Winn Carter is a trial lawyer with more than 30 years of experience handling challenging, high-stakes corporate lawsuits. He has tried more than 100 cases to verdict, and litigated thousands of business disputes. As lead trial counsel he represents clients in a range of industries—energy, aviation, life science, telecommunications, and technology—in commercial disputes, patent litigation, environmental lawsuits, trade secret disputes, shareholder issues, air carrier disasters, and product liability matters.
Winn’s significant experience includes trying cases in US federal and state courts and before arbitration panels, primarily in Texas and Louisiana. Known as a “super strategist” in the courtroom, his trial wins have secured high-profile verdicts and settlements for clients.
Most recently Winn tried and won three cases in the span of three months. Among those cases was a complete defense verdict in an environmental case involving $1.6 billion in civil penalties, potentially the largest civil penalty case in Texas history. With the co-defendants settling hours before the case went to verdict, Winn and his team secured a zero-dollar liability verdict for the client. Following the verdict, American Lawyer named Winn Litigator of the Week.
Other individual honors include recognition from Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America,Super Lawyers, among others. In 2015, Benchmark Litigation named Winn Regional Litigator of the Year for the South.
Winn is board certified in civil trial law and personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is the former chair of the ABA’s aviation committee and former vice chair of its intellectual property committee.
Commercial and Energy Litigation
Representing an upstream gas exploration company in a suit pending in state court in Houston, Texas, and arising from an alleged breach of a gas supply agreement and the breach of a gas sales (NAESB) agreement by a midstream company.
Representing an upstream gas exploration company in a suit pending in federal court in Dallas, Texas, and arising from the alleged tortious interference by a third party gas exploration company in connection with the sale of our client’s South Texas oil and gas assets.
Representing a northeastern utility company against an upstream exploration company in a suit pending in federal court in Denver, Colorado, and arising from an alleged breach of a NAESB agreement and the agreement’s pricing terms.
Representing a downstream energy company in an alleged class action filed in federal court in Houston, Texas, and brought by purchasers of allegedly contaminated aviation fuel.
Represented, as lead trial counsel, a leading paper manufacturer in a high-profile environmental dispute with local government. The plaintiff sought $1.6 billion for alleged violations of various Texas environmental statutes, claiming penalties for alleged contamination of the San Jacinto River. Following an eight week jury trial in state court in Houston, we obtained a zero liability verdict, with some media reports calling it “one of the greatest defense victories in Texas history.”
Represented, as trial counsel, a leading automotive company in a theft of trade secret and fraud case. After a one week jury trial in federal court in Dallas, we obtained a complete defense verdict on behalf of our client.
Represented, as trial counsel, a title insurance company in a claim under its fidelity bond for losses resulting from an alleged Florida Ponzi scheme orchestrated by a title agent. The two week jury trial in federal court in Houston, resulted in a $40 million victory for the client, including findings of bad faith and an award of $15 million in punitive damages in favor of our client.
Represented a foreign automobile manufacturer in obtaining a complete dismissal of litigation filed in the Eastern District of Texas, where multiple former personal injury plaintiffs attempted to reopen settled personal injury cases based on claims of fraud and RICO in connection with the settlement of their cases. The plaintiffs based their claims on statements made and documents produced by a former in-house attorney of the client.
In a companion north Texas state court action, obtained a complete dismissal of the claims of a former personal injury plaintiff after two mandamus rulings from the Texas Court of Appeals in Waco and the Texas Supreme Court.
Represented a global manufacturer of umbilical cables used in connection with remotely operated vehicles used in offshore energy exploration in a suit filed in federal court in New Orleans. The vehicle operator claimed defective design and breach of warranty in connection with the manufacture and sale of the cables. The suit settled favorably shortly before trial.
Represented, as trial counsel, a natural gas equipment manufacturer and construction company in a wrongful death suit of a plant operator who was killed in an explosion inside the plant constructed by the client. After a six-week jury trial, the case was settled favorably during jury deliberations.
Represented, as trial and appellate counsel, a privately accredited university in a multi-defendant patent infringement action, in both the Eastern District of Texas and the Eastern District of Virginia, and involving distributed computer network architecture. The federal court in Norfolk granted summary judgment of non-infringement shortly before trial. On appeal, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s judgment on all but one claim. This claim was later dismissed on summary judgment.
Representing a development stage biopharmaceutical company in a patent suit pending in federal court in Houston. The company brought a declaratory judgment action against Dr. Harry Fisch who claimed that he was a co-inventor on several patents held by the company. The court granted summary judgment denying Fisch inventor status, and he has appealed the trail court’s ruling.
Representing a Chinese manufacturer and distributor of retail security devices for high theft merchandise in a multi-patent infringement suit pending in federal court in Fort Worth.
Over the past seven years, continuous representation of a global consumer electronics company, as trial counsel, in numerous patent infringement actions filed in the Eastern District of Texas, involving a variety of smartphone and display monitor technologies, including wireless communications, cell phone antennas, applications software and other smartphone and display hardware and software.
Following three week jury trial, obtained a jury verdict in federal court in Houston on behalf of a major offshore drilling contractor enforcing its patents on its dual activity drilling system.
Represented, as lead trial counsel, several major retail companies in internet based consumer transaction technology. After jury selection, one retailer entered into a favorable settlement. The remaining retailers tried the case to jury verdict. On appeal, the Federal Circuit ruled the asserted patents invalid.
Represented the Mexican air traffic control agency in litigation FILED in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, McAllen Division, for allegedly causing the crash on landing in Mexico of an air cargo flight, killing crew members and several people on the ground.
Provided advice, as lead counsel, to an international airline and its foreign government owner in connection with the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation of and litigation arising from the crash of the airline's Boeing 767 aircraft off the Atlantic coast. Areas in which advice has been sought by the client include crisis management, public relations, advice on technical aviation issues, technical consultants, treaty applications, NTSB regulations, FAA coordination, and diplomatic issues.
Represented, as lead counsel, a domestic carrier in claims arising from the crash on takeoff of one its DC-9 aircraft.
Represented, as lead counsel, a domestic carrier in litigation filed in Houston arising from the crash of a Boeing 737 on takeoff from New York's LaGuardia Airport.
Represented, as lead counsel, a regional commuter carrier in litigation following the in-flight breakup of one of its commuter aircraft.
Represented, as lead counsel, a regional commuter carrier in a midair structural incident which resulted in a crash at the Pine Bluff, Arkansas Airport.
Representing a major helicopter manufacturer in suits filed in Houston State Court arising from the crash in Indonesia of two medium transport helicopters. Both cases were dismissed on grounds of forum non conveniens. Both cases are currently on appeal.
Represented a major helicopter manufacturer in a wrongful death action filed in Harris County Texas, arising from the heavily publicized crash of a helicopter owned and operated by a Houston television station, which killed both people on board.
Represented a major helicopter manufacturer in various products liability cases in state courts in Texas and Louisiana.
Represented, as lead counsel, a major helicopter manufacturer in suits filed in Fort Worth, Corpus Christi, and Brazoria (Angleton) County arising from the offshore crash of a BELL 206 helicopter, which killed or injured several occupants.
Represented, as co-counsel, a bearing manufacturer in a suit filed in Corpus Christi arising from the offshore crash of a large military helicopter, which killed all of the occupants.
Represented, as lead counsel, a major helicopter manufacturer in suits filed in East Texas arising from the crash of a light helicopter which was conducting search and recovery operations. All of the occupants were killed or severely injured in the crash.
Represented, as lead counsel, a major helicopter manufacturer in suits filed in Houston, Texas, arising from the Mexico crash of a BELL 212 helicopter following low fuel warnings and main rotor blade separation.
Louisiana State University, Paul M. Hebert Law Center, 1979, J.D.
Southern Methodist University, 1976, B.B.A.
U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of Louisiana
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, Southern, and Western Districts of Texas
Awards and Affiliations
Member, Practice Group of the Year, Intellectual Property, Law360 (2019)
Member, Litigation Department of the Year–Intellectual Property, The American Lawyer (2019)
Ranked, Litigation: General Commercial, Texas, Chambers USA (2007–2020)
Recommended, Dispute resolution: General commercial disputes; Industry focus: Energy litigation: oil and gas, The Legal 500 US (2020)
Recommended, Industry focus: Energy regulatory: oil and gas, The Legal 500 US (2016, 2018, 2019)
Recognized, Commercial Litigation, Houston; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants, Houston; Transportation Law, Houston, The Best Lawyers in America (2007–2011, 2014–2020)
Recognized, IAM Patent 1000: The World’s Leading Patent Professionals (2017–2020)
Recognized, Acritas Star Lawyer (2017)
Recognized, Benchmark Litigation’s Regional Litigator of the Year for the South (2015)
Recognized, Guide to the World's Leading Insurance & Reinsurance Lawyers, 6th Edition (2006–present)
Recognized, International Who's Who of Business Lawyers (2004–present)
Recognized, Law360 Trial Ace (2015)
Recognized, Texas Super Lawyers (2003–2004, 2006–2014)
Recognized, International Who's Who of Aviation Lawyers (2007–present)
Recognized, Who's Who Legal: Transport–Aviation Disputes (2016)
Recognized, Who's Who Legal: Texas (2007–present)
Named "2014 Houston Lawyer of the Year – Transportation Law" by The Best Lawyers in America