George H. Lugrin IV

The defining characteristic of George Lugrin’s practice is concrete, technical expertise combined with an intense creative ability to sift complex engineering data, and abstractly formulate winning legal theories for high-end damage recoveries. That unusual skillset is grounded in a mechanical engineering degree, a coveted registration as a patent attorney and hands-on experience as a practicing engineer at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. His technical savvy has resulted in the recovery of hundreds of millions of dollars.

His clients describe him as charmingly persuasive, calculated, easy to work with, and an “exceptional commercial litigator.” A successful and prolific trial lawyer with a number of high-value “wins” under his belt, George can effectively cross-examine the most difficult and experienced expert witnesses because he speaks “engineering,” and at the same time effortlessly connect with juries because of his engaging personality. He routinely tries complex commercial and insurance cases for both plaintiffs and defendants, including coverage, subrogation, architectural and engineering professional malpractice cases, take or pay contract disputes, and upstream and pipeline transportation issues that earn him Super Lawyer awards and Verdict Hall of Fame accolades.

George is recognized for his depth of knowledge and superb handling of oil and gas well blowouts, as well as product liability defects involving cutting-edge technologies in multi-billion dollar onshore and offshore construction projects. He sometimes litigates or arbitrates cases in Alaska, the United Kingdom, West Africa, South America or China, but is most often found trying cases in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

More than an exceptional trial lawyer, George is also remarkable at resolving sensitive matters outside of public courts whether by private, face-to-face meetings between principals, using confidential arbitration agreements, or accessing available jurisdictions where details of proceedings are not public. Clients appreciate his flexibility and uncommon, creative problem-solving, along with his ability to resolve disputes in alignment with their business needs. His approach is holistic—he is keenly aware of the larger commercial and industry relationships that must be maintained in any dispute. George brings a fresh spirit and sense of humor to his client relationships, but also recognizes that tenacious dedication, determination and grit help him achieve successful outcomes for his clients.

Experience
  • Lead counsel in numerous oil and gas well blowout recovery actions representing the interests of insurers and companies involving damages ranging from $1.5 million to more than $130 million.
  • Lead defense counsel in trial of $80 million oil and gas well blowout; settled post-trial and appeal.
  • Lead trial counsel of $100 million recovery action arising out of an offshore construction crane failure; settled during second trial.
  • Defended crane designer and manufacturer as lead counsel against claims of defective design resulting in rig and platform damage.
  • Represented insurers in $100 million coverage dispute involving damage to semi-submersible rigs.
  • Represented Indian chemical manufacturer in $10 million products liability case involving off-spec industrial chemicals. Case study
  • Represented excess insurers as lead counsel in connection with a $40 million personal injury verdict.
  • Represented multiple high profile Texas plaintiff firms (as lead and second chair) against malpractice claims in connection with mass tort litigation and other matters.
Education
  • South Texas College of Law, J.D., 1993, cum laude
  • University of Texas at Austin, BSME, 1988

Admissions
  • Texas
  • New York
  • Wyoming
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  • U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Northern and Western Districts of Texas

Awards/Rankings
  • Texas Verdicts Hall of Fame 2010 (Control Solutions, Inc. v. Gharda USA, Inc.)
  • Texas Super Lawyer, 2011–2020, Thomson Reuters
  • Super Lawyers – 5 Years Excellence in Practice

Memberships
  • American Bar Association
  • State Bar of Texas
  • Houston Bar Association
  • Professional Liability Underwriters Society

In The News

Hart Energy published "Energy transition and why an electric car is not the solution"

"It is time for the U.S. to take the lead in transitioning to a hydrogen economy. U.S. oil and gas companies need to reinvent themselves as true energy companies and use their world-leading innovative talent to face the inevitable changing energy world."

Read the full article.

Law360 Recaps the Biggest Texas Cases of 2020

"The [Texas] Supreme Court has done this on several occasions where they render, as a matter of law, on what most lawyers would consider a fact issue," Lugrin said. "And that kind of dovetails with the whole state's move toward a business-friendly approach. … Certainty in business is what you want. And frankly, as a business, being subject to the whims of a jury is not a good position to be in."

Read the full article (subscription required.)

Hart Energy Shares How Likely is Joe Biden to Enact Green, Real Change?

Experts foresee a slew of obstacles but also opportunity for the oil and gas industry to join the movement toward increased innovation.

Read the full article.

Best Lawyers Fall Business Edition 2020 Features George H. Lugrin's article, Powering Up

Regulation, consumption trends, global population growth, and the pandemic's many earth-shaking effects make this moment highly uncertain for the upstream-energy industry—and the only way forward is to change with the times.

Read the full article.

Law360 Features 3 Key Insurance Rulings You May Have Missed This Summer

The firm prevailed for several underwriters at Lloyds of London after a Texas trial court held that his client had substantially overpaid in a complex case involving a $24M well fire.

"Underwriters have been vindicated on how these rather complicated blowout/operator extra expense policies are intended to work," George H. Lugrin said. "We expect the remand decision on allocation will result in millions more owed to underwriters."

View the full article “3 Key Insurance Rulings You May Have Missed This Summer” on Law360 (subscription required.)

Texas Lawyer Shares What the Economic Impact of COVID-19 Means for Smaller Boutique Firms

Agility is your greatest asset. George H. Lugrin said, "The way we have analyzed it, as a small firm we have the flexibility to quickly adapt to changing client needs and market conditions." 

He also shares three things firms should be doing and what questions to ask themselves.

View the full article "Why the Cloudy Economic Outlook May Have a Silver Lining for Boutiques" on Texas Lawyer

Law360 Covers Negligence Lawsuit Involving Oilfield Company

George H. Lugrin, Director and President at Hall Maines Lugrin in Houston, was interviewed by Law360 about the negligence lawsuit he recently filed on behalf of Houston-based Arcadia Gas Storage LLC and its parent company, Cardinal Gas Storage Partners LLC.

Mr. Lugrin told Law360 that the lack of thorough engineering is an upsetting. "When I see it on what I think is an ultrahazardous operation, it really gets to me because it puts people's lives at risk," he said. 

View the full article “Gas Storage Cos. Want $4M for Pipe Collapse” on Law360 (subscription required.)

Dallas Business Journal and Houston Business Journal Share What Business Owners Need to Know Following Riots and Looting

Many businesses in downtown and Uptown Dallas were damaged when protests turned into riots, looting and vandalism Friday and Saturday nights.

George Lugrin of Houston-based Hall Maines Lugrin law firm said what’s covered in times of riots is determined by the wording in the insurance policy.

“There’s a huge fight underway in the insurance world over whether business interruption and civil authority applies to the COVID outbreak,” Lugrin said. “Ironically, some of those businesses that have been impacted by a riot may now get into that business interruption cover. Now, you’re no longer in the ‘Does the virus cause physical damage or does it not’ world. It’s a weird twist to this big fight that’s underway.”

View the full article "Looting raises new legal issues for business owners” on Dallas Business Journal (subscription required.)

Outside the Office

What I do when not practicing law
Hang with Lorri Lugrin, my wife of 31 years.

Last read
Great Books series on Quantum Mechanics/Applied Physics (or was it on philosophy?).

I am a fanatic about
The science of complexity theory, which has more application to the practice of law than Nash’s game theory.

Favorite food
Jelly beans, lots of them.

Quote I live by
“The landscape dances, assuming it is static is usually fatal.” We're told this has something to do with his interest in the science of complexity theory.