Jeffrey T. Bentch

Jeff brings a unique blend of creativity and experience to his clients’ cases. As a federal law clerk, Jeff learned firsthand from “behind the bench” which arguments were persuasive to judges and juries. As a trial lawyer, he brings that insight to every case. Jeff zealously represents both plaintiffs and defendants in a broad array of commercial matters, including oil and gas, insurance, partnership, professional responsibility, fiduciary duty and contract disputes.

Jeff represents clients before juries, judges and arbitrators, in both state and federal courts. In addition to his trial work, Jeff works on appellate teams writing briefs in the Texas Courts of Appeals, the Texas Supreme Court and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and has argued before the Fourteenth District Court of Appeals in Houston, Texas. In every case, he is driven to find creative solutions to complicated matters and knows that getting the best result for the client means thoughtfully navigating litigation from the very beginning to maximize chances of success at every stage.

Born and raised in Texas, Jeff also lived in Boston, Scotland and Latvia before returning to Texas to pursue his legal career. After graduating from the University of Houston Law Center, he clerked for Chief Judge Thad Heartfield of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Jeff practiced complex commercial litigation for five years at a litigation boutique in Houston prior to joining Hall Maines Lugrin.

Experience
  • On trial team in a jury trial representing the defendant manufacturer of seasonal items against the plaintiff retailer purchaser of those items. In addition to both parties’ breach of contract claims, the case also involved causes of action for declaratory judgment, defamation and tortious interference with prospective contracts. Following a three-day jury trial, the jury returned a verdict awarding our client contract damages and attorneys’ fees in addition to denying all of plaintiff retailer’s causes of actions.
  • On trial team in a jury trial representing the defendant oil and gas exploration company against the plaintiff oil and gas engineering consulting firm. Plaintiff alleged that defendant agreed to enter into a partnership to manage oil and gas projects with the plaintiff after the plaintiff introduced defendant to a financing source. In addition to breach of contract, the plaintiff also advanced causes of action of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and quantum meruit seeking several million dollars in damages. After a six-day jury trial, the jury returned a defense verdict resulting in the entry of a take-nothing judgment in favor of our client.
  • On trial team in a commercial arbitration representing the primary limited partner in a dispute over the allocation of partnership assets following that partnership’s dissolution. Following three days of evidentiary hearings, the arbitrator rendered a decision granting our client all relief requested.
  • Developed and successfully briefed a threshold legal issue that prompted a favorable settlement of a multi-million dollar blowout case on behalf of an oilfield engineering services company.
  • Lead associate representing an individual limited partner in a minority-shareholder oppression suit against a real estate partnership with millions of dollars in holdings, obtaining a favorable settlement.
  • Part of litigation team representing an oil and gas well operator in a multi-million dollar subrogation blowout case. Successfully briefed and responded to summary judgment motions in Louisiana state court leading to a favorable settlement.
  • Lead associate representing the manufacturer of a heavy-duty tire changing tool in a wrongful death case in federal court arising out of the explosion of a tire. Developed factual proof exonerating the client resulting in its dismissal from the case.
  • Lead associate representing a partner of a national law firm in a professional negligence matter. Developed discovery and briefed summary judgment motions leading to a favorable settlement.
  • Represented pro bono a victim of domestic abuse in a divorce case and obtained post-divorce spousal support obligations rarely granted by Texas courts.
Education
  • Law clerk to the Honorable Thad Heartfield of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, 2007
  • University of Houston Law Center, J.D., 2006, magna cum laude (Order of the Coif, Order of the Barons, W. St. John Garwood Scholarship, Houston Law Review (Notes and Comments Editor))
  • Intern for the Honorable David Hittner of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, 2004
  • Tufts University, B.A., 1999
Admissions
  • Texas
  • U.S. District Courts of Texas (all districts)
  • U.S. Tax Court
Awards/Rankings
  • Rising Star in Texas (2017) by Thompson Reuters Super Lawyers
Community Involvement
  • Anti-Defamation League, Committee member, 2012-present
  • KPFT, Member, 2009-present
  • Planned Parenthood, Host Committee, 2015
Memberships
  • Texas Bar Foundation
  • Houston Bar Association (Legal Lines, AIDS Outreach Committee, Historical Committee)
  • American Bar Association
  • Texas Association of Defense Counsel
Speaking Engagements
  • Daubert Challenges, 21st Annual Evidence and Discovery Course, 2008, (co-authored and co-presented)
Publications
  • An Overview of Issues and Cases Involving Breach of Fiduciary Duty in Texas Business Litigation, Business Torts Institute, State Bar of Texas, 2009 and 2010 (co-authored)
  • Daubert Challenges, 21st Annual Evidence and Discovery Course, 2008, (co-authored and co-presented)
Outside the Office

What I do when not practicing law
Spend time with my spouse and two children.

Favorite sports team
Houston Astros.

Favorite food
Enchiladas.

Most satisfying professional accomplishment
Winning my first jury trial.