Randy G. Donato, Esq.
Randy Donato was selected by his peers in 2007 as one of the top trial lawyers in the state of Texas and recognized in the Texas Super Lawyers edition of Texas Lawyer Magazine. He has led the firm in their outstanding achievements since 1995. He has tried in excess of 100 cases to verdict and has handled 13 appeals, some of which to the Texas Supreme Court. He has achieved Advocate status in the elite American Board of Trial Advocates organization and has a trial record that is hard to match. With 26 years of experience, he has tried nearly every type of case related to insurance defense, subrogation and plaintiffs’ personal injury. His record of accomplishments speaks volumes.
Areas of Practice
Personal Injury / Wrongful Death
Trucking / Transportation
General Civil Litigation
- Current Employment Position:
- Bar Admissions:
- Texas, 1982
- U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of Texas
- U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
- South Texas College of Law, Houston, Texas, 1982 – J.D.
- University of Texas, Austin, Texas, 1978 - B.A.
- Representative Cases:
- Ethyl Corporation v. Daniel Construction Co., 725 S.W.2d 705 (Texas 1987)
- Thornhill v. Ronnie’s I-45 Truck Stop, Inc, 944 S.W. 2d 780 (Texas App. 1997)
- Smith v. Smith, 720 S.W.2d 586 (Texas App. 1986)
- Daniel Const. Co. v. Ethyl Corp., 714 S.W.2d 51 (Texas App. 1986)
- Smith v. White, 695 S.W.2d 295 (Texas App. 1985)
- Hawthrone V. LaMan Constructors, Inc., 672 S.W.2d 255 (Texas App. 1984)
- Honors and Awards:
- AV Rated, Martindale Hubbell
- 2007 Texas Super Lawyer
- Advocate on the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
- Professional Associations and Memberships:
- State Bar of Texas - Member
- Houston Bar Association - Member
- Texas Bar Association - Member
- Defense Research Institute - Member
- American Association of Trial Lawyers - Member
- Trucking Industry Defense Association - Member
Citgo Petroleum and Underwriters at Lloyds v. The Babcock & Wilcox Company;
Was lead counsel of the Donato Minx and Brown team that obtained a $455,720,299.00 verdict resulting in a net $387,421,694.65 verdict for CITGO Petroleum and Underwriters at Lloyds against The Babcock & Wilcox Company. The six week trial was heard in Cook County, Illinois and resulted in the largest verdict ever rendered in Cook County and the second largest non-class action verdict in the State of Illinois. The jury deliberated for eight hours before returning a verdict. The lawsuit focused on an August 14, 2001 fire at CITGO’s Lemont, Illinois refinery. Post-accident investigation determined that an eight inch elbow manufactured in 1981 by The Babcock & Wilcox Company was the cause of the fire. The firm sought recovery of property damage and business interruption. The firm worked through complex bankruptcy and insurance deficiencies to obtain a recoverable verdict. The Babcock & Wilcox Company was represented by John Donley and Andrew McGaan of Kirkland & Ellis.
Reynolds Metals Company vs. Hydrochem Industrial Services, Inc., in the 28th Judicial District Court of Nueces County, TX, Cause No. 00-430-A
In 2007, successfully overturned on appeal a summary judgment denying Reynolds and their insurers an indemnity claim for an $8,350,000 settlement they paid on an underlying paraplegic personal injury case. After reversal on appeal, the case went to trial and the clients, Reynolds and ACE USA, were awarded indemnity for the $8.35 million previously paid, plus interest.
Schuhsler, Cathy vs. Alvin E. Massey and Cabo’s Cantina, LLC, Harris County Probate Court No. 1, TX, September 5, 2006
Jury verdict for $13,108,000 in a wrongful death case brought on behalf of Curtis Ross Hampton, an incapacitated ward, and Betty Schuhsler, the surviving heiress of the decedent, Carolyn Hampton.
EcoElectrica, L.P. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London, et. al. Arbitration Proceeding under the Federal Arbitration Act- New Orleans, Louisiana.
The Firm successfully defended Underwriters in a two-week insurance coverage arbitration involving a cogeneration electrical plant located in Penuelas, Puerto Rico. EcoElectrica demanded coverage for the failure of a Siemens Westinghouse generator rotor alleging $15,500,000.00 in physical damage and business interruption. The Firm asserted the failure was caused by a progressive manufacturing defect that negated coverage under the latent defect exclusion. In a 3-0 decision, the arbitration panel determined that the policy was not triggered by the claims of EcoElectrica and awarded $0 in monetary damages against Underwriters.
EcoElectrica utilized three generator experts, Clyde Maughan, Isidor Kerszenbaum and Geoff Klempner, and Siemens Westinghouse engineers to argue the defect was sudden and not progressive. Despite the numerous engineers, the Firm, through the use of Mike Thomas as their technical expert, convinced the panel of the progressive nature of the defect and its exclusionary effect on coverage. The Firm successfully defeated EcoElectrica’s claims of coverage on factual grounds, proving no physical damage trigger, no occurrence, the application of the latent exclusion and the inapplicability of the ensuing loss provision.
EcoElectrica was represented by Gordon Grimes, Jack Montgomery and John Osborn of Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson of Portland, Maine.
Ethyl Corporation v. Daniel Construction Co., 725 S.W.2d 705 (Tex. 1987). Refinery explosion, severe burns to plaintiff. Defense verdict, appealed to Texas Supreme Court and upheld. Resulted in our Supreme Court adopting the “Express Negligence Rule” used to interpret indemnity agreements.
Smith vs. Smith, 295th District Court, Harris County, Cause No. 85-04736. Tortious interference with child-custody rights by wealthy family. Successfully represented the plaintiff in obtaining a $53 million judgment which was upheld on appeal.
Cynthia Gail Stuart vs. West Lake Commerce Park Limited, 61st District Court, Harris County, Cause No. 84-58497. Premise liability rape case against apartment complex. Defense verdict for client. Court granted two new trials and the case was successfully tried to defense verdict three times.
Dolly Taylor vs. Gulf States Toyota, 80th District Court, Harris County, Cause No. 86-0747-8. Wrongful death, auto case. Defense verdict for client.
Frank Anthony vs. A&P Holding Co., Inc., 165th District Court, Harris County, Cause No. 84-43698. Traumatic amputation of leg. Auto case. Defense verdict for client.
Victoria Nunez vs. Angelo’s Fisherman Wharf, 190th District Court, Harris County, Cause No. 81-34879. Wrongful death. Defense verdict for client.
Salinas vs. King Edward VI Apartments, 280th District Court, Harris County, Cause No. 95-37137. Premises Liability rape case against apartment owner. Defense verdict for client.
Vicki Dooley vs. Robert Andrew McNeil, 239th District Court of Brazoria County, Texas, Cause No. 83-G-0425. Wrongful death. Defense verdict for client.
Texas City Refinery vs. Insurance Company of North America, 80th District Court, Harris County, Cause No. 86-36064. Bad faith. Defense verdict for client.
Mario Valdez vs. Philips Crane Rigging, 281st District Court, Harris County, Cause No. 81-06131. Traumatic amputation. Defense verdict for client.
Ruby Ann Barger vs. Petrochemical Transport, 149th District Court of Brazoria County, Texas, Cause No.82-C-0283. Wrongful death involving 18-wheeler. Defense verdict for client.
Texas Utilities vs. Flour Daniels, 162nd District Court, Dallas County, Texas. $2 million verdict for client on subrogation/property damage case arising out of damages to a turbine during a turn-a-round.
Hernandez vs. Acme Truck Lines, Inc., 125th District Court, Harris County, Texas, Cause No. 92-16975. Serious injury case involving 18-wheeler. Tried to defense verdict for client and successfully upheld on appeal.
Maria Guerra Cornejo, et al v. Jetero Properties, Inc., et al , 127th District Court, Harris County, Texas, Cause No. 87-31402. Premises liability, wrongful death. Defense verdict for client.
Pennzoil-Quaker State Company v. Genesis Crude Oil, L.P.; 61st Judicial District Court, Harris County, Texas, Cause No. 2001-01176. $12,750,000.00 settlement on a subrogation/property damage and business interruption claim arising out of contaminated chlorides in pipeline system supplied to Pennzoil refinery, causing rapid corrosion and subsequent Naptha release and fire.
Miller vs. Ford Motor Company, confidential settlement for our client in a case involving the first non-deployment of an airbag.
Great Lakes Chemical Corporation vs. Houston Distribution Inc., United States District Court Southern Division, Civil Action No. H-96-1666. Subrogation case arising out of the largest fire in the City of Houston. Resulted in 100% recovery on a $9.6 million claim.
Valero Energy Corporation vs. Compressor Controls Corporation, 319th District Court, Nueces County, Texas, Cause No. 95-2286-G; $8.4 million + settlement on a subrogation/property damage and business interruption claim involving a refinery explosion.
Norman and Delecia Blasingame vs. Ford Motor Company, 333rd District Court, Harris County, Texas, Cause No. 94-48282. Confidential settlement. Product liability defective passive restraint system.
Stevens vs. Southwest Pump Company, 129th District Court, Harris County, Texas, Cause No. 1992-43269. Wrongful death, product liability. Secured $1,600,000 settlement two-weeks into trial for the client.
City of Austin v. Pauwels Canada, Inc., Preferred Sales Agency, Inc. and Maschinfabrik Reinhausen GmbH. $2,700,000 subrogation settlement involving an explosion and ensuing fire of a 138/69-13.2kV, 132/176/220 MVA Autotransformer, manufactured by Pauwels Canada, Inc. The explosion originated due to a flashover of the dielectric insulating shaft in the B Phase tapchanger manufactured by Reinhausen. Further investigation revealed the dielectric insulating shaft was damaged during testing while on the test floor at Pauwels. The settlement of $2,700,000 was 140% of full damages, i.e. full damages plus pre-judgment interest.
Judy Morris, et al. vs. Sensitive Care-Windsor place Health Care, Inc., 189th District Court, Harris County, Cause No. 93-65894. Confidential settlement for the client in a wrongful death nursing home malpractice case.
Published Appellate Work
Thornhill v. Ronnie’s I-45 Truck Stop, Inc., 944 S.W. 2d 780 (Tex. App. Beaumont, May 01, 1997) (No. 09-94-236-C)
Ethyl Corp. v. Daniel Const. Co., 725 S.W. 2d 705 (Tex., Feb 25, 1987) (No. C-5621)
Smith v. Smith, 720 S.W.2d 586 (Tex. App. Hous. (1 Dist.), Sep 25, 1986) (No. 01-85-0989-CV)
Daniel Const. Co. v. Ethyl Corp., 714 S.W.2d 51 (Tex.App. Hous. (14 Dist.), Jun 05, 1986) (No. A-14-85-00802-CV)
Smith v. White, 695 S.W.2d 295 (Tex. App. Hous. (1 Dist.), Jul 11, 1985) (No. 01-85-0529-CV)
Hawthrone v. LaMan Constructors, Inc., 672 S.W.2d 255 (Tex. App. Beaumont, Mar 01, 1984) (No. 09-83-140-CV)