Biography

Robert L. Soza has successful 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, and is currently litigating, matters in Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, California, New York, and in South Texas courts including Nueces, Webb, Hidalgo, Cameron, La Salle, Maverick, and El Paso Counties.

Robert also supports clients in business disputes and personal injury claims, and advises on compliance with U.S. Customs laws, U.S. Export Controls and compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Practice Experience

Robert has tried cases to juries, to administrative agencies, and arbitrators.  He has also 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.

Career Highlights

Texas

Representative Trial Matters

  • Cause No. 1923; 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.; In the 112th Judicial District Court, Reagan County, Texas
  • Cause No. 16643; 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.; In the 32nd Judicial District Court, Mitchell County, Texas.  Currently representing Helena Chemical Company in two lawsuits alleging contamination to cotton fields in Reagan and Mitchell Counties.
  • Cause No. CV-2008-3038; 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. (In the Third Judicial District Court, Doña Ana County, New Mexico). Represented an agricultural fertilizer distributor in an action against two individuals and their attorneys for defamation relating to whether the company’s products were causing birth defects, respiratory problems, and other illnesses. Obtained favorable jury verdict against defendant Arturo Uribe, whose appeal is currently pending before the New Mexico Court of Appeals in COA No. 31,080 consolidated with COA No. 30,792.
  • Cause No. D-101-CV-2008-02864; Arturo Uribe, et. al v. Helena Chemical Company, (In the First Judicial District, Santa Fe County, State of New Mexico). Represented an agricultural fertilizer distributor in claims brought by 50 plaintiffs alleging personal injuries related to alleged fertilizer and chemical emissions.
  • Hicks v. International Paper Company (E.D. Tex. 2000-2002 [Marshall]). Mr. Soza 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 a chemical company 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). Soza obtained a summary judgment after opening arguments 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). Soza 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). Robert Soza 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 has dramatically increased in value since the suit was filed in 2001. 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.
  • 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). Mr. Soza 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). Mr. Soza 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.
  • Helena Chemical Company vs. Robert Saint Louis d/b/a Saint Louis Farm; Cause No. CV-2003-675 (In the 5th Judicial District Court, Chaves County, New Mexico). Represented the plaintiff on a breach of contract claim that was favorably resolved prior to trial.
  • Luevano v. Dow Corning Corporation, et. al.; 895 F. Supp. 135 (W.D. Tex. 1994). Soza represented Dow Corning against personal injury claimants alleging harm as a result of breast implants.

Representative Appellate Matters

  • 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). 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). Obtained mandamus relief where trial court denied Motion for Legislative Continuance and granted Motion to Compel the deposition of State Senator Carlos Uresti.
  • 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.
  • S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals – – Bremer-Gutierrez v. 3Com Corp.; 89 Fed. Appx. 459, 2004 WL 439871 (5th Cir. (Tex.), March 10, 2004). 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 defendant in a matter before the New Mexico Environmental Department, Water Quality Control Commission, concerning an alleged spill.
  • AQCA-05-26(P); No. AQCA 08-27 (CO); and Case No. HEL-13096-0701; New Mexico Environment Department v. Helena Chemical Company; Mr. Soza is lead attorney on enforcement actions on behalf of the New Mexico Environmental Department against Helena Chemical Company 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 agricultural fertilizer distributor before the New Mexico Environmental Department and New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board to convert its Air Quality Permit into a Notice of Intent.  The case is now pending before the New Mexico Court of Appeals.

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