Quinn emanuel trial lawyers

Eskridge, Charles

Charles Eskridge

Partner

  Biography

Charles Eskridge focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation in federal and state courts across the country at both trial and on appeal. He joined Quinn Emanuel’s Houston office in 2015.

He has successfully represented both plaintiffs and defendants in high-stakes litigation, including representation of Lehman Brothers International (Europe) after the financial meltdown of 2008; one of the main defendants in actions arising after the 9/11 attacks; the interests of the London Insurance Market during the asbestos bankruptcy crisis; and an operating system technology company in groundbreaking antitrust action against Microsoft. His litigation experience includes energy contracts and operating issues, antitrust, patents, aviation disaster, securities fraud, the First Amendment, legal ethics, fraud, employment and trade secret issues, and insurance coverage. More recently, Charles obtained a $622 million award in international arbitral proceedings regarding improper early termination of a long-term deepwater drilling contract, with proceedings to confirm that award pending in the Southern District of Texas.  He also successfully represented Anthony Graves pro bono before the State Bar of Texas in grievance proceedings to disbar the Texas district attorney who wrongfully prosecuted and put him on death row for nearly 18 years for a crime of which he was later completely exonerated.

A former law clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court and Fifth Circuit, Charles is a member of the American Law Institute and serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Houston Law Center, where he teaches a class of his own design on Origins of the Federal Constitution. Texas Law and Politics and Texas Monthly Magazine have named Charles among the State’s “Super Lawyers” (Thomson Reuters) since 2005. He volunteers his time to the Houston legal profession, serving in leadership roles with the local American Inns of Court. He supports access-to-justice initiatives and is a Sustaining Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and the Houston Bar Foundation.

  Notable Representations

  • Representing TOTAL E&P USA, Inc., as lead counsel for three related actions in the Southern District of Texas concerning asserted liability for the abandonment and decommissioning of wells and a connecting pipeline in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The matter is ongoing, with some aspects now on appeal to the Fifth Circuit following a two-week jury trial in February 2019.
  • Representing Vantage Deepwater Company against several Petrobras entities in international arbitral proceedings concerning Petrobras’s improper early termination of an eight-year deepwater drilling contract. Took primary responsibility over the operational aspects of the case, including experts. Following a three-week arbitration, the tribunal entered a final award of $622 million in favor of Vantage. Action to confirm the award remains pending in the Southern District of Texas.
  • Represented a national law firm as lead counsel with respect to disputes arising from entry of a sanctions order entirely dismissing a complex patent lawsuit after trial upon determination that a lawyer had misrepresented certain facts. Successfully led the complicated settlement dynamic between the law firm, its former partners, its former client, and the original adverse defendants.
  • Represented Anthony Graves pro bono before the State Bar of Texas in his grievance proceedings to disbar the prosecutor. Graves served over eighteen years in prison for capital murder, mostly on death row and in solitary confinement, for a crime of which he was later completely exonerated following findings of prosecutorial misconduct by the Fifth Circuit. In June 2015, the disciplinary panel disbarred the prosecutor, which was unanimously affirmed on appeal.
  • Represented a class of injured commodity customers in the Southern District of New York in connection with the collapse of MF Global Inc. Action included violations of the Commodity Exchange Act, breach of fiduciary duty, and conversion, against an array of MF Global insiders, its former regulator and its independent auditor.
  • Represented a class of Native Americans on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota, in action against the United States in the Court of Federal Claims for breach of fiduciary duty with regard to its obligations as trustee of mineral and energy leasing rights. Separate action also proceeded in North Dakota federal court against those who aided, abetted and profited from the government’s breach.
  • Represented Lehman Brothers International (Europe) (in administration) as lead conflicts counsel on various matters arising in the wake of financial calamities that struck global markets in 2008. In addition to other retentions, opposed confirmation of the bankruptcy plan filed by Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the worldwide corporate parent, ultimately resolving claims among the two and certain of their affiliates. Successfully argued for return of assets with value over $2.5 billion from Citibank, N.A., which had frozen and initiated steps to appropriate LBIE custodial accounts based on defaults by separate Lehman Brothers entities. Successfully negotiated return of LBIE trading accounts from Barclays Capital Inc., which had obtained them from Lehman Brothers Inc. when it sought bankruptcy protection in September 2008.
  • Defended Huntleigh USA Corporation in a complex array of actions filed in the Southern District of New York in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Huntleigh provided checkpoint security at Boston’s Logan Airport in regard to United Flight 175, which terrorists crashed into the second World Trade Center tower, collapsing the building. Served as lead counsel in the only private arbitration (nonbinding) of a wrongful death claim arising from the four flights involved in the 9/11 attacks. Coordinated the settlement efforts on behalf of Huntleigh with regard to wrongful death, personal injury, business damages, and insurance subrogation claims totaling billions of dollars.
  • Obtained $75 million settlement for Novamedix Ltd. on its patent infringement and Lanham Act claims pertaining to its medical devices designed to prevent deep-vein thrombosis. Following favorable Markman and summary judgment rulings in the Western District of Texas, and with a trial date looming, the defendant settled.
  • Represented Baylor Health Care System in one of dozens of class actions filed nationwide challenging obligations of non-profit hospitals relating to their federal tax-exempt status. Obtained dismissal of all claims prior to any discovery in the Northern District of Texas.
  • Advised the London Insurance Market on significant asbestos insurance coverage issues. Served as one of three attorneys retained nationally to advise the London Market on a coordinated strategy across all matters. In one of the few contested asbestos-related bankruptcies to litigate through plan confirmation, defended the London Market in the reorganization filed by The Babcock & Wilcox Company in the Eastern District of Louisiana, including a four-week trial to the bench on confirmation issues.
  • Defended Medtronic, the nation's foremost developer and manufacturer of pacemakers, against antitrust, civil conspiracy, and various tort and breach of contract claims in the Southern District of Texas brought by a competitor from whom Medtronic hired several key employees.
  • Represented Caldera Inc. against Microsoft Corporation on its monopolization claims in the District of Utah related to Microsoft's activities in the DOS and Windows markets. Led and coordinated massive discovery efforts that included the depositions of top Microsoft executives such as Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. Wrote the definitive 188-page Consolidated Statement of Facts by which Caldera resisted Microsoft's repeated summary judgment motions. The case settled two weeks out from trial for a confidential amount, reported by The Wall Street Journal to be $275 million.
  • Bench trial in Texas state court for a national media client against the City of Houston pertaining to billboard restrictions. Briefed and argued all First Amendment issues related to the complete ban of billboards from certain areas of the City.
  • Briefed and upheld in the Texas Supreme Court a trial verdict and appellate opinion assessing punitive damages against Mobil Oil for the leukemic death of one its workers due to benzene exposure.
  • Represented a cardiology practice group in the Southern District of Texas in their employment dispute with a former affiliated physician. Upon termination, the disgruntled physician filed suit alleging fraud, breach of contract, libel, slander, and numerous other causes of action. Obtained summary judgment and dismissal of all claims prior to discovery.
  • Represented Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company in Texas state court in a fraud and breach of contract lawsuit against a gas producer. Tennessee Gas alleged that the gas sold from South Texas leases were secretly injected with propane to make it conform to onerous take-or-pay obligations. The jury awarded $142 million in punitive damages, which Texas Lawyer  (ALM) reported as one of the top ten verdicts in Texas of 1996.
  • Represented class of employees of Burlington Industries in North Carolina federal court against Burlington, Morgan Stanley, and NationsBank in an ERISA lawsuit alleging that ESOP plan assets were looted pursuant to a scheme selling Burlington stock to the employees' pension fund at a highly inflated price. Led the briefing in opposition to summary judgment motions brought by all three defendants. The defendants settled within a month of filing the class's 73-page opposition.
  • Won a temporary restraining order and a temporary injunction that returned clients to their positions as directors and officers of the phone company for the U.S. Virgin Islands. Led briefing efforts to establish that the removal from their posts was in violation of federal securities rules through a secret consent solicitation. Following a three-day bench trial in a parallel action in Delaware, the case settled on terms permanently returning clients to their corporate posts.

  Education

  • Pepperdine University
    (J.D., summa cum laude, 1990)
    • Valedictorian

  • Trinity University
    (B.S., magna cum laude, 1985)

  Admissions

The State Bar of Texas; United States Supreme Court; United States Courts of Appeals: Second Circuit, Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit, D.C. Circuit; United States District Courts: Southern District of Texas, Northern District of Texas, Eastern District of Texas, Western District of Texas

  Prior Associations

  • Susman Godfrey:
    • Partner (1996-2015)
    • Associate (1994-1996)

  • Pepperdine University School of Law
    • Distinguished Practitioner in Residence (Fall 2011)

  • University of Houston Law Center
    • Adjunct Professor of Law (since 2006)

  • Special Assistant to Hon. Howard M. Holtzmann, U.S. Arbitrator
    • Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, The Hague (1992-1994)

  • Law Clerk to Hon. Byron R. White:
    • U.S. Supreme Court (1991-1992)

  • Law Clerk to Hon. Charles Clark, Chief Judge:
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit (1990-1991)

  Awards

  • Innes Mackillop Outstanding Service Award, Garland R. Walker Inn, American Inns of Court (2017)
  • Defender of Justice Award, Texas Fair Defense Project (2017)
  • Justice in Action Award, Texas Defender Service (2016)
  • Named “Texas Super Lawyer” (2005, 2007–2018) and “Texas Rising Star” (2004) by Texas Law and Politics and Texas Monthly Magazine (University of Texas)
  • Selected for “40 Under 40” by Texas Lawyer (2001, American Law Media)
  • AV Preeminent rating by Martindale Hubbell

Publications and Lectures

  • An Original Document for Every Song in “Hamilton: An American Musical” or, Hamilton Exalted, &c., various venues nationally (2017–2019)
  • Magna Carta and The Path Forward to the Rule of Law,  Annual Judicial Education Conference, Texas Center for the Judiciary, San Antonio, Texas (September 2016)
  • Modern Lessons from Original Steps Towards the American Bill of Rights, 19 Tex. R. L. & Pol. 25 (2015)
  • Origins of the Federal Constitution, Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Houston Law Center (2010–2015)
  • Federal Courts, Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Houston Law Center (2006–2008)
  • Celebrating the Right to Counsel: Gideon v. Wainwright at Fifty, Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program, Houston, Texas (October 2013)
  • United States Term in Review: 2012 Term, Panelist, Houston Lawyers Chapter, The Federalist Society (August 2013)
  • United States Supreme Court Roundup: 2011 Term, HBA/CLE Seminar Series (October 2012)
  • The Susman Stipulations: Selections from Pre-Trial and Trial Agreements, Workshop for Judges of the Fifth Circuit, Santa Fe, New Mexico (May 2012)
  • Understanding the “Obamacare” Decision, various venues, Houston, Texas (2011)
  • A Conversation With Justice Clarence Thomas, Panelist, Pepperdine University School of Law (September 2008)
  • Texas Civil Jury Trial Summit: Improving Civil Jury Trial in the 21st Century, Principal Planning Chair, Houston, Texas (October 2006)

Professional Activities

  • American Law Institute, Sustaining Member
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • Federal Bar Association, Member
  • Houston Bar Association, Member
  • Texas Bar Foundation, Sustaining Life Fellow
  • Houston Bar Foundation, Sustaining Life Fellow
  • Garland R. Walker Inn, American Inns of Court, Master
  • Pepperdine University School of Law, Board of Visitors
  • United States Supreme Court Historical Society
  • Timothy Cole Exoneration Review Commission (2015–2016)
  • Cornyn/Cruz Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee (2012–2017)
  • Hutchison/Cornyn Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee (2009–2012