Susan S. Soussan
Presently practicing in the area of civil trial litigation as Attorney-Mediator/Arbitrator. Civil trial lawyer for 17 years, primarily handling disputes in state and federal courts involving contracts, real estate, banking, partnership disputes, and general business. Partner, Greenberg Peden Siegmyer Oshman & Soussan. State Civil District Judge, Harris County, Houston, Texas -1994.Education
- University of Texas, B.A. with Honors, 1974
- University of Houston, J.D. 1977, Order of the Barons
- 1977 Admitted to the State Bar of Texas
- 1979 Admitted to practice before the United States District Court, Southern District of Texas
- 1980 Admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
- 1980 Admitted to the United States Supreme Court
Selected by agreement of counsel in over 7000 controversies to serve as the neutral mediator to facilitate negotiated resolutions in pending cases, as well as pre-litigation disputes. Matters presented for negotiation include those proceeding through civil, state, federal, and international courts and include the following types of cases:
Complex Litigation: Routinely entrusted to mediate complex, high-dollar and high-profile cases, such as Exxon Valdez v. Lloyds of London, et al. and Hayes v. Robert Courtney, Eli Lilly and Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
Oil & Gas/Energy/Power Plants: Over 750 cases involving upstream, midstream and downstream issues. Disputes range from several million to several billion dollars and involve civil and regulatory issues, such as breach of contract, construction, royalty disputes, contract construction such as Joint Operating Agreements and Areas of Mutual Interest. Numerous cases have involved international energy companies, often in disputes regarding exploration, gathering, production, and marketing of LNG.
Mass Torts and Class Actions: Class Actions with over 3,000 class members, with millions of dollars in controversy and final settlement. Representative cases involve medical devices, pharmaceutical, toxic tort exposure, oil & gas refinery plant explosions, automobile roll-overs, tire failures, asbestos, and silicosis.
Labor and Employment Law: Over 1,000 cases, primarily in federal court, involving Title VII, 1983, ERISA, ADA, FLSA, Collective Actions, Wage and Hour Class Actions, ADEA Discrimination and non-competition and other contract covenants. Settlements have ranged from thousands to millions.
Intellectual Property: Approximately 300 mediated cases have evolved around intellectual property claims, such as infringement, trade secret, copyright and licensing. These cases involve claims and settlements of millions, and even billions, of dollars, and they currently are most common in technology disputes, such as hardware and software claims between major computer companies and oil field drilling/tool technology disputes between major energy and servicing companies.
Insurance: Over 400 cases involving coverage, insurance contract interpretation and bad faith claims. Insurance related claims arising in partnership disputes, business separation, real estate, probate, medical and legal malpractice, securities, tax fraud, construction, breach of contract, defamation, and personal injury cases. Settlements range from thousands to billions of dollars.
Business: Exxon Valdez - $3 billion claim by Exxon against its insurer, Lloyd’s of London, for breach of insurance contract and bad faith for failure to pay claims made as a result of the Valdez spill. Total settlement: $780 million. $105 million verdict for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty regarding buy-back of minority shareholder interest. Three-day mediation of milti-million-dollar contract dispute between a Canadian oil and gas producer and CNOCC, Ltd. regarding an Indonesian Liquified Natural Gas project. Multi-day mediation of claims by hospital against third-party insurer for underpayment of claims.
Pharmaceutical: Over 1,000 claims against three major drug companies by women claiming their breast implants were defective and caused various diseases. Hundreds of disputes by Plaintiffs claiming that particular pharmaceuticals made them ill or caused death, including: Aceutane, Baycol, Fen-Phen, Hormone Replacement Therapy, Rezulin, PPA, and Vioxx.
Refinery Plant Explosions: Mediated the majority of injury and death cases resulting from refinery plant explosions at Phillips Petroleum, BP Products of North America, Inc., and other refineries in and around Houston, Texas. Total settlements involved hundreds of millions of dollars.
Construction: Over 100 claims against multiple defendants for construction defect as a result of the use of EIFES. Multiple construction cases involving claims by and against developers, owners, architects, engineers, general contractors, and subcontractors claiming breach of contract, delay damages, cost overruns, and/or design defects.
Accounting: Several milti-million-dollar malpractice claims against major accounting firm involving tax shelters.
Securities: Securities fraud cases brought by investors against major brokerage companies. Claims by investors against broker/dealer.Arbitration
Arbitrator in over 250 cases. Representative claims:
- Sole Arbitrator: Age discrimination pursuant to ADEA and TCHRA. Award issued.
- Three Member Panel: Panel Chair. Determination of whether a partnership exists and ownership of partnership assets. Award to be issued.
- Three Member Panel: Multi-million dollar claims by major domestic energy companies who own pipeline systems and entered into a Joint Tariff Agreement.
- Sole Arbitrator: Contract interpretation re: Shareholder buy-out provision and restrictive covenants. Included contract claims for money owed. Award issued.
- Three Member Panel: FLSA – Clause construction - 216(b) collective actions and/or class actions. Numerous arbitrations, and I served on some as Sole Arbitrator, others as a member of a Three Member Panel, and at times the Panel Chair for a Three Member Panel.
- Sole Arbitrator: FLSA – Misclassification claims. Numerous awards issued.
- Three Member Panel: Interpretation of indemnity provisions in a Stock Purchase Agreement between two major Oil and Gas companies. Award issued.
- Three Member Panel: Panel Chair. Interpretation of Force Majeure clause in a Power Purchase Agreement between the majority owner of an electrical power facility and a minority owner who was to make reservation payments for electrical capacity on a monthly basis in exchange for the availability of a specific monthly amount of electricity. Award issued.
- Three Member Panel: Contract dispute between a Health Care Provider and a Pharmacy Benefit Manager involving formularies and rebates. Award issued.
- Three Member Panel: Panel Chair. Partnership Dissolution including restatement of Capital account. Award issued.
- Three Member Panel: IGCC plant. Breach of contract together with fraud allegations. Multi-million-dollar claim. Five-week hearing. Award issued.
- Three Member Panel: Energy company multi-million dollar claim against former employee for return of stock. Award issued.
- Sole Arbitrator: Interpretation of “trigger clause” in an employment agreement. Award issued.
- Sole Arbitrator: Temporary Injunction Hearing regarding non-compete.
- Sole Arbitrator: Employee of company who signed an Arbitration Agreement which was silent on ability to bring claims as a Class Action. Award issued.
- Three Member Panel: Breach of Stock Purchase dispute between U.S. and foreign company. Multi-million dollar claim for lost earn-out opportunities. Award issued.
- Sole Arbitrator: Title VII Discrimination Claim. Award Issued.
- Three Member Panel: Panel Chair. Interpretation of contract terms between two major companies. Award issued.
- Three Member Panel: Class Action of 3,400 former clients of law firm asserting breach of contingent fee agreement and breach of fiduciary duty. Award issued.
- Three Member Panel: Multi-billion-dollar contract interpretation including intellectual property issues -medical device. Fortune 500 Companies. Award issued.
- Three Member Panel: Securities Fraud, Louisiana Blue Sky Violation, Breach of Merger Agreement. Award issued after one-week hearing.
- Sole Arbitrator: Employment Contract Interpretation. Former owner and president of new company terminated for cause four months into a three-year employment contract. Award issued.
- Three Member Panel: Breach of Buy/Sell Agreement involving purchase of trust company by bank/Counterclaim by Seller. Two-week hearing. Award issued.
- Three Member Panel: Theft of trade secrets and breach of contract involving computer software and hardware of car dealer management system; millions of dollars at issue. Award issued after three-week hearing.
- Three Member Panel: Theft of trade secrets/patent infringement involving products used to measure sulphur content in petroleum-based gases. Multi-million dollar claimed value. Award issued.
- Sole Arbitrator: Intentional infliction of emotional harm alleged by employee. Award issued.
- Sole Arbitrator: Fraud in the Sale of Real Estate: Multi-million dollar claim for failure to disclose existence of potential toxic waste brought by homeowners against major home builder. EPA issues. Award issued.
- Three Member Panel: Breach of Employment Contract by former employee of major accounting firm. Award issued.
- Three Member Panel: Breach of various computer hardware and software dealer management agreements/counterclaim DTPA. Award issued.
- Three Member Panel: Multiple Labor and Employment cases (Title VII). Served on Three Member Panels and also as Sole Arbitrator: Awards issued.
- Three Member Panel: Panel Chair. Product liability claim due to part used in truck. Claim amount in excess of $100 million. One-week hearing. Award issued.
- Sole Arbitrator: Insurance Coverage dispute between major oil company and major insurance company. Award Issued. Eight figure demand.
- Sole Arbitrator: Construction defects. Award issued.
- AAA Commercial Panel
- AAA Large Complex Cases Panel
- AAA Real Estate Panel
- AAA Mediation Panel
- International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR) Panel of Neutrals
- CPR Employment Panel (Southwest Region)
- CPR Energy Oil & Gas Panel (Southwest Region)
- CPR Environmental Panel
- CPR Judicial Panel
Umpire in Hurricane Ike appraisal disputes involving commercial and residential properties.Recent Representative Specialized Education
- 2018 American Bar Association - ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Arbitration Training Institute
- 2017 College of Commercial Arbitrators Annual Meeting
- 2016 AAA/ICDR/MEDIATION.ORG Panel Conference
- 2016 The Center for American and International Law, 3rd Annual Conference on International Energy Arbitration
- 2015 AAA Panel Dynamics: “Staying On Course When Things Don’t Go As Planned”
- 2014 “Hearing and Managing the Evidence,” AAA sponsored training
- 2013 “Managing a Successful Arbitration”- College of Commercial Arbitrators and AAA
- 2011 “Managing Your First Arbitration”- College of Commercial Arbitrators and AAA
- 2010 AAA University- Chairing An Arbitration Panel: Managing Procedures
- 2010 AAA, Efficient ADR-Saving the Client's Money Through Technology and Common Sense
- 2010 AAA, ADR Strategies That Save Time and Money
- 2009 AAA Arbitration Fundamentals and Best Practices for New Arbitrators
- 2006-2017 College of Commercial Arbitrators Annual Meeting
- 2006 Center for American and International Law Annual Conference
- 2017 Named One of Twenty-Five Beautiful Houstonians by H Texas Magazine
- 2016-2017 Houston Top Lawyer
- 2016 One of “Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women,” Houston Woman Magazine
- 2016 Texas Top Rated Lawyer
- 2015 H Texas Magazine Houston’s Top Women in Business
- 2014 “Women on the Move” sponsored by Texas Executive Women
- 2011-2014 State Bar of Texas, Council Member, ADR Section
- 2010 Houston’s Top Lawyers – Multiple Years
- HBA President's Award for Outstanding Service as Chair of the ADR Committee
- Leadership in Action Award, Leadership Houston
- HBA-ADR Peer Mediation Pilot Project in Houston Independent School District
- Texas Mediator Credentialing Association- Credentialed Distinguished
- Texas Academy of Distinguished Neutrals
- American Arbitration Association
- College of Commercial Arbitrators, Fellow
- Institute for Energy Law of The Center for American & International Law
- CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution
- CPR panel of Neutrals
- CPR employment panel-southwest region
- CPR energy oil & gas panel-southwest region
- CPR environmental panel
- International Academy of Mediators (IAM), Fellow
- Association of Attorney Mediators, Inc.
- Association of Conflict Resolution
- American, Texas and Houston Bar Associations, (ADR and Litigation Sections)
- The Center for American and International Law (CAIL)
- American Bar Foundation, Fellow
- Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow
- Houston Bar Foundation, Fellow
- American College of Civil Trial Mediators 1997-2000, Fellow
- College of the State Bar of Texas
- Advisory Board of the Southwestern Legal Foundation Institute for Transnational Arbitration
- A.A. White Dispute Resolution Institute, Board of Directors, 1994-95
- Center for Legal Responsibility, Faculty Advisor, 1994-95
- 2018 Speaker, “The Preliminary Conference and Setting the Stage” and “The Award and Post- Award Issues,” ABA, Miami, Florida (May 2018)
- 2015 Speaker, “Arbitration of Personal Injury Cases,” Houston Trial Lawyers Association
- 2013 Faculty, Eighth Annual Arbitration Training Institute – A Comprehensive Training in Commercial Arbitration, ABA Section of Dispute Resolution, 2013 and 2014
- 2014 Speaker, “Hearing and Managing the Evidence,” AAA, 2014
- 2013 Speaker, “Managing a Successful Arbitration,” College of Commercial Arbitrators and American Arbitration Association, New Orleans
- 2011 Speaker, “Managing Your First Arbitration,” College of Commercial Arbitrators and American Arbitration Association, University of Houston Law Center
- 2011 Panelist, “Ethical Considerations - ADR,” HBA, ADR Section
- 2010 Panelist, “Women: The New Glass Ceiling”
- 2010 Speaker, “2010 Arbitration Update,” College of Commercial Arbitrators
- 2009 Panelist, “Judges, Elected or Appointed - Which is Better?” American Inns of Court XV (Garland Walker Inn)
- 2008 Panelist, “Mediation: Working it All Out,” Texas Lawyer Roundtable Series
- 2008 Panelist, “Arbitration: What Every Lawyer Needs to Know,” Texas Lawyer Roundtable Series
- 2008 Speaker, "Mediation Skills - Secrets and Pitfalls," Speaker Series ConocoPhillips Legal Department
- 2007 Speaker, "Energy and the Environment - Good Border Business, Energy Sector Dispute Resolution," XIV Border Energy Forum, San Diego, CA
- 2004 Speaker, "Your Chance to Speak Up - The CPR Roundtable," CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, Spring Meeting, New Orleans
- 2003 Speaker, Annual Advanced Attorney Mediator Training, St. Louis, Missouri
- 2003 Speaker, "Mediation in Civil Matters," Speaker Series ConocoPhillips, Legal Department, 2003 Speaker, American Bar Association, Mediation Advocacy Tort Trial & Insurance Practice 2001 Faculty, Attorney - Mediators Institute, Speaker, The Mediators and Arbitrators, HBA, 2001 Speaker, “Ethical Considerations of Mediation,” HBA
- 1999 Speaker, “Mediation of Employment Disputes: Strategy and Preparation Tips,” TELC Educational Conference and Spring Meeting, Austin, Texas
- 1998 Speaker, “ADR: Avoiding and Resolving Pitfalls Particular to IP Cases,” IP Law Conference for Women Corporate Counsel and IP Managers, San Diego, California
- 1999 Speaker, “Try to See It My Way: Mediation of Employment Disputes,” Advanced Employment Law Course, State Bar of Texas, 1999 and 1998
- 1997 Speaker, “Mediating Insurance Disputes: What Not to Do,” Texas Insurance Law Symposium, South Texas College of Law
- 1997 Speaker, “Mediating the Complex Case & The Exxon Valdez Mediation,” Annual HBA ADR Section Seminar
- 1997 Speaker, “Mediation/Settlement Techniques,” Advanced Medical Malpractice, Pharmaceutical/Medical Device Litigation Course, State Bar of Texas, Santa Fe, New Mexico
- 1997 Speaker, “ADR: When and How to Effectively Use,” Southwestern Bell Communications, Inc. Legal Conference
- 1996 Speaker, “ADR Overview: Making Mediation/Arbitration Work for You,” HBA
- 1996 Speaker, “Mediation, A View from the Bench,” Texas Association of Mediators
- Anti-Defamation League
- Southwest Region Board of Directors, January 1, 2015 – present
- Co-chair ADL 2017 Annual Jurisprudence Award Luncheon.
- Texas Executive Women
- Board of Directors, January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2017
- Co-chair Women on the Move Luncheon November 2017.
- Mission of Yahweh
- Co-chair, Mission of Yahweh Gala, 2014.
- Mission of Yahweh is a homeless shelter for women and children.
- Holocaust Museum of Houston
- Houston, Texas - Board of Directors - 2006 - 2009
- The United Way
- Alexis de Tocqueville Society and Leadership Circle -2003 - 2006
- Houston Council for B’nai Brith Youth Organization
- Board of Directors - 2001- 2006
- Washington University in St. Louis
- Parent Volunteer - 2002 - 2006
- Children at Risk
- Board of Directors -1999 - 2000
- St. John’s School
- Committee Member of various parent committees -1998 - 2002