Susan L. Bickley
|Houston, TX||v. +1.713.228.6620||f. +1.713.228.6605|
Susan Bickley has 30 years of civil trial and appellate experience in employment litigation for private and public employers, litigation on behalf of local governments and public officials, the defense of claims against law firms and lawyers, and in litigation involving commercial and business disputes. She represents a diverse range of clients including publicly held corporations, smaller companies, and start-ups, as well as public entities and their officials.
Ms. Bickley was recognized by Best Lawyers® as the 2016 Litigation – Municipal "Lawyer of the Year" in Houston. She was also previously recognized as a 2014 "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers®. Further, in 2010 and 2011, Ms. Bickley received the President’s Award from the Houston Bar Association. She is an immediate past member of the State Bar Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct Committee, a past member of the State Bar Annual Meeting Committee, a former chair and current member of the Houston Bar Association Community in Schools Committee, and previous member of the Houston Bar Association Gender Fairness Committee.
She taught Trial Advocacy as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center from 2006–2010.
While in law school, Ms. Bickley was a research editor for the Houston Law Review, and selected for membership in the Order of the Coif. At the University of Texas at Austin, she was selected for membership in Phi Beta Kappa, and designated a College Scholar based on academic achievement.
Ms. Bickley additionally is a member of Blank Rome’s Partner Board, the Firm’s Trade Secret and Non-Compete Litigation Group, Chair of the Blank Rome Women’s Forum, a member of the Firm’s Strategic Plan Committee and Strategic Plan Implementation Committee, and leader of the Firm’s employment practice in the Houston office.
- Successfully defended numerous public and private employers in cases and charges filed under United States Constitution, Texas Constitution, Title VII, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, Texas Whistleblowers Act, Workers Compensation Act, Equal Pay Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, Texas Payday Act, among other statutory and common law theories asserted against employers.
- Representation of employers in cases involving misappropriation of trade secrets, violations of covenants not to compete, and breaches of duty of loyalty.
- Representation of numerous Texas governmental entities and public officials at trial and on appeal in a variety of civil rights, employment, contract, tort and other disputes.
- Obtained dismissal of case against out-of-state employer sued by a former employee seeking to void noncompetition and forum selection agreements and upheld dismissal on appeal.
- In case against our client alleging misappropriations of trade secrets, obtained emergency relief from opposing party’s accelerated e-discovery order and successfully resolved case for client in horizontal drilling industry.
- Successfully obtained temporary restraining order and temporary injunction on behalf of several partners to prevent sale of partnership assets, including historic real property, ultimately resolving the sensitive family and business issues during an accelerated mediation.
- Obtained summary judgment in complex federal race discrimination and retaliation case filed under 42 USC § 1981 and § 1983 for municipality and fire chief sued by first female captain in fire department, who alleged that she suffered more than a decade of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
- Obtained $1.69 million award for estate trustee after insurer paid policy proceeds to insured whom had been fraudulently substituted as policy beneficiary.
- Successfully represented minority shareholder in a software company against controlling shareholders, which resulted in $2.1 million dollar pre-trial settlement.
- Successfully represented a major law firm in suit by 35 plaintiffs alleging legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, and positional conflicts of interest based on the firm’s alleged appellate malpractice.
- Represented law firm defendant accused of Texas Securities Act violations, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud by 43 investors in interrelated companies claiming $54.91 million dollars in damages–resolved through settlement after motions for summary judgment were filed.
- Obtained summary judgment on behalf of law firm sued for $3.6 million by a bank based on an opinion letter that a guaranty of a non-conforming real estate loan was "duly authorized and binding," when the signature had been forged.
- Obtained dismissal of all legal malpractice claims against law firm based on successful challenge to the legal authority of plaintiffs’ attorney to file suit on behalf of plaintiffs who had suffered an adverse judgment in excess of policy limits and assigned their claims to the attorney.
- Successfully negotiated release without payment to resolve case filed by individual investors against attorneys who had provided legal services in connection with a master-limited partnership in which the attorneys were accused of improper receipt of equity position in the partnership.
- Negotiated a non-suit with prejudice of case against an attorney sued for failing to perfect a plaintiff’s interest in stock that had been pledged as collateral to secure a promissory note after the stock had been canceled on the books and records of the corporation.
- Obtained summary judgment on behalf of attorneys whom the plaintiffs claimed had improperly documented a real estate transaction.
- After the IRS decided that language in a will required the inclusion of trust assets in the gross estate for federal estate tax purposes, the estate beneficiaries sued the law firm and the attorneys who had drafted the will. Despite an IRS-assessed deficiency of over $1.5 million and a deficiency assessed by the State of Texas of $350,000 in inheritance taxes, a voluntary dismissal of the action was negotiated without payment.
- Obtained summary judgment on behalf of lawyer and firm in cases involving alleged violations of the Texas Securities Act.
- Obtained dismissal of all claims without payment in settlement where attorney had been sued by former clients for conspiracy to violate civil rights, creation of illegal credit files, conducting illegal searches of private property, invasion of privacy, RICO violations, participating in alleged mail fraud, libel and slander, extortion and blackmail, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
- Represented an employer in a suit filed by a disabled employee claiming damages in excess of $8 million dollars under the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act ("TCHRA"), American With Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), and Workers Compensation retaliation statute.
- Obtained summary judgments on behalf of employers in ADA cases filed by employees, who suffered from various disabling conditions, including bipolar disorder, cancer, severe insulin dependent diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, loss of use of legs, high blood pressure, problems following back, knee and brain surgeries, loss of sight, dizziness and other disabling conditions.
- Obtained summary judgment and award of litigation costs for employer in sexual harassment and discrimination case filed by the first female motorcycle officer in the Gulf Coast region.
- Summary judgment in various free-speech retaliation claims filed under federal civil rights statutes.
- Obtained summary judgment for employer in sex discrimination/Equal Pay Act case filed by management employee.
- Obtained summary judgment for employer in Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) case based on agreement under 29 USC § 785.23.
- Obtained summary judgment for employer in sexual harassment and retaliation case in which claimant alleged that she had received crude faxes, and was subjected to offensive and suggestive behavior by her supervisor and ultimately was constructively discharged in retaliation for reporting harassment.
- Successfully represented employer in same-sex sexual harassment case involving encounter between male employee and supervisor.
- Obtained agreed non-suit of slander, wrongful termination, and sex discrimination case against law firm employer by terminated attorney.
- Obtained summary judgment and costs for employer sued in race discrimination and harassment case filed by employee, who claimed male employees were promoted over her and that she was harassed by her supervisor based on her race.
- Representation of president of a software company who was terminated without payment under Deferred Compensation Agreement and Executive Compensation Contract, and as co-lead counsel obtained jury verdict in client’s favor, which was increased on appeal resulting in payment to client of $989,271.
- Obtained dismissal of employee’s Declaratory Judgment Act suit to declare unenforceable a covenant not-to-compete contained in a contract with a forum selection clause requiring litigation in another state.
- Represented a major health insurance carrier concerning Insurance Code provisions relating to the validity of exclusions from policy coverage of certain congenital defects. The opinion rendered resulted in the implementation of a consistent policy on behalf of the carrier for all Texas policyholders.
COMMUNITY SERVICE & AFFILIATIONS
Ms. Bickley is a member of the United Way of Greater Houston’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society and serves on the Steering Committee of the United Way’s Women’s Initiative. Additionally, she serves on the Board of Directors of the University of Houston Law Foundation, and is a past member of the Board of Directors, and Vice President of the University of Houston Law Alumni Association. She also volunteers her time in connection with the HBA/CIS Summer Legal Internship Program.