Thomas F. Lillard

Member

Mr. Lillard, a founding member of Lillard Wise Szygenda PLLC, began his career as a prosecutor in the Dallas District Attorney’s Office. In fact, on the day he was licensed, Mr. Lillard tried his first jury trial. Thirty-five years and more than 130 jury trials later, he still has a passion for the courtroom.

After leaving government service, and following a short stint as an in-house counsel for a Fortune 500 company, Mr. Lillard joined a small labor/employment firm to further broaden his trial and arbitration practice. Now, with his departure after almost twenty-eight years from the international law firm of Hunton & Williams LLP (and its Dallas predecessor, Worsham Forsythe & Wooldridge LLP), where he was an equity partner and one of the firm’s senior trial attorneys, Mr. Lillard has come full circle. In establishing Lillard Wise Szygenda PLLC with Bob Wise and Andy Szygenda, he has brought the breadth and depth of his trial experience to form a uniquely talented and experienced litigation team.

Mr. Lillard’s practice continues to focus on general business and commercial litigation, with emphasis on energy, fraud, business tort, construction, and employment matters. His practice has ranged from complex oil and gas contract litigation to defending multi-plaintiff toxic tort claims to handling ERISA disputes to providing advice and direction to his clients on the best ways to avoid and/or minimize the burden of litigation.

Noteworthy Accomplishments

  • Lead counsel in week-long jury trial in which an electric utility client obtained a take nothing verdict on private nuisance claims brought by homeowners.
  • Obtained jury verdict of no liability in a multi-million dollar nuisance claim arising out of the construction and operation of client’s natural gas processing plant near an upscale residential development.
  • Successfully defended against a municipality’s $20 million breach of contract claim in federal court in Michigan resulting in a take nothing verdict.
  • Successfully tried to jury verdict a million dollar breach of contract and fraud action brought against a major mid-stream natural gas company.
  • Obtained multi-million dollar jury verdict on behalf of a former officer of financial institution on claims of contract breach and defamation.
  • Secured multi-million dollar arbitration award for a gas marketing company against a New Jersey retail gas provider.
  • Obtained favorable arbitration award on behalf of a fuel supply entity in a “bet the company” action.
  • Defended national cement and construction materials company in complex real property dispute ending with favorable jury verdict.
  • Successfully handled and prosecuted many business tort lawsuits, including a million dollar business theft claim to a favorable jury verdict on behalf of a national semi-conductor company.
  • Handled numerous business competition litigation matters including the successful six-week jury trial against a Fortune 100 corporation.
  • Prosecuted and defended many employment, Title VII, ERISA, Age Discrimination and ADA litigation on behalf of corporate clients as well as individuals in state and federal jury trials throughout Texas.
  • Arbitrated over 30 labor and commercial contract disputes for Fortune 500 companies.
  • Handled several ERISA actions resulting in either dismissal of claims against client or favorable settlements.
  • Represented large Texas natural gas company in many contract litigation matters resulting in recoveries and/or contract savings valued at over one billion dollars.
  • Successfully prosecuted environmental clean-up actions for large utilities and oil and gas companies.

Professional and Civic Affiliations

  • Admitted to practice in all Texas state and federal courts, the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Eastern District of Michigan.
  • Member, State Bar of Texas
  • Member, American Bar Association, Litigation Section, Tort and Insurance Practice Section, Environmental, Energy, and Resources Section, Labor and Employment Law
  • Member, Bar Association for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
  • Member, Dallas Bar Association;  Co-chair, Local Rules Revisions Subcommittee (2000)

Publications and Speeches

  • Co-Author, First Refusal Rights Under Texas Law, 62 Baylor L. Rev. 433 (2010)
  • Speaker, various trade associations on employment issues
  • Co-Author, Of Lies and Disclaimers―Contracting Around Fraud under Texas Law, 41 St. Mary’s L.J. 119 (2009)

Education and Honors

  • J.D., The University of Texas School of Law, Phi Delta Phi, Legal Research Board
  • B.A., University of Texas
  • Fellow, Dallas Bar Foundation
  • Recognized as “Texas Super Lawyer” by Texas Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters service published by Texas Monthly (2012)
  • Recognized as “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating for Highest Level of Professional Excellence
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