Kent M. Adams Partner

     

Contact

   

Kent Adams is the regional managing partner for Wilson Elser’s Houston and Beaumont, Texas offices and extends his practice to the New Orleans, Louisiana office. Kent defends clients in civil litigation in the state and federal courts of Texas and Louisiana. He has tried dozens of catastrophic personal injury, insurance coverage, claims handling, property damage, energy-related and environmental cases to jury verdicts. Kent has defended products, premises, motor vehicle, trucking, maritime, cyber and data breach, oil field, pipeline, railroad, chemical plant and refinery cases. He has defended automotive, consumer, energy, and industrial product manufacturers and distributors in all types of occupational injury, toxic tort, personal injury and property damage litigation. Kent routinely defends professional liability, directors and officers, fiduciary liability and similar litigation, and he has successfully defended multiple major class-action lawsuits. In addition, he has defended businesses and individuals in financial, directors and officers, fiduciary and white-collar state and federal civil and criminal cases. Kent has argued many appeals in the state and federal appellate courts of Texas and Louisiana. Kent is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Kent is a sixth-generation Texan and a third-generation Houstonian. He is married to fellow Wilson Elser attorney Sarah Davis, who is a member of the Texas House of Representatives. Kent served as law clerk for the Honorable Joe J. Fisher, U.S. District Judge, Eastern District of Texas. Kent started his law firm in Beaumont, Texas, in 1985, opened his Houston office a few years later, and he and his Houston and Beaumont teams joined Wilson Elser in 2015. Kent is past chairman of the Board of Regents of the Texas State University System and he served in the administrations of Texas governors Bill Clements, George W. Bush and Rick Perry. For many years Kent served Texas U.S. Senators Gramm, Hutchison and Cornyn as a member of the U.S. Senate Judicial Advisory Committee and was instrumental in the vetting process for many sitting federal judges in Texas.

Areas of Focus

Gulf Coast Energy, Petrochemical & Maritime Industries
Kent's Texas and Louisiana trial practice includes cases involving 18-wheelers; oil & gas drilling rigs, offshore platforms and vessels; hydrocarbon-gathering and transmission lines and process equipment; saltwater removal collection and storage facilities; construction defects; fires and explosions, accidents involving power plants, cranes, refineries, petrochemical plants, underground hydrocarbon and saltwater storage facilities, ships, barges and other vessels; pipeline construction and inspection; storage tanks and process equipment; toxic torts and class actions; plant and building design; and systems, process and software engineering, all with an emphasis on the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast energy, petrochemical and maritime industries.

High-Profile Litigation
Kent has defended cases involving power generation, refining, chemical and paper and similar plants throughout Texas and Louisiana, as well as in Alabama, Indiana, Maine and the Dominican Republic. Kent has handled cases involving Minute Maid Stadium, home of the Houston Astros; the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston; the NASA Marshall Spacecraft Center in Huntsville, Alabama; the Texas Brine Underground Facility in Bayou Corne, Louisiana; and countless others. His clients routinely include Fortune 500 companies.

Professional Liability
Kent routinely defends accountants, architects, attorneys, construction managers, corporate officers and directors, electrical, mechanical, civil, process and software engineers and design professionals, insurance agents, process designers, real estate professionals, start-up engineers, inspectors, surveyors and other professionals in litigation.

Financial, Fiduciary and White-collar Civil and Criminal Litigation
Kent has defended numerous individuals, corporate officers and directors, partnerships, and others in connection with fiduciary litigation, directors and officers’ liability, alleged fraud, white-collar civil and criminal litigation and similar financial and corporate governance matters.

Global Practice
Kent has represented insurers, product manufacturers, shippers and other clients from around the world, and his legal practice has included work in Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Hungary, Poland, the Republic of Korea, the Dominican Republic, Japan and the People’s Republic of China. Kent has defended countless European, South American and Asian companies in a myriad of catastrophic personal injury, environmental and property damage cases. Kent represents U.S., European and Asian insurers in defense, claims handling, coverage and bad faith litigation.

Representative Matters

Personal Injury Litigation:

Wrongful Death/Premises Death: 60th Judicial District Court, Jefferson County, Beaumont, Texas. Plaintiff’s decedent died in house fire; plaintiff demanded in excess of $1,000,000 from jury. Jury verdict of no liability. Verdict: $0
Wrongful Death/Excessive Force: United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont. Police officer fired a slug from a 12-gauge shotgun, killing an unarmed suspect following high-speed chase. Jury found no liability. Verdict: $0
Wrongful Death/Toxic Tort (mesothelioma death): 239th Judicial District, Brazoria County, Angleton, Texas. Alleged household asbestos exposure case. Plaintiff asked jury to award $20,000,000 to widow and six grown children of decedent. Defense jury verdict. Featured as "Case of Note" in Verdict SearchVerdict: $0
Wrongful Death/Jones Act: United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont. Peruvian sailor killed aboard ship in Port Arthur, Texas. Minimal verdict at trial, Plaintiff zeroed out at Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which found no jurisdiction. Verdict: $0
Wrongful Death/Excessive Force: United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont. Plaintiff’s decedent died in sheriff’s custody. Jury found no liability. Verdict: $0
Products Liability/Silicosis/Asbestosis (mixed dust pneumoconiosis): County Court at Law No. 2, Smith County, Tyler, Texas. Plaintiff's demanded $49.6 million from jury following four-week trial. Jury found no liability against all four plaintiffs. Note: The National Law Journal named this a “Top Ten Defense Verdict in the United States.” Verdict: $0
Wrongful Death/Products Liability/Bus Rollover: 60th Judicial District Court, Jefferson County, Beaumont, Texas. Favorably resolved multi-death motor coach rollover accident case in Liberty County, Texas, which also involved numerous serious injuries.
Wrongful Death/Dram Shop: 58th Judicial District Court, Jefferson County, Beaumont, Texas. Favorably resolved, on third day of jury trial for fraction of initial demand, catastrophic wrongful death case against our client, a national restaurant/sports bar chain, following cross examination of plaintiff’s expert toxicologist.
Wrongful Death/Motor Vehicle: Judicial District Court, Harris County, Houston, Texas. Plaintiffs sought more than $1,000,000 from our client. Trial court granted our summary judgment, finding no liability. Court of Appeals affirmed. Verdict: $0
Wrongful Death/Products Liability/Liquor Liability: 136th Judicial District Court, Jefferson County, Beaumont, Texas. Major plaintiff's firm brought multimillion-dollar case against the liquor industry for failure to warn. Trial court granted our motion for summary judgment. Texas Supreme Court affirmed. Verdict: $0
Wrongful Death/Products Liability/Pipeline Explosion: San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas. Resolved traumatic burn/death case arising out of pipeline explosion for less than $5,000.00.
Wrongful Death/Motor Vehicle: 136th Judicial District Court, Jefferson County, Beaumont, Texas. Plaintiffs asked jury to award more than $1,000,000 from our client. Jury awarded fraction of that amount, less than our pre-trial offer.
Wrongful Death/Products Liability/Truck (18-wheeler) Accident: 189th Judicial District, Harris County, Houston, Texas. Won summary judgment for truck component-part manufacturer in products liability case involving death of motorist in the other vehicle. Remaining defendants paid millions to settle. Verdict: $0
Wrongful Death/Toxic Tort (mesothelioma death): 280th Judicial District, Harris County, Houston, Texas. Plaintiff seeking more than $3,000,000. Settled for less than $50,000 after plaintiff’s fact and expert witnesses stricken during trial on our motion.
Wrongful Death/Motor Vehicle: 11th Judicial District Court, Harris County, Houston, Texas. Plaintiff’s eight-figure “drop dead” settlement demand in clear liability case settled for less than half that demand following testimony from our client during trial eviscerating plaintiff’s central punitive damages argument.
Products Liability/Motor Vehicle Accident (defective tire/vehicle rollover): 172nd Jefferson County, Beaumont, Texas. Plaintiff alleged broken neck. Jury verdict of no liability. Verdict: $0
Construction Crane Accident: Favorably resolved multi-plaintiff serious injury case arising from catastrophic construction tower crane accident at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport.
Professional Liability/Personal Injury: United States District Court, Southern District of Texas, Houston. Successfully resolved death case involving alleged design professional negligence at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Construction/Toxic Tort (occupational illnesses): 224th Judicial District, Bexar County, San Antonio, Texas. Various occupational diseases alleged by more than 6,000 plaintiffs. Summary judgments of no liability granted against all plaintiffs for our client, a major international engineering, design and construction firm. One co-defendant paid $25 million to settle. Affirmed by San Antonio Court of Appeals. This case named "Case of the Week" by The Texas LawyerVerdict: $0
Motor Vehicle: 58th Judicial District Court, Jefferson County, Beaumont, Texas. Plaintiff, son of a very prominent then-incumbent elected public official in Jefferson County alleged serious bodily injuries in connection with motor vehicle accident. Jury defense verdict. Verdict: $0
Motor Vehicle (18-wheeler): United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont. Plaintiff alleged serious injuries following 18-wheeler accident in Orange County, Texas. Case settled while jury was deliberating on fifth day of trial for fraction of plaintiff’s demand to jury.
Motor Vehicle Accident/Catastrophic Injuries: 172nd Judicial District Court, Harris County, Houston, Texas, Plaintiff’s jury verdict successfully settled on appeal.
Motor Vehicle Accident: 136th Judicial District Court, Jefferson County, Beaumont, Texas. Plaintiff passengers in pickup truck that was rear-ended by our client’s vehicle, claimed serious personal injuries. Jury found no liability. Verdict: $0.
Personal Injury: 260th Judicial District Court, Orange County, Orange, Texas. Plaintiff demanded more than $1,000,000 from jury. Defendant accused of physically assaulting minor during sports event. Jury verdict of approximately 10% of jury demand and 50 percent less than our pre-trial offer.
Personal Injury: 136th Judicial District Court, Jefferson County, Beaumont, Texas. Plaintiff claimed serious on the job injury. Jury defense verdict. Verdict: $0 
Premises/Personal Injury: 163rdJudicial District Court, Orange County, Orange, Texas. Plaintiff alleged injuries from slip and fall. Jury defense verdict. Verdict: $0. 
Personal Injury: 1st Judicial District Court, Jasper County, Jasper, Texas. Plaintiff claimed work-related serious bodily injury. Jury defense verdict. Verdict: $0
Premises/Major Personal Injury: 136th Judicial District, Jefferson County, Beaumont, Texas. Plaintiff demanded more than $500,000 from jury. Jury awarded less than $8,000, well below pre-trial offer.
Premises/Personal Injury: 1st Judicial District, Jasper County, Jasper, Texas. Minor plaintiff claimed serious injury suffered at Kenny Chesney concert at Wal-Mart. Jury found no liability. Verdict: $0
Premises/Personal Injury: 128th Judicial District Court, Orange County, Orange, Texas. Plaintiff alleged serious injuries following supermarket slip and fall. Jury defense verdict. Verdict: $0.
Premises/Personal Injury: County Court at Law No. 1, Jefferson County, Beaumont, TexasPlaintiff alleged back injury from fall from chair in dental office. Jury defense verdict. Verdict $0
Products Liability/Amputated Foot: United States District Court, Southern District of Texas, Galveston. Directed verdict granted during trial, judge finding no liability on our product defendant. Verdict: $0
Products Liability/Mangled Arm: 136th Judicial District, Jefferson County, Beaumont, Texas. Doctor claimed permanent disability from arm injury sustained in bank’s drive through automatic teller machine. Jury verdict less than 1/3 of our pre-trial offer.
Products Liability/Quadriplegia: United States District Court, Western District of Louisiana, Lake Charles. Defense of major international tire manufacturer in blowout-automobile rollover case resulting in full quadriplegia. Court granted our motion for summary judgment. Verdict: $0
Products Liability (oil field accident): 81st Judicial District Court, Harris County, Houston, Texas. Plaintiff’s jury verdict in traumatic brain injury case successfully settled while on appeal.
Products Liability/Food Poisoning: 88th Judicial District Court, Hardin County, Koontz, Texas. Defense verdict. Verdict: $0
Premises Liability/Slip and Fall: 128th Judicial District Court, Orange County, Orange, Texas. Minimal verdict for plaintiff in case of clear liability on our client.

Construction Defect Litigation:

Construction Defect: Judicial District Court, Bexar County, San Antonio, Texas. Favorably resolved construction defect/design professional liability case involving multi-story hotel project in San Antonio, Texas.
Construction Defect: Judicial District Court, Harris County, Houston, Texas. Successfully resolved Minute Maid Park (home of the Houston Astros) domestic water supply system construction defect litigation.
Construction Defect: Judicial District Court, Brazos County, Bryan, Texas. Favorably resolved construction defect case involving multi-story office tower in Bryan, Texas.
Construction Defect/Insurance Coverage: 58th Judicial District Court, Jefferson County, Beaumont, Texas. Successfully recovered several million dollars for American engineering company, its power generation customer, and its insurer in connection with defects in design and construction of electrical generation power plant in the Caribbean.
Products Liability/Property Damage & Business Interruption: Judicial District Court, Dallas County, Texas. Successfully resolved construction defect case involving multimillion-dollar claim arising out of alleged defective component part in building’s fire suppression system, located in high-rise office building in Dallas.

Data Breach:

Data Breach/Class Action: United States District Court, Southern District of Texas, Houston. Plaintiff’s attempted class action against hospital system alleging more than $245 million in damages on behalf of more than 450,000 putative class members arising out of an alleged data breach. Court granted our motion to dismiss based on lack of standing. Verdict: $0
Data Breach/Class Action: Plaintiff, following loss of very similar case in United States District Court, filed case in Judicial District Court, Brazos County, Bryan, Texas. Plaintiffs again alleged more than $245 million in damages sustained by a putative class of more than 450,000 arising out of alleged data breach. Court granted our motion to dismiss based on lack of standing. Verdict: $0

Environmental Litigation:

Class Action/Environmental Damage: United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, and various state district courts in Assumption Parish, Louisiana. Successfully resolved plaintiff-homeowners’ class action and several related governmental response costs and pipeline owner’s damages cases, arising from major oil field environmental catastrophe in South Central Louisiana.
Superfund/Toxic Tort: United States District Court, Southern District of Texas, Houston, Texas. Minimal settlement of claims against waste site operator, for less than 1 % of plaintiff’s multimillion-dollar damage model, following partial summary judgments.

Class Actions:

Data Breach/Class Action: United States District Court, Southern District of Texas, Houston. Plaintiff’s attempted class action against hospital system alleging more than $245 million in damages on behalf of more than 450,000 putative class members arising out of an alleged data breach. Court granted our motion to dismiss based on lack of standing. Verdict: $0
Data Breach/Class Action: Plaintiff, following loss of very similar case in United States District Court, filed case in Judicial District Court, Brazos County, Bryan, Texas. Plaintiffs again alleged more than $245 million in damages sustained by a putative class of more than 450,000 arising out of alleged data breach. Court granted our motion to dismiss based on lack of standing. Verdict: $0
Class Action/Environmental Damage: United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, and various state district courts in Assumption Parish, Louisiana. Successfully resolved plaintiff-homeowners’ class action and several related governmental response costs and pipeline owner’s damages cases, arising from major oil field environmental catastrophe in South Central Louisiana.

Employment Litigation:

Employment/Wrongful Termination: United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont. Verdict for plaintiff at trial was less than one third of the plaintiff’s demand to jury. Verdict zeroed out on appeal by Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Verdict: $0
Employment (alleged discrimination based on disability): United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont. Plaintiff claimed discrimination because of his disability. Jury defense verdict. Verdict: $0

Insurance Litigation:

Insurance Coverage: United States District Court, Northern District of Texas, Dallas. Plaintiff obtained $8.5 million verdict at underlying trial versus insured represented by other counsel; plaintiff sued defendant’s insurer to collect; we defended insurer. Plaintiff zeroed out at trial. Affirmed by Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Verdict: $0
Insurance Coverage (bad faith claim handling): 2nd Judicial District Court, Cherokee County, Rusk, Texas. Plaintiff argued for $1 million in punitive damages. Jury awarded $10.00.

Civil Rights Litigation:

Civil Rights: United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont. Excessive force/misuse of city property. Jury found no liability. Verdict: $0
Civil Rights: United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont. Alleged police excessive force. Jury defense verdict for City of Bridge City, Texas. Verdict: $0
Civil Rights: 128th Judicial District Court, Orange County, Orange, Texas. Negligence and excessive force. Jury verdict of no liability. Verdict: $0
Civil Rights: United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont. Alleged police excessive force. Instructed verdict for City of Port Arthur, Texas, granted by U.S. District Judge at close of plaintiff’s case. Verdict: $0

D&O, White Collar Criminal, Financial and Fiduciary Litigation:

Fiduciary duty/racketeering: Defended distributor of American automobile manufacturer OEM motor parts in breach of fiduciary duty, racketeering and fiduciary litigation
Fraud/embezzlement: Defended co-producer of Oscar-winning motion picture against charges of embezzlement from his partners with overlay of federal financial civil and criminal issues, State District Court
Bank fraud/embezzlement: Defended insurer in case involving coverage for defense of bank fraud/embezzlement by bank president in U.S. District Court
Embezzlement: Defended police officer charged by U.S. Attorney with embezzlement from retirement fund. U.S. District Court
Others: Defended several other civil cases involving breach of financial, fiduciary and directors and officers duties within corporations and partnerships in state and federal courts of Texas, Louisiana & New Mexico.
Tax Evasion: Defended president and corporation against federal tax evasion charges. U.S. District Court
Fraud: Defended partner against civil charges of fraud and embezzlement by fellow partners. State District Court
Fraud: Defended law enforcement officer prosecuted by US Army Inspector General for allegedly running a scheme involving several officers to falsify time sheets in post 9-11 security of major U.S. port. U.S. District Court
Fraud: Defended high profile citizen in a fraud/embezzlement prosecuted by U.S. Attorney case in U.S. District Court