C. Thomas Kruse is a recognized litigator with three decades of experience as lead counsel representing clients in commercial matters in federal and state courts—both in jury and bench trials and in appeals—as well as in high-value, out-of-court arbitrations in national and cross-border disputes. Board-certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Mr. Kruse excels in representing clients in the energy (oil & gas and alternative sources), engineering, manufacturing, and medical, among other industries. He also represents clients before the ICC Court of Arbitration and in American Arbitration Association disputes. In addition to benefiting from his courtroom and arbitration skills, clients also turn to Mr. Kruse for assistance in matters with both long- and short-term implications, including advice before disputes arise and litigation avoidance whenever possible.

Experience

  • Two international integrated energy companies, after taking over as lead counsel, in trial of ICC arbitration matter involving damage claims and counter claims of $500+ million over the operation and conversion of an LNG plant terminal in Latin America; handled live hearing with three-member ICC Arbitration panel in Mexico City (October 2021).
  • International publicly traded manufacturing company, acted as lead counsel in investigation and handling state and federal court lawsuit over allegations of wrongful death in plant in Mexico due to COVID-19 exposure.
  • Publicly traded energy services corporation, as lead trial counsel in a Texas court in Houston, in obtaining a jury verdict after a six-week trial with an actual damages award of $77 million in a breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and conspiracy case over an oilfield kickback scheme involving hundreds of millions of dollars in international transactions.
  • Publicly traded technology company, acting as lead counsel in lawsuit and appeal in Texas courts on trade secret misappropriations involving acquisition of subsidiary for $130+ million.
  • Publicly traded wind and green energy supply company in leading its investigation into and insurance claims management of wind turbine breakdown issues in US and abroad, including supply chain and manufacturing and maintenance issues.
  • Global LNG company based in Asia, as lead counsel, in dispute matter in initial international arbitration and mediation proceedings for failure to deliver at terminal on the Gulf Coast, resulting in damages including lost profit on the spot market.
  • Alternative green energy company, as co-lead trial counsel, in defending in the US District Court in Houston, Texas a supply contract lawsuit involving breach of contract, warranty and quality claims for component parts for energy electric power fuel cells, and alleging $20+ million in damages. The case settled successfully immediately prior to trial.
  • International engineering firm, as lead trial counsel, in successfully defending a lawsuit for $33+ million in damages over the design and engineering of a petrochemical plant; after a year of investigations and litigation, the case was dismissed with no payment from client.
  • Major automobile manufacturer in obtaining a dismissal of DOJ claims for $42+ million, in fines and penalties, over cross-border matters involving a plant in Mexico; DOJ dismissed and nonsuited all claims after motions, discovery and depositions.
  • Major international engineering firm, as lead counsel, in prosecuting a claim in an arbitration before the American Arbitration Association in Houston, Texas, for $50+ million in damages under a contract against the owners of a petrochemical plant in Texas; the case was settled favorably after discovery and motions.
  • Major international energy firm in an arbitration case before the International Chamber of Commerce over claims involving construction and engineering of facilities in South America for electric power generation, petrochemicals processing and natural gas pipelines. After favorably defending the arbitration, successfully handled a related lawsuit challenging the award in the US District Court in Houston, Texas.
  • International engineering company, handled trial court and successful appeal to the Texas Supreme Court, involving construction of electric power plant dispute with advanced pollution technology, in pursuing as plaintiff $40+ million in claims and appeal on sovereign immunity issues for contract with state government.
  • Closely held corporation with new medical technology, (plaintiff), in obtaining a jury verdict in the US District Court in Houston, Texas in a case involving minority shareholder oppression and breach of fiduciary duty; collected $6+ million in stock and polymer/plastics patent portfolios after judgment was entered.
  • International energy supply and engineering company, in arguing and winning an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court, after five years of appeals, of a landmark case involving its sovereign immunity to claims by an international engineering company under a $40+ million contract.
  • Large Chinese manufacturing company (defendant) in successfully obtaining a summary judgment in the US District Court in Houston, Texas against $12+ million in alleged breach of contract and fraud claims.
  • International energy supply and engineering company, as lead counsel in defending against a shareholder derivative suit in the US District Court in Houston, Texas, with $40+ million in claims; case settled favorably immediately after the lead plaintiff’s deposition.
  • Fortune 500 medical and scientific equipment company, as lead trial counsel in federal court, regarding a hostile attempt to force the sale of shares in a subsidiary in which the client had invested $30 million; obtained a take-nothing judgment on $25 million in counterclaims and recovered more than $3.6 million in attorneys’ fees.
  • International oilfield supply and services company, as lead appellate counsel, in securing a favorable ruling in a mandamus proceeding in commercial litigation to the Texas Court of Appeals involving fraud and fiduciary duty claims and the assertion of Fifth Amendment privilege over thousands of records.
  • Upstream oil and gas company, as lead counsel, in prosecuting case involving claimed insurance exclusion on indemnity provisions of ≈$30 million.

Credentials

Education
  • JD, Vanderbilt University Law School, 1989
  • Bobby Jones Scholar, University of St. Andrews, 1986
  • BA, Emory University, 1985
Admissions
  • Texas
  • US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • US Court of International Trade
  • US District Court, Nebraska
  • US District Court, Eastern District of Texas
  • US District Court, Northern District of Texas
  • US District Court, Western District of Texas
  • US District Court, Southern District of Texas
Clerkships
  • US District Court, Southern District of Texas, Honorable Ricardo H. Hinojosa
Activities
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, International Association of Defense Counsel
  • Member, Texas State Bar
  • Life Fellow, Houston Bar Foundation
  • Life Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
Overview

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