Robert L. Soza
Robert L. Soza has significant first-chair trial and appellate experience representing plaintiffs and defendants in environmental disputes, personal injury claims, property damage claims, and civil enforcement actions brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He has extensive experience in Texas and New Mexico trial and appellate courts.
Robert has the experience to manage the challenges of litigation by focusing on those issues that will be pivotal in trial or settlement negotiations. Although based in San Antonio, he has litigated cases in Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, California, and New York.
Robert has sophisticated experience assisting clients with Anti-Corruption, Anti-Money Laundering, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), U.S. export control, U.S. Customs, U.S. Trade Sanctions and CFIUS compliance. A licensed U.S. Customs Broker, Robert has conducted reviews and audits of transactions, counseled on enforcement issues, prepared voluntary disclosures, and represented clients in administrative, criminal, and civil enforcement proceedings initiated by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of State, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. He has represented companies in investigating allegations of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations, and has conducted extensive Anti-Corruption and Anti-Money Laundering policy development and training for clients with operations all over the world. In addition, he has published articles on a variety of topics concerning Mexico and its legal system, Anti-Corruption, U.S. Sanctions Programs and U.S. Export Controls.
B.A., University of Texas at Austin
J.D., University of Texas School of Law
New Mexico, 2002
United States Supreme Court
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
United States Court of International Trade
United States District Court for the Eastern, Northern, Southern, and Western Districts of Texas
United States District Court for the Central, Northern, and Southern Districts of California
United States District Court for the District of New Mexico
Robert has tried cases to juries, to administrative agencies, and arbitrators. He has also represented large global companies in areas of import and export regulations, instituted Anti-Corruption policies and provided training in Europe, Canada, and Mexico, and has advised companies with projects in the Middle East, Asia and throughout Latin America.
Representative Trial Matters
- Helena Agri-Enterprises, LLC vs. ADJ Acquisitions, LLC and 120 Hwy 173, Inc.; Cause No. 19-12-26198-CV; In the District Court, 454th Judicial District, Medina County, Texas. The team led by Mr. Soza obtained a temporary restraining order and summary judgment for Helena Agri-Enterprises against it neighbor ADJ/Mumme’s after ADJ purchased Mumme’s location and threatened to cut off Helena’s entrance to its business and to the rail line that connects Helena’s location to the main rail line. After the TRO and limited discovery, the court granted Helena’s motion for summary judgement on all issues in dispute.
- Phillip Bales, Derek Dieringer, Wilbert Dieringer, Michael Hoch, CMH Farms, Inc., MH Farm Services, Inc., Whit Braden, Donald Braden, et al. v. Dow Agrosciences, LLC, Helena Chemical Company, Lauderdale Aerial Spraying, LLC, Kenneth Lauderdale, et al.; Cause No. 1923 (In the 112th Judicial District Court, Reagan County, Texas) and Robert Cox, Tanner Cox, Cox Farms, James Cox Trust, David Stubblefield, Brooks Wallis, Russell Erwin, Jack Ainsworth et al. v. Helena Chemical Company, Lauderdale Aerial Spraying, LLC, Kenneth Lauderdale, et al.; Cause No. 16643 (In the 32nd Judicial District Court, Mitchell County, Texas). Currently representing Helena in two lawsuits alleging contamination to cotton fields in Reagan and Mitchell Counties stemming from an aerial application of a herbicide. We obtained a summary judgment in the Mitchell County case that Plaintiffs have been appealed. We have completed arguments before the Eleventh Court of Appeals and are awaiting a decision.
- Helena Chemical Company v. Arturo Uribe, Pamela Uribe, Linda Thomas, Individually and as Representative of Thomas & Wan, L.L.P., and Thomas & Wan, L.L.P.; Cause No. CV-2008-3038 (In the Third Judicial District Court, Doña Ana County, New Mexico). Represented Helena in an action against two individuals and their attorneys for defamation relating to their statements that Helena’s products were causing birth defects, respiratory problems, and other illnesses. We obtained favorable jury verdict against defendant Arturo Uribe, which verdict included the award of punitive damages.
- Arturo Uribe, et. al v. Helena Chemical Company, Cause No. D-101-CV-2008-02864; (In the First Judicial District, Santa Fe County, State of New Mexico). Represented Helena in claims brought by 50 plaintiffs alleging personal injuries related to alleged fertilizer and chemical emissions. The case was favorably resolved.
- Hicks v. International Paper Company (E.D. Tex. 2000-2002 [Marshall]). Defended land owners from multiple claims arising from alleged damage to soil and water from an overflow of a saltwater disposal tank related to oil and gas operations. Plaintiffs’ claims included: private party cost recovery under CERCLA, Citizen Suit Action pursuant to RCRA, the Clean Water Act, and cost recovery pursuant to the Texas Solid Waste Disposal Act; common law negligence, gross negligence, nuisance and trespass; and removal cost and damages under the Federal Oil and Pollution Act. The case was settled successfully during the first week of trial.
- Alicia Acevedo, et al. v. Union Pacific Railroad Company, et al.; C-4885-99-F (In the 332nd Judicial District Court, Hidalgo County, Texas). Defended Helena from claims brought by 2,000 plaintiffs alleging personal injuries stemming from exposure to pesticides and pesticide wastes. Mr. Soza obtained a favorable settlement after identifying and deposing key witnesses and using historical aerial photographs linking another company to the release of the pesticide wastes.
- Geraghty & Miller, Inc. v. Conoco Inc.; 27 F. Supp. 2d 918 (S.D. Tex. 1998). Obtained a summary judgment after opening arguments at the beginning of trial in a case involving environmental damage to groundwater located under the City of Lake Charles, Louisiana. The case involved CERCLA and state law environmental claims.
- Clear Lake Properties v. Pace, Inc., et. al.; 959 F. Supp. 763 (S.D. Tex. 1997). Obtained a partial summary judgment in Plaintiff’s CERCLA claims which led to a settlement.
- Abel Siller and Enriquetta Siller, et al. v. LPP Mortgage, Ltd.; Cause No. 02-04-00020-CVL (In the 218th Judicial District Court, La Salle, County, Texas). Defended LPP Mortgage Ltd. in litigation related to a 520-acre tract of property located in Cotulla, Texas. The plaintiffs sued LPP Mortgage for wrongful foreclosure. The matter became significant because the property is located in the Eagle Ford Shale development area of South Texas and had dramatically increased in value. On February of 2011, the jury found for LPP Mortgage with respect to claims made by two brothers and their wives, and against LPP with respect to the third brother and his wife. Despite the jury’s negative finding as to one brother, LPP believed the jury had ignored conclusive evidence presented at trial. The court agreed, and on June 14, 2011, granted LPP Mortgage’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and entered a final judgment that overturned the jury’s verdict as to the one brother and his wife. This judgment was upheld on appeal.
- Charles Trois v. Ozark Motor and Supply, Mike Rosseau, and Encore, Inc.; Cause No. 2002-CI-06930 (In the District Court; 37th Judicial District; Bexar County, Texas). Defended Ozark Motor and Supply in a case alleging sale of defective product. The jury award for plaintiffs was less than half of what plaintiffs demanded prior to trial.
- Estate of Juan Roberto Brittingham-McLean v. Maria Cristina Brittingham-Sada de Ayala, et al.; Cause No. 2000PB7000049-L1 (In the County Court at Law No. 1, Webb County, Texas). Defended Mexican nationals in a probate dispute involving an estate worth over one hundred million dollars. The jury awarded one-third less than what plaintiffs initially demanded.
- United States of America, et. al. v. Atlantic Richfield Co., et. al.: Civil Action No. H 98 0408; ; In The United States District Court For The Southern District of Texas; Houston Division; Lead attorney on defending The Dow Chemical Company in a CERCLA cost recovery action brought by the U.S. Government and the State of Texas, seeking cost recovery exceeding $150 million. The case settled to the client’s satisfaction prior to trial.
- Luevano v. Dow Corning Corporation, et. al.; 895 F. Supp. 135 (W.D. Tex. 1994). Represented Dow Corning against personal injury claimants alleging harm as a result of breast implants.
Representative Appellate Matters
- Court of Appeals of New Mexico — Helena Chem. Co. v. Uribe, 2013- NMCA 017, 293 P.3d 888, 2012 N.M. App. LEXIS 103 (N.M. Ct. App., Sept. 20, 2012)(argued). The New Mexico Court of Appeals reviewed Helena’s judgment on its defamation and prima facie tort claims as well as the jury’s award of punitive damages. The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s judgment on the defamation claim and the punitive damages related to that judgment and reversed the trial court’s judgment on Plaintiff’s prima facie tort claims.
- Court of Appeals of New Mexico — Helena Chem. Co. v. Uribe, 2011 NMCA 60, 149 N.M. 789, 255 P.3d 367, 2011 N.M. App. LEXIS 24 (N.M. Ct. App., 2011)(argued). The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s granting of a motion for summary judgment against Helena’s claims for defamation against attorneys for Defendants based on allegations of false statements made by counsel in recruiting clients for a toxic tort case.
- Supreme Court of New Mexico — Helena Chem. Co. v. Uribe, 2012-NMSC-021, 2012 NMSC 21, 2012 N.M. LEXIS 246 (N.M., 2012)(argued). The Supreme Court, in an issue of first impression, reversed the Court of Appeals and dismissed the defamation claims against the Defendants’ attorneys under the doctrine of absolute privilege.
- Supreme Court of New Mexico — New Energy Econ., Inc. v. Vanzi, 2012-NMSC-005, ¶ 25, 274 P.3d 53, 2012 N.M. LEXIS 118 (N.M. 2012)(argued). In this complex New Mexico Administrative Procedure Act appeal, Helena successfully precluded an attempt by community activist to intervene in Helena’s air permit appeal before the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board.
- Thirteenth Court of Appeals District of Texas, Corpus Christi – – In re Helena Chemical Company, 286 S.W.3d 492 (Tex. App.- Corpus Christi 2009, orig. proceeding). Obtained mandamus relief where trial court denied a motion to strike intervention filed by additional defendants alleging personal injuries stemming from exposure to pesticides and pesticide wastes.
- Eighth Court of Appeals District of Texas, El Paso – – Jud Walton v. Arcadis Geraghty & Miller, Inc., et. al., 24 S.W. 3d. 853 (Tex. Civ. App.—El Paso 2000, no pet)(argued). Successfully defended the trial court’s granting of Motion for Summary Judgment in a property contamination case.
- Fourth Court of Appeals District of Texas, San Antonio – – In re Maria Cristina Brittingham-Sada, 604 S.W.3d 507 (Tex. App. – San Antonio 2009, orig. proceeding)(argued). Obtained mandamus relief overruling the trial court’s denial of a Motion for Legislative Continuance.
- Fourth Court of Appeals District of Texas, San Antonio – – Potter v. Kaufman & Broad Home Systems of Texas, Inc., 2004 WL 892109 (Tex.App. – San Antonio, May 12, 2004). Successfully defended the trial court’s granting of Motion for Summary Judgment.
- 5th Circuit Court of Appeals – – Bremer-Gutierrez v. 3Com Corp.; 89 Fed. Appx. 459, 2004 WL 439871 (5th Cir., March 10, 2004)(argued). Mr. Soza was lead trial counsel on an international dispute in the Laredo Division of the Southern District of Texas where he obtained summary judgment through the application of Mexican law. He later successfully defended this judgment on appeal to the Fifth Circuit of Appeals after oral argument in New Orleans, Louisiana.
- Fourteenth Court of Appeals District of Texas, Houston – – M. Diamond Corp. v. Dunbar Armored, Inc.; 124 S.W.3d 655 (Tex.App. – Hous. (14th Dist.), September 23, 2003). Defended the trial court’s granting of Motion for Summary Judgment.
Representative Administrative Matters
- WQCC 06-10 (CO); New Mexico Environment Department Ground Water Quality Bureau v. Helena Chemical Company; Represented Helena in a matter before the New Mexico Environmental Department, Water Quality Control Commission, concerning an alleged spill of fertilizer.
- AQCA-05-26(P); No. AQCA 08-27 (CO); and Case No. HEL-13096-0701; New Mexico Environment Department v. Helena Chemical Company; Defended Helena from enforcement actions pusued by the New Mexico Environmental Department stemming from Helena’s operations in Mesquite, New Mexico.
- No. 10-02(A); In the Matter of the Petition for Hearing on the Denial of Issuance of Notice of Intent for Helena Chemical Company’s Dry Bulk Fertilizer Storage Facility; Represented Helena before the New Mexico Environmental Department and New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board to cancel its Air Quality Permit. Upon appeal of the EIB’s adverse ruling, the parties settled the case by cancelling Helena’s Air Quality Permit.
Representative International-Related Matters
- Represented a Panamanian company in an International Chamber of Commerce Arbitration in Mexico City, Mexico. The dispute involved a complicated commodity transaction involving Brazil, Panama, and the United States.
- Represented numerous U.S. companies investigating their Mexican subsidies and Mexican business partners for issues relating to allegations of embezzlement, fraud, violations of environmental laws, and violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). These representations included coordinating litigation in Mexico and the United States, institution of criminal actions in Mexico and the United States, and domesticating U.S. judgments in Mexico.
- Advised U.S. companies, with the aid of Mexican counsel, on compliance with Mexican land use laws, environmental laws, tax laws, labor laws, including managing the termination of both executive level and blue collar employees, commercial and criminal litigation, including obtaining arrest warrants from Mexican criminal courts.
- From 2002 to 2003, Robert led a team that liquidated a Mexican subsidiary of a U.S. chemical company. This project included:
- Terminating hundreds of employees;
- Supervising environmental remediation at two production chemical plants and obtaining certificates of completion for the remediation;
- Selling all assets, including both chemical plants;
- Supervising the collection of accounts receivable and selling trademarks and trade names of products; and
- Winding down the tax presence of the subsidiary.
Representative Training Conducted
An expert in corporate compliance and Anti-Corruption issues, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.K. Bribery Act, and the Canadian Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, has conducted extensive policy development and training for chemical, oil and gas, engineering, retail, financial services and computer companies with operations all over the world. Listed below are training sessions Mr. Soza has conducted for clients and organizations.
- 01/22/2015, Houston, Texas – PKF Accountants: “2014 – A Year in Review.”
- 08/17/2015, Houston, Texas—Senior Accountants and Auditors: “The Perils of Exporting U.S. Goods and Services.”
- 10/12/2015, San Antonio, Texas – CPA Society: “Export, Import, and CFIUS.”
- 10/12/2105, San Antonio, Texas – CPA Society: “OFAC, FCPA and Mexican Energy Reform.”
- 04/07/17, San Antonio, Texas – San Antonio Bar Association, International Section, “International Trade and Anti-Corruption Under Trump.”
- 07/10/2015, San Antonio, Texas—San Antonio Bar Association, International Section, “The Perils of Exporting U.S. Goods and Services.”
Oil and Gas Equipment Manufacturers and Service Providers
- 07/18/2011, Paris, France – International Division, FCPA Employee Training.
- 07/29/2011, Denver, Colorado – FCPA Employee Training.
- 08/04/2011, San Angelo, Texas – FCPA Employee Training.
- 09/28/2011, Edmonton, Canada – FCPA Employee Training.
- 09/29/2011, Alberta, Canada – FCPA Employee Training.
- 12/18/2014, Houston, Texas – FCPA and Export Control Presentation to Management.
- 01/14/2015, Houston, Texas – FCPA Training for Management.
- 04/30/2015, Houston, Texas – Anti-Corruption, Anti-Money Laundering and OFAC Compliance.
- 12/28/2015, Houston, Texas – FCPA Training for Management.
- 02/15/2016, Houston, Texas – Anti-Corruption Training for Management.
- 09/21/2016, Houston, Texas – Anti-Corruption Training for Management.
- 09/15/2011, Houston, Texas – FCPA Executive Training.
- 09/22/2012, Houston, Texas – FCPA Employee Training.
- 09/25/2012, Houston, Texas – FCPA Employee Training.
Financial Services Company
- 02/29/2012, Mexico City, Mexico – FCPA Training of Management Employees (in Spanish).
- 03/01/2012, Mexico City, Mexico – FCPA Training of All Employees (in Spanish).
National Agricultural Credit Conference
- 11/10/2011, San Antonio, Texas – Presentation: Collection Litigation in Mexico.
Retail Service Industry
- 04/18/2012, Houston, Texas – Training on Import, Export and FCPA Requirements.
- 04/30/2012, Houston, Texas – Training on Import, Export and FCPA Requirements.
Dell, Inc. Partner Summit
- 06/04/2012, Austin, Texas – FCPA Presentation at Dell Mexico Partner Summit (in Spanish).
Mexican General Counsel Association Meeting
- 09/26/2012, Mexico City, Mexico – Club de Industriales Presentation: How to Develop FCPA Compliance Programs.
International Business and Law Roundtable
- 10/02/2012, Austin, Texas – FCPA Training and Education, Roundtable Discussion Leader.
National Association of Credit Management Central Region Credit Conference
- 10/10/2012, Rolling Meadow, Illinois Presentations: Doing business in Mexico.
American Conference Institute – 7th Annual Houston FCPA Boot Camp
- 01/23/2013, Houston, Texas – Speaker: Keeping Employees Engaged In and Adhering To Your Anti-Corruption Compliance Program.
- The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White Inc.)
- Commercial Litigation, 2021
- Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, 2020
- Ranked for Litigation: General Commercial – San Antonio & Surrounds
- President’s Award, San Antonio Bar Association, 2019
- Fellow, San Antonio Bar Foundation, 2019
- “Best S.A. Lawyers” List, San Antonio Scene, 2017-2020
- Business Litigation
- Environmental Litigation
- Texas Super Lawyer, 2013
- International Law
- “Leading Law Firm Rainmaker,” Minority Corporate Counsel Association, 2010
Representative Speaking Engagements
- “Recent Changes to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S.’ Jurisdiction and Its Impact on Direct Foreign Investment in the U.S.,” San Antonio Bar Association International Section, May 7, 2020.
- “Defending Claims of Off-Target Drift Pesticides,” Texas Association of Defense Counsel Annual Meeting, September 20, 2019.
- “CFIUS’ Expanded Jurisdiction and its Impact on Foreign Investment in the United States,” Globalaw, America’s Meeting, Los Angeles, California, June 26, 2019.
- “Recent Changes to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States’ Jurisdiction and their Impact on Direct Investment in the United States,” Dallas Bar Association, International Section, January 15, 2019.
- “The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: When Your Client Has Offices Abroad,” The Texas Association of Defense Counsel, Inc., Santa Fe, New Mexico, April 25-29, 2012.
- “Export Control Compliance, and Counseling,” International Law Section of the Dallas Bar Association, February 19, 2008.
- “U.S. Customs Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights,” Cross-Border Business Transactions: Intellectual Property and Related Issues, American Bar Association, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, October 18-19, 2007.
- “Mexico’s Newest Environmental Law: New Requirements and Liabilities,” Air and Waste Management Conference on Mexican and U.S. Environmental Law, October 12-13, 2005.
- “What’s the Worst That Could Happen: Litigation Look at Partnership Boilerplate,” 2005 Partnerships, Limited Partnerships and LLCs, University of Texas School of Law Continuing Legal Education, Austin, Texas, July 21-22, 2005.
- “Class Action Litigation and Environmental Law,” The Environmental Law Update for Corporate Counsel, NorthStar Conferences, L.L.C., January 23-24, 2003.
- “Collecting Your Money From Mexican Entities,” Lorman Education Services, Phoenix, AZ, February 15, 2002.
- “Life After NAFTA,” The 24th Annual Conference, Hispanic National Bar Association, Dallas, Texas, October 21-23, 1999.
- “Distributing Goods in the U.S. Market,” The Fifth Annual Conference, The Texas-Mexico Bar Association, Mexico City, Mexico, October 22-24, 1998.
- “1997 Update on Federal and State Superfund Law,” The Ninth Annual Texas Environmental Superconference, July 31, 1997. (Speaker and author.)
- “Implementation of International Health Standards For A Multinational Company,” Sematech International Occupational Health Symposium, San Antonio, Texas, May 1996.
- “An Introduction to Mexican Environmental Law,” Texas Environmental Workshop, Corpus Christi, Texas, April 18, 1996.
- “El Tratado de Libre Commercio y Su Impacto Juridico,” National Federation of Attorney Bars and Associations, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, June 25, 1993.
- CFIUS Series (February 2020)
- “New Rules Expand CFIUS Jurisdiction Over Foreign Investment in U.S. Businesses and Real Estate“
- “CFIUS Begins Review Process for Real Estate Transactions by a Foreign Investor“
- “Exceptions to Coverage for “Excluded” Foreign Investors and States and Investment Funds From the Expanded CFIUS Jurisdiction“
- “Establish an Effective Export-Compliance Program,” Texas Lawyer, In-House Texas (March 2011)
- “Mexico’s Federal Waste Regulations An Overview,” EM Magazine, a publication of the Air and Waste Management Association (January 2007)
- “Mexico’s Newest Environmental Law Raises Uncertainty for Property Owners,” EM Magazine, a publication of the Air and Waste Management Association (September 2005)
- “Conflict in Laws Presents Snag for Firms Hiring Foreign Nationals,” San Antonio Business Journal (May 2003)
- “Hiring of Foreign Nationals; The Conflict Between U.S. Anti-Discrimination Laws and Export Control Laws,” J&G Global Village, Volume 3, Issue 1 (2002)
- “Collection Litigation in Mexico and Mexico’s New Bankruptcy Law,” Latin American Law and Business Report, Volume 10, Number 7, July 31, 2002; Mexican Forecast, Volume XI, Number 5, May 2002; North American Free Trade & Investment Report, Volume 12, Number 11 (June 15, 2002)
- “Environmental Aspects of the North American Free Trade Agreement and Free Trade with Mexico,” Mexican American Association of Los Angeles County Newsletter (February 1993)
- “The North American Free Trade Agreement: Environmental Issues Raised by Free Trade With Mexico,” California Environmental Reporter, Volume 2, Number 12 (February 1993)
- “Defusing a Silent Time Bomb: Proposed Regulations for Contaminated Sediment,” Shepard’s California Environmental Law and Regulation Reporter (August 1992)
- “Conflict of Interest,” Beverly Hills Bar Association Law Journal (Winter 1990)
- President of the Board of Directors of the San Antonio Legal Services Association, dedicated to providing pro-bono legal services to the Bexar County Community and surrounding areas.
- President of the Board of Directors, ABODE Contemplative Care for the Dying, dedicated to providing a caring, loving home for those facing the last months of their lives alone.