the Texas Code of Professional Responsibility and the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, 31 S. Tex. L. Rev. 651 (1990)
  • Author, Note, Binding Interest Arbitration in the Public Sector: Is it Constitutional?, 18 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 787 (1977)
  • Speaker, Dallas Bar Association clinics on various subjects

Education and Honors

  • J.D., William & Mary School of Law, Editor, William & Mary Law Review
  • B.A., Marietta College, magna cum laude
  • Clerk, Hon. Paul C. Weick, Judge of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • Legal Writing Instructor at Dedman School of Law of Southern Methodist University
  • Recognized as “Texas Super Lawyer” by Texas Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters service published by Texas Monthly (2011-2018)
  • Recognized as “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating for Highest Level of Professional Excellence
  • Named “Litigator of the Week” in March 25, 2012 edition of the Texas Lawyer for victory over the FTC in FTC v. Financial Freedom Processing, Inc., et al.
  • Member, College of the State Bar of Texas (2009-2010)
  • Member, Pro Bono College of the State Bar of Texas (2009-2010)

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