Robert W. Coleman Of Counsel




Robert Coleman has 50 years of experience as a trial lawyer handling primarily complex commercial and business tort litigation. He has handled a wide range of cases at all levels of state and federal courts, including professional liability, securities, real estate, partnerships, commercial transactions, deceptive trade practices, construction projects, wrongful discharge, “golden parachutes,” personal injury and federal false claims.

A significant portion of Bob’s practice has included the defense of accountants in and trials of multimillion-dollar claims. His nearly 35 years in this area has involved liability claims based on allegations of negligence, negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, violation of state and federal securities laws, common law fraud, violation of deceptive trade practices statutes and other business torts.

Bob also has represented individual accountants and firms in connection with administrative proceedings and investigations by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, grand juries, the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy and various committees of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). His 1996 victory in a two-week, state court accountant liability trial was selected by the National Law Journal as one of the 15 most important defense verdicts in the United States. In more recent years, Bob obtained a directed verdict for his client after a two-week trial that was affirmed on appeal and a jury verdict on all issues for another client, which was not appealed based on an agreement to reduce the court costs the plaintiff had to pay. The verdict also resulted in a second lender deciding not to sue.

Representative Matters

Grant Thornton LLP v. Prospect High Income Fund, et al., 314 S.W.3d 913 (2008). Summary judgment in favor of accounting firm affirmed (reversing court of appeals) on grounds that certain plaintiffs did not justifiably their reliance on defendant’s alleged misrepresentation; that plaintiffs could not use vicarious reliance to establish necessary element of claim because agent’s knowledge of the truth destroyed reliance; and that certain plaintiffs could not assert a “holder’s claim” for negligent misrepresentation because they did not have any direct communication with the defendant.

Prospect High Income Fund, et al., v. Grant Thornton LLP, 203 S.W.2d 602 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2006, reversed in part, 314 S.W.3d 913 (2006). Summary judgment holding that third parties cannot assert a direct negligence claim because of lack of privity and economic damages rule affirmed. The court also held that under Restatement of Conflicts § 148 Texas law applied and no contract claim against a professional for violating professional standards exists under Texas law.

Blitz Holdings Corp., et al., v. Grant Thornton LLP, 2008 Tex. App. Lexis 3315 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist] May 8, 2008, pet. denied). Directed verdict for accounting firm in two-week trial affirmed for failure of plaintiff to prove recoverable damages.

Rahr v. Grant Thornton LLP, 142 F. Supp. 793 (N.D. Tex. 2000). Motion to Dismiss granted because federal securities claims were barred by limitations.

Hendricks v. Grant Thornton LLP, 973 S.W.2d 348 (Tex. App.- Beaumont 1998, pet denied). Summary judgment on issues under DTPA, warranty, fiduciary duty, contract, federal securities law; reliance in fraud action affirmed; remaining claims settled upon remand.

Bonner v. Henderson, 147 F. 3d 457 (5th Cir. 1998). Rule 12b(6) dismissal of RICO claim against accounting firm and others affirmed.
A 1996 victory in a two-week, state court accountant liability trial was selected by the National Law Journal as one of the 15 most important defense verdicts in the United States. Judgment in favor of defendant included award of $165,000 in attorneys’ fees for plaintiff’s failed attempt to fabricate evidence discovered and established by intense discovery efforts leading to two-day hearing one week before trial.

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