Quinn emanuel trial lawyers

Eskridge, Charles

Charles Eskridge

Partner

  Biography

Charles Eskridge joined Quinn Emanuel’s Houston office in 2015. He focuses on complex commercial litigation and has represented plaintiffs and defendants in federal and state courts across the country.

Charles has obtained damage awards and settlements for plaintiffs in business disputes. For defendants, he has won summary judgment, had class actions decertified, and otherwise successfully settled a wide array of cases upon terms which delighted the client. His litigation experience has included some of the biggest issues of the day, 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 experience includes antitrust, patents, aviation disaster, securities fraud, the First Amendment, and asbestos bankruptcy litigation, along with state law issues concerning contractual disputes, accounting and legal malpractice, fraud, employment and trade secret issues, and insurance coverage.

Charles is a member of the American Law Institute, and serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Houston Law Center, where he teaches a class of his own design on Origins of the Federal Constitution. Charles has been named among the State’s “Super Lawyers” (Thomson Reuters) since 2005. (2005-Present) 

Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz appointed Charles to their Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee to screen candidates and assist their advice and consent on prospective federal judges and U.S. Attorneys in Texas. He volunteers his time to the Houston community and legal profession, serving on the Board of Directors for the Museum of Printing History and 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

  • Retained as lead counsel by national law firm 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. Led the complicated settlement dynamic between the law firm, its former partners, its former client, and the original adverse defendants.
  • Representing Anthony Graves pro bono in his grievance filed with the State Bar of Texas, seeking to have the prosecutor who placed him on death row disciplined for ethical misconduct. The Fifth Circuit previously concluded that the withholding of evidence and confessions required a new trial, leading to a determination of actual innocence.
  • Represented a class of injured commodity customers in the Southern District of New York in connection with the collapse of MF Global Inc. When MF Global failed in October 2011, an unprecedented invasion of segregated commodity customer property occurred. 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. Eskridge led the briefing to the Second Circuit to establish the ability to proceed against the auditor on behalf of both the class and assigned claims from MF Global itself.
  • 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.
  • Obtained dismissal for KBR, Inc., against claims alleged as violations of the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Iraqi terrorist insurgents kidnapped and executed twelve men from Nepal who were en route from Jordan to work at a U.S. military base in Iraq during the Iraq War. Upon taking over the defense eight months before trial, Eskridge determined that threshold jurisdictional rulings regarding the extraterritorial and retroactive application of the TVPA remained subject to considerable dispute. Eskridge moved for interlocutory appeal, and the Court instead reversed its prior rulings, entirely dismissing KBR from the action.
  • Retained as lead litigation counsel by Lehman Brothers International (Europe) (in administration) to oppose confirmation of the bankruptcy plan filed by Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the worldwide corporate parent. LBHI’s proceedings in the Southern District of New York entailed the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. With discovery underway and the confirmation hearing looming, LBHI settled with LBIE, thereby resolving claims among the two and certain of their affiliates.
  • Represented Lehman Brothers International (Europe) (in administration) in the United Kingdom, as lead conflicts counsel respecting various issues arising in the wake of financial calamities that struck global markets in 2008. In addition to other retentions, successfully argued for return of assets from Citibank, N.A. Citibank had frozen LBIE custodial accounts in 18 worldwide branches, and initiated steps to appropriate those accounts not because of LBIE’s own trades, but because separate Lehman Brothers entities defaulted. Little decisional law exists as to the derivatives contracts (ISDA) underlying the custody issue, but legal analysis and argument against Citibank’s creative “set off” theory paved the way to an orderly business resolution. Also successfully negotiated return of LBIE trading accounts, from Barclays Capital Inc., who 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 of a wrongful death claim arising from the four flights involved in the 9/11 attacks, and 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.
  • Defended one of the world's largest retailers in several complex class actions pending in state courts across the country, challenging various aspects of the retailer’s wage, time-keeping, and break policies. Obtained decertification of the class in Massachusetts state court at the final pre-trial conference. Argued the appeal to the Massachusetts Supreme Court, and despite reversal, subsequently settled the action on favorable terms.
  • Plaintiff counsel for Novamedix Ltd., achieved $75 million settlement of 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, which included causes of action for breach of contract, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, breach of charitable trust, unjust enrichment, and civil conspiracy, as well as statutory violations of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
  • Advised the London Insurance Market on significant asbestos insurance coverage issues. Eskridge 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, Eskridge 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.
  • Plaintiff counsel for settlement an array of environmental clean-up cases brought against the London Insurance Market by Eli Lilly, Boeing, and others in venues across the United States.
  • 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.
  • Obtained against Microsoft one of the largest private antitrust settlements in the history of Sherman Act litigation. Over a three-year period, Eskridge served as lead coordination counsel and coordinated a team of attorneys from three law firms while leading the discovery and briefing on behalf of Caldera, Inc. on its monopolization claims in the District of Utah related to Microsoft's activities in the DOS and Windows markets. Eskridge led and coordinated massive discovery efforts that included the depositions of top Microsoft executives such as Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. Eskridge wrote the definitive 188-page Consolidated Statement of Facts by which Caldera resisted Microsoft's repeated summary judgment motions. See 87 F.Supp.2d 1244; 72 F.Supp.2d 1295. 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. Eskridge briefed and argued all First Amendment issues related to the complete ban of billboards from certain areas of the City.
  • 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.
  • Plaintiff counsel in representation of the 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. Eskridge 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 as plaintiff counsel that returned clients to their positions as directors and officers of the phone company for the U.S. Virgin Islands. Eskridge's briefing demonstrated that the removal from their posts was in violation of federal securities rules through a secret consent solicitation. See 905 F.Supp. 248 (D. Virgin Islands 1995). Following a three-day bench trial in a parallel action in Delaware, the case settled on terms permanently returning clients to their corporate posts.
  • Following a three-week jury trial in the Southern District of Texas, obtained a $1.5 million verdict for the shareholders of a small Houston bio-technology company against a director of the company, the company's bank, and an outside investor for civil conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duty. Eskridge briefed and argued to the Fifth Circuit the next year.

  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

  • “Texas Super Lawyer” (2007-2018) and “Texas Rising Star” (2004) by Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters) 
  • Selected for “40 Under 40” by Texas Lawyer (2001, American Law Media)
  • AV Preeminent rating by Martindale Hubbell

Publications and Lectures

  • Modern Lessons from Original Steps Towards the American Bill of Rights, 19 Tex. R. L. & Pol. __ (2015) (forthcoming)
  • Origins of the Federal Constitution, Advanced Seminar, University of Houston Law Center (2010-2015)
  • Federal Courts, University of Houston Law Center (2006-2008)
  • National Security vs. Individual Liberties—A Conundrum, Garland Walker American Inn of Court, Houston, Texas (March 2014)
  • 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)
  • An Address to the 1Ls on Their Way to Becoming the Class of 2014, Pepperdine University School of Law (August 2011)
  • 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

  • Cornyn/Cruz Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee
  • Sustaining Member, American Law Institute
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Federal Bar Association
  • Member, Houston Bar Association
  • Sustaining Life Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
  • Sustaining Life Fellow, Houston Bar Foundation
  • Master, Garland R. Walker Inn, American Inns of Court
  • Board of Visitors, Pepperdine University School of Law
  • Board of Directors, Museum of Printing History
  • United States Supreme Court Historical Society