Sunday, August 20, 2017
Attorneys
J. Ken Nunley (Founding Member)

Background and Education:

Ken is a native of Rocksprings, Texas.  He received a Bachelor of Arts in Government from the University of Texas at Arlington and a J.D. from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio in 1976.  Ken is married to Teri and he has four children. 

Professional Activities/Associations: 

  • Trial Lawyer and Mediator
  • Board Certified, Civil Trial Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization 1989-present
  • Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation
  • Member: American Board of Trial Advocates
  • Member: The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 
  • Texas Super Lawyer for 2004-present
  • State Bar of Texas - November, 1976
  • Western District of Texas - January, 1987
  • Southern District of Texas - November, 1990
  • United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit - May, 1991

A founding member of the firm, Ken is an established, successful trial attorney, being certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Civil Trial Law since 1989.  Mr. Nunley is also an active mediator, and has worked to bring closure to difficult disputes through mediated settlement. 

Ken has tried to verdict all types of cases but began early in his career emphasizing cases involving oil and gas (instruments – leases, mineral deeds and suits for royalty owners regarding failure of covenants), litigation involving business organizations (partner and shareholder issues) and probate issues (will contests, breach of trustees duties, etc.).  This experience is the foundation for successful results in trial and settlement that netted his clients tens of millions of dollars. 

A list of representative appellate cases and CLE speeches and articles follow. 

Ken Nunley has tried to verdict all types of cases but began early in his career emphasizing cases involving oil and gas (instruments - leases, mineral deeds and suits for royalty owners regarding failure of covenants), litigation involving business organizations (partner and shareholder issues) and probate issues (will contests, breach of trustee’s duties, etc.).  This experience is the foundation for successful results in trial and settlement that netted his clients tens of millions of dollars.

Representative Appellate Decisions:

(1)  McMullan v. Friend, 642 S.W.2d 15 (Tex. App.– El Paso 1982, no writ) – successful jury verdict reforming mineral reservation based on mutual mistake.

(2)  Stout v. Clayton, 674 S.W.2d 821, 826 (Tex. App.–San Antonio 1984, writ ref'd n.r.e.) – successful jury verdict setting aside deed through the use of a constructive trust. Trial Court granted judgment n.o.v. – Court of Appeals reversed and rendered, restoring jury verdict.

(3)  Southwest Livestock & Trucking Co. v. Dooley, 884 S.W.2d 805, 811 (Tex. App.– San Antonio 1994, writ denied) – Ken represented corporations which had been sued in a divorce action with wife claiming corporations were husband's alter ego. Corporations cross-claimed against husband and counterclaimed against wife.  Trial court denied any relief to corporations. Court of Appeals found breach of fiduciary duty by husband and wife as a matter of law and reversed and remanded.  Case then settled.

(4)  In Re Estate of Hunt, 908 s.W.2d 482 (Tex. App.–San Antonio 1995, no writ).  Will construction case. 

(5)  Whitener v. Contract Product Servs. Network, 1999 WL 1020940 (Tex. App. – San Antonio 1999, pet. denied) - Ken represented business cofounder who was kicked out of partnership when company secured a significant carpet supply contract (State of Texas).  Jury found for client after 25 minutes of deliberation.  Case settled after appeal confirming client's ownership of 40% of profits from the contract.

(6)  Collins & Aikman Floorcoverings, Inc. v. Thomason, 256 S.W.3d 402 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2008, pet. denied) – Client then pursued claims against carpet manufacturers which had changed their pricing to the business when he was expelled, obviously to their advantage.  One manufacturer settled, one went to trial and jury awarded over $2,000,000 in damages.  On appeal, Court of Appeals ordered a remittur which was accepted and defendant paid remaining judgment plus interest.

(7)  Hartmann v. Solbrig, 12 S.W.3d 587, 594 (Tex. App.–San Antonio 2000, pet. denied) – Ken was hired 30 days prior to trial and successfully defended an executrix from claims of breach of fiduciary duty.  Trial judge awarded $50,000 in mental anguish and contract damages to executrix and $264,170.10 in attorneys' fees for her defense to be paid by the Estate but coming from the partnership that sued her.

Recent Cases Involving These Issues:

Zavala County – In 2009 "friends" of a 92 year old man secure a revised oil and gas lease from him. They get him to lower the royalty from the existing lease from 19% to 16% and allegedly pay him $100 as consideration.  They then flip the lease for 6½% "overide" and $1,700,000 bonus.  Suit to cancel the lease on grounds of capacity, etc. on behalf of lessor.

Ector County – Limited partner who also acted as manager jumps from partnership business to start Odessa location for multi-billion dollar oil field service company, taking customers, employees and proprietary information with him.  Ken represents the partnership and is asserting a Kinzbach claim against the other company.  For a fairly humorous look at this case, see Superior Energy Services, Inc. v. Sonic Petroleum Services, Ltd., 328 S.W.3d 623 (Tex. App.—Eastland 2010, no pet.) – a failed interlocutory appeal by defendants denying special appearances.

Kendall County – Ken represents a limited partner who is suing the only other limited partner, who was also the sole officer of the corporate general partner, for breach of duty in selling partnership land at "bottom feeder" price to secure liquidity for other businesses owned by the "managing partner."

Uvalde County – Ken represents contingent beneficiary of a testamentary trust suing the "life" beneficiary who is also the trustee for looting a closely held corporation whose stock is the principal asset of the trust.  Defendant raised numerous standing issues which were resolved by summary judgment.

Papers and Speeches:

1.    2002 Annuities and Litigation

2.    2004 Elder Law Course - Elder Financial Abuse - Annuities

3.    2005 San Antonio Bar Association - Anti-Suit Injunction

4.    2005 Advance Real Estate Law Course:  Malpractice - Tips from the Trenches

5.    2005 Probate Litigation - Potential Pitfalls in Probate Litigation

6.    2006 Advanced Real Estate Law Course - A Road Map to Partition

7.    2006 Probate Litigation - Potential Pitfalls in Probate Litigation Updated

8.    2006 Anatomy of Civil Trial  

9.    2009 Advanced Estate Planning and Probate Fiduciary Litigation - Pleadings, Pretrial Procedures and Dispository Motions

10.  2010 Advanced Estate Planning and Probate Fiduciary Litigation - Pleadings and Pretrial Procedures

11.  2011 Advanced Estate Planning and Probate Fiduciary Litigation - Pleadings and Pretrial Procedures

12.  2011 Advanced Real Estate Law Course - How to Prepare for Oil and Gas Pipeline Condemnation


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