Lee Kaplan

Founding Partner SKV

Lee Kaplan has tried dozens of cases in state and federal courts, representing plaintiffs and defendants ranging from Fortune 10 corporations to individuals.

In recent years he has had two cases that landed in the top 25 verdicts in Texas for those years.  His docket has included oil and gas, construction, securities, antitrust, patent and trademark infringement, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, fraud, theft of trade secrets, shareholder rights, and class actions.

He frequently handles “high tech” cases and enjoys mastering complicated business dealings or scientific concepts in order to present them concisely to other lay people (particularly judges and juries).  Mr. Kaplan also serves as an arbitrator, often named to panels by prior opposing counsel.  Here are some recent examples of his results (omitting confidential arbitrations and settlements):

In 2020, as co-lead counsel with partner Land Murphy, he secured a $158 million judgment for Vitol against Targa after a 19-day state court bench trial, believed to be the longest Zoom trial to date in Texas.  The case arose out of Targa’s failure to reimburse Vitol’s prepayments when Vitol terminated the contract for Targa’s failure to meet Startup of a splitter facility.  The judgment against Targa was affirmed on appeal.

In 2019, he served as co-lead counsel for plaintiff Align Technology in a patent suit; the defendant (represented by five law firms) settled four days before the jury trial for $51 million.

In 2015 he won a two-week federal jury trial alleging theft of trade secrets, obtaining a $12.2 million verdict and judgment in addition to four stipulated judgments of $28.5 million reached with four defendants prior to trial. Quantlab Technologies Ltd. (BVI) and Quantlab Financial, LLC, vs. Vitaliy Godlevsky, Andriy Kuharsky, Anna Maravina, Ping An, Emmanuel Mamalakis, and SXP Analytics, LLC, Case No. 09-cv-4039 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. The case was one of the top 25 verdicts in Texas in 2015.  In 2017 the Fifth Circuit affirmed the judgment in all respects.  In 2018 the District Court awarded attorney’s fees of over $9.6 million, including $3.22 million against each of the two defendants who elected to try the case, and observed that that they “engaged in litigation behavior so acrimonious, vexatious, and indefensible that their bad faith exceeds any that this judge has seen in his nineteen years on the bench.”

In 2014, he served as an arbitrator in a four-week hearing of a $100 million-plus construction dispute, having been appointed to the panel by a former opposing counsel.  He continues to receive appointments to arbitrate large, complex contested cases.

Mr. Kaplan has been named one of the “Top 100 Lawyers in Texas” for 2019 and 2020, as well as a Texas SuperLawyer since 2003.  He has also been listed every year since 2007 in Chambers USA, “Leading Lawyers for Business,” for commercial litigation.  Chambers has referred to him as “good on his feet” and quoted a peer who said “he just lights up the courtroom” and recognized him as among Texas’ leading individual commercial litigators.  He has been elected to membership in the American Law Institute.

Mr. Kaplan has been a contributor on the radio show “The Price of Business” commenting on diverse topics such as the competitive value of patent protection, factors that drive settlement negotiations in commercial litigation and suggestions on how employers can protect themselves from the loss of intellectual property or from unjustified lawsuits claiming that they have misappropriated others’ trade secrets.  Lee has been quoted for publication on various important legal issues, including the 2014 Texas Supreme Court case Ritchie v. Rupe, which overturned decades of Texas law and severely restricted or extinguished the rights of minority shareholders in Texas, and the 2019 Texas Supreme Court case Rohrmoos Venture v. UTSA DVA Healthcare, which imposed strict guidelines for the recovery of attorney’s fees in civil cases, as well as voting rights issues.

As an Eagle Scout and the father of an Eagle Scout, he serves as an assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 212 and attends multiple meetings, campouts and summer camps.  Nothing is more inspiring than watching Scouts mature and learn personal skills and conduct typifying the 12 points of the Scout law.

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