Overview

David Kent is a skilled trial lawyer known for his powerful defense in federal and state trials and in appellate courts throughout the country. He is double board-certified in Civil Trial Law and Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, a distinction held by fewer than one percent of the lawyers in Texas. His practice primarily involves defending professional liability claims against design professionals (architects and engineers) and handling business disputes, class actions, mass tort and other complex litigation involving serious injury and death claims. Clients especially trust David to bring a case to fruition; he is often called upon at the eleventh hour to assist with, and sometimes completely take over, the defense of a pending case that is nearing trial. His unswerving devotion has helped clients across industries, from architects, engineers and manufacturers to supply chain management providers, land developers, and all manner of buyers and sellers.

Thought Leadership

David is a regular fixture at continuing legal education seminars, having made approximately 130 speeches and presentations. He has published more than 115 professional papers, law review articles and books and has served for nine years as the contributing editor on evidence law for the State Bar of Texas’ General Practice Digest.

Representative Experience

Design Professionals and Other Professional Liability

  •  Advised excess insurance carriers for a national engineering firm regarding a $100-million-plus design, delay and quantity estimates claim brought by joint venture contractor in a $1 billion P3 (public private partnership) bridge construction project in the Northeast U.S.
  • Advised excess insurance carriers for a national engineering firm regarding a $65-million-plus design claim brought by joint venture contractor in a $450 million design-build-maintain highway construction project in West Texas.
  • Defended a national engineering firm in a $60 million design-build suit arising from expansion of a commuter light rail transit system in a public-private partnership project.
  • Defended a national engineering firm in mass tort and class action claims arising from alleged lead contamination of municipal drinking water supply.
  • Defended a national engineering firm providing construction engineering & inspection (CEI) services in a multiparty wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit where an 18-wheeler struck a bridge under construction in an interstate highway construction work zone.
  • Defended a national engineering firm in a suit involving geotechnical design issues related to the runway and landing areas of the nation’s only privately developed/operated commercial airports.
  • Defended a national engineering firm in a suit involving the design of a 150-acre asphalt pavement port facility on the Atlantic seaboard.
  • Defended a national engineering firm in a two-week jury trial involving professional liability claim arising from the design of a temporary cofferdam at a public water reservoir in Florida.
  • Defended a national engineering firm in a $150 million professional liability claim arising from the design and construction of a 15.5 billion-gallon regional water reservoir in Florida, resulting in a defense verdict after a five-week jury trial. Tampa Bay Water v. HDR Engineering, Inc., 731 F.3d 1171 (11th Cir. 2013)
  • Defended a national environmental engineering and consulting firm in a $100 million professional liability and construction management claim arising from the design and construction of a municipal wastewater treatment plant in Arizona.
  • Defended a vertically integrated engineering and construction firm in a $40 million claim arising from the design and construction of a cogeneration power plant located inside a petrochemical refinery in California’s Bay area.
  • Defended an architectural firm in a multimillion-dollar claim arising from the construction of television broadcasting studios in Tampa, Florida.
  • Defended legal professionals in professional negligence claims arising from a variety of legal engagements, including litigation, bankruptcy and intellectual property.

Business Litigation

  • Defended a contract electronics manufacturer in a $50 million California state court breach of warranty case arising from alleged defects in 60,000 printed circuit board assemblies used in traffic control and monitoring devices sold throughout the United States and abroad.
  • Represented a Pennsylvania-based provider of maintenance and repair operation supply chain management services in various contractual disputes in Texas.
  • Represented the nation’s oldest bottled water company and five of its regional distributors in defense of an unfair competition/false advertising case brought by a regional competitor in federal district court in Shreveport, Louisiana. Represented employers and employees in enforcing or defending trade secret claims and noncompetition agreements.
  • Represented a buyer in a stock purchase agreement suing the seller for breach of contract, resulting in $5.2 million recovery in arbitration proceedings in San Diego, California.

Real Estate and Environmental

  • Represented a real estate development company in a multimillion-dollar, high-exposure real estate fraud and civil conspiracy case in a luxury residential golf course community located in Riverside County, California. Case settled during trial on favorable terms.
  • Represented landowners in condemnation proceedings involving the construction of a 43-mile-long regional water pipeline.
  • Represented a national hotel chain in condemnation proceedings involving taking part of local property in Texas.
  • Represented a land developer in condemnation proceedings involving the construction of the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
  • Successfully defended one of the nation’s largest independent natural gas exploration and development companies in a series of groundwater pollution cases brought by more than 50 families in Wise County, Texas. Mitchell Energy Corp. v. Bartlett, 958 S.W.2d 430 (Tex. App. – Fort Worth 1997, pet rev. denied).
  • Represented lessors and lessees in various commercial lease disputes, including restaurants, warehouses, hazardous chemicals and commercial properties.

Product Liability

  • Defended a roofing company in a multimillion-dollar respiratory injury claim arising from alleged inhalation vapors from roofing adhesive product containing toluene diisocyanate (TDI).
  • Defended a national roofing system manufacturing company in a $35 million claim arising from the partial collapse of the roof of a shopping mall located on the Gulf Coast during Hurricane Rita.
  • Represented owners of racehorses and horse breeding farm in a $25 million product liability claim against the manufacturer of cooling fans that malfunctioned and caused a barn fire, killing six breeding stallions and disrupting breeding farm operations.
  • Defended a major Japanese computer equipment manufacturer at a 10-week jury trial in state court in Dallas in a $100-million-plus product liability/wrongful death suit against claims that its computer printer had malfunctioned and caused a house fire, in which a young mother died and her husband and daughters were seriously burned.
  • National defense counsel for a Chicago-based football helmet manufacturing and reconditioning company in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits brought in state and federal courts throughout the nation.
  • Defended a German automobile manufacturer against claims that a national advertising campaign emphasizing speed and road-handling capabilities of the car promoted unsafe driving techniques that resulted in a major collision with resulting deaths and injuries to passengers.
  • Defended a Japanese manufacturer of steel I-beams used in the construction of manufactured housing against claims of design defect, which allegedly caused the I-beam to bend and collapse on top of a person who was working under the house, resulting in quadriplegia.
  • Counseled manufacturers with regard to their obligations under the Consumer Products Safety Act (CPSA) to report incidents of product hazards and to conduct nationwide product safety recalls, including notification to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), notices to consumers, retrofits and replacements of defective products, and follow-up reporting obligations.

Class Actions

  • Represented in Texas a U.S.-based international food company in a toxic tort class action and mass action litigation brought by Central American farm workers.
  • Represented in Michigan a Texas-based oil and gas company in a royalty owners’ class action litigation alleging underpayment of royalties. Williams v. Terra Energy, Ltd., 2006 Mich. App. LEXIS 2309.
  • Represented in Texas an international computer manufacturer’s employee in a consumer class action for misrepresentations concerning laptop computer battery life.
  • Represented in Texas a consortium of water heater manufacturers in a follow-on consumer class action for defective water heater components.

Insurance Coverage and Policy Claim Litigation

  • Defended a liability insurance carrier in litigation involving the interpretation of additional insured policy provision and indemnification provision in underlying contract.
  • Represented the nation’s largest apartment management company in a complex claim in Ohio state court against a group of excess insurance carriers for tornado damage to a 50-acre apartment complex involving issues of replacement cost coverage, business interruption losses, extra expense claims, and defenses of fraud and false swearing claims.
  • Represented a New Jersey-based insurance company in complex coverage action involving 130 health care facilities with claims for rescission based on misrepresentation, questions of exhaustion of policy limits and roles of offshore captive insurance companies.

Previous Experience

After graduating cum laude from law school, David served a one-year judicial clerkship with the Supreme Court of Texas.

Personal Interests

Outside the office, the best place to find David is outdoors — fine-tuning his game on the golf course, riding his bicycle in charity road rallies, exploring local hike and bike trails, or kayaking the lakes and rivers of Texas.

Credentials

Bar Admissions

Texas

Court Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas

Certifications

Civil Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization

Personal Injury Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization

Education

Baylor University School of Law
J.D. cum laude, Baylor Law Review - Editor-in-Chief (1978)

Baylor University
B.A. (1975)

Leadership & Community

Pro Bono

  • Dallas Bar Association — Community Service Fund (Board Member, 2020-present); Equal Access to Justice Campaign (Co-Chair, 2016); Fee Disputes Committee (2008-present)
  • State Bar of Texas, Discipline & Client Attorney Assistance Committee — Client Security Fund Subcommittee (Vice Chair, 2019-20); Discipline/CAAP Subcommittee (2017-20)

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association (1978-present), Section of Litigation — Trial Evidence Committee (2009-present); Trial Practice Committee (1988-present); Class Action & Derivative Suits Committee (2017-present)
  • American Bar Association (1978-present), Section of Tort Trial & Insurance Practice — Business Litigation Committee (1997-present); Trial Techniques Committee (2012-present);
  • American Bar Association, Forum on Construction Law — Division 3: Design (2018-present)
  • Dallas Bar Association (DBA) — Board of Directors (Advisory Member, 2017-20); Construction Law Section (Council member, 2020); Trial Skills Section (Chair, 2017); Judiciary Committee (Co-Chair, 2017); Pro Bono Golf Tournament Committee (Co-Chair, 2015-17; Co-Vice Chair, 2018-20); Public Forum Committee (Co-Chair, 2014)
  • Dallas Bar Foundation (DBF) — Trustee, 2015-19
  • State Bar of Texas — Board of Directors (2017-20); Standing Committee on Pattern Jury Charges — Malpractice, Premises & Products (Advisor, 2018-19), General Negligence, Intentional Personal Torts and Workers Comp (Alternate Advisor, 2019-20); Construction Law Section (Advisor, 2017-20); Standing Committee on Law Focused Education (Advisor, 2017-18); Standing Committee on Laws Relating to Immigration & Nationality (Advisor, 2018-20); District 6 Grievance Committee (2009-15), Evidentiary Panel Chair (2012-15)

Civic Activities

  • High Adventure Treks for Dads & Daughters — Board of Directors (Chairman, 2001-present)
  • Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership of North Texas (HOBY Texas North) — Past President, 2008-10

Honors

  • State Bar of Texas — Board of Directors Presidential Citation for Service, 2020  
  • Who’s Who In The World Biographee, 23rd-29th, 31st editions, (2006-12, 2014)
  • Who’s Who In America Biographee, 48th (1994), 50th-70th editions (1996-2015)
  • Who’s Who In the South & Southwest Biographee, 24th (1998), 28th-33rd editions (2002-07) 
  • Who’s Who In American Law  Biographee, 2nd, 4th-6th, 8th, 13th-14th, 16th-18th editions (2009-15)
  • Who’s Who Of Emerging Leaders In America, Biographee 2nd & 3rd Editions 
  • Dallas Bar Association (DBA) — Presidential Citation, 2017; Outstanding Section Award, 2007, 2010; Outstanding Committee Chair Award, 1998
  • Baylor Law School — Alumnus of the Month Award, May 2011
  • Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership of North Texas — Volunteer of the Year Award, 2010
  • Dallas Association of Young Lawyers (DAYL) — Outstanding Young Lawyer of Dallas Award, 1989
  • Baylor University School of Law —  American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL) National Trial Competition, Champion, 1978

Awards Methodology

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