Robb Voyles comes to JAMS after serving for eight years as executive vice president, secretary and chief legal officer at Halliburton Company, where he led the company’s litigation, commercial law, intellectual property, labor and employment, and ethics and compliance departments. He was responsible for the company’s corporate governance and directed its enterprise risk management program to identify and mitigate risks and reduce exposures and contingencies. Mr. Voyles also served as the company’s chief financial officer in 2017. In 2019, Mr. Voyles was recognized as General Counsel of the Year by the Association of Corporate Counsel and Texas Lawbook. In 2017, he received the Magna Stella® Award for outstanding general counsel of the year from the Texas General Counsel Forum.
Prior to his tenure at Halliburton, Mr. Voyles spent 26 years with Baker Botts L.L.P., where he was a senior partner and the global chair of the litigation department. His private practice included a wide range of practice areas, with a focus on business/commercial, securities, professional liability, technology, trade secrets, energy and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act litigation and investigations. Mr. Voyles represented major accounting, law, energy and technology firms in both litigation and government investigations.
ADR Experience and Qualifications
In his years as in-house counsel and in private practice, Mr. Voyles represented clients and participated in numerous arbitrations, mediations, settlement negotiations and other alternative dispute resolution proceedings. The arbitrations were administered by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR) and the American Arbitration Association (AAA). His training, financial background and experience uniquely position him to help parties find creative solutions and pathways to resolution.
Securities/Accounting and Class Actions
- Counsel for Halliburton in a securities fraud class action alleging that certain financial and other misleading statements inflated Halliburton’s stock price through a two-and-a-half-year putative class period. After more than a decade of litigation and appeals, including two trips to the United States Supreme Court, the district court approved a settlement of the case.
- Represented an accounting firm in an arbitration involving a major wholesale supplier of office products with more than $1 billion of annual revenue. After the company filed for bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee sued the company’s auditor alleging that its audits had failed to uncover accounting improprieties that led to the company's bankruptcy. The case was arbitrated to conclusion in a three-week hearing.
- Counsel representing an accounting firm in an arbitration. An engineering and construction services group, filed for bankruptcy after engaging in a failed multi-year roll-up strategy fueled by nearly $750 million in debt. Several hedge funds that had invested in that debt sued the group’s auditor in Texas state court alleging that the auditor had failed to disclose numerous material misstatements in the group’s financial statements and had failed to issue a going-concern opinion. The court ordered arbitration pursuant to the accounting firm’s audit engagement letter. The case was arbitrated to decision in a two-week hearing.
- Represented an accounting firm in an arbitration in which the plaintiff hospital claimed fraud, negligent misrepresentation and audit malpractice. The plaintiff sought over $30 million in damages, claiming that its financial statements for several years were misstated as a result of the accounting firm’s negligently performed audits. The case was arbitrated to decision in a two-week hearing.
- Counsel for an accounting firm in a complex securities matter. Plaintiffs loaned $95 million to a borrower in the mortgage and insurance business. The collateral for the loan was the stock of the borrower. The loan agreement required periodic appraisals, and the accounting firm was engaged by the borrower to perform the appraisals. Plaintiffs alleged that the firm’s appraisals overvalued the stock and that, in reliance on the appraisal, plaintiffs restructured the loan. The borrower subsequently defaulted, and the plaintiffs sued the accounting firm for negligence, fraud and violations of the Texas Securities Act. After a one-week jury trial, the court directed a verdict in the firm’s favor on all claims. The verdict was affirmed by the Texas Court of Appeals.
- Counsel for an accounting firm in a cross-border litigation involving an alleged Ponzi scheme by a group of investment entities known as InverWorld. The cases included a putative class action in Texas state court by the foreign investors alleging negligence, fraud and violations of the Texas Securities Act and actions in both United States District Court and the Grand Court of Cayman Islands by the InverWorld liquidator alleging audit negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and “deepening insolvency.” After five years of contentious motion practice and discovery, the case settled on terms approved by all of the courts.
- Counsel in a class action federal securities fraud case tried to a jury verdict. In this case, the plaintiff class alleged that there were misstatements in a technology corporation’s annual and quarterly financial statements that damaged its shareholders, bondholders and option purchasers. The jury found for the plaintiff class on only one of their several liability claims and found the accounting firm’s proportionate responsibility for damages to be approximately the same as the indemnity/offset threshold in the settlement agreement between the plaintiff class and the corporation’s officers and directors. The case settled while the accounting firm’s JNOV motion was being considered by the district court.
Intellectual Property (Copyright, Trade Secrets) and Technology
- Lead counsel for Dresser in an action for copyright infringement, breach of contract, breach of implied warranties, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, and tortious interference in connection with Dresser’s conveyance of oil field-related software rights. Plaintiff claimed $100 million in damages. After a jury trial, the district court instructed a take nothing verdict for Dresser and, pursuant to Dresser’s counterclaim, granted Dresser rescission of the software transfer to plaintiff. The Fifth Circuit affirmed on appeal.
- Lead counsel for Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) where plaintiff sued TI alleging breach of contract, fraud and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and seeking over $100 million in damages in connection with plaintiff’s purchase of computer equipment from TI. After a jury trial commenced, the court declared a mistrial. The case settled after the mistrial.
- Represented Accenture, EDS and other technology providers in numerous matters involving contractual disputes with governmental entity and public company customers related to software and systems design and implementation. Some of these matters involved litigation and trials. In others, in many of them Mr. Voyles was engaged to assist in resolving the disputes through the negotiation of complex technology contracts with the customers.
- Represented General Electric Company in seeking to enjoin the Public Utility Commission (PUC) from disclosing trade secrets regarding its nuclear fuel fabrication services in connection with a pending utility rate proceeding. After trial, the trial court extended the existing preliminary injunction. The PUC later agreed to permanently abide by that injunction.
- Represented Union Carbide Corporation in litigation against its former vice president and his new employers, alleging tortious interference with business relationship and seeking to enjoin disclosure of trade secrets or confidential information. At the conclusion of a four-day evidentiary hearing, the district court issued a preliminary injunction. Defendants appealed. The Fifth Circuit held that personal jurisdiction was properly asserted over the former employee and that the preliminary injunction was properly issued.
- Counsel for a law firm in a professional liability class action litigation. Plaintiff sued the law firm, alleging negligence, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty arising out of law firm’s issuance of a non-infringement opinion to the plaintiff and its subsequent defense of the plaintiff in related patent infringement litigation. The case was settled at the conclusion of expert discovery.
- Counsel for an accounting firm in a professional liability class action litigation. Home Owners Warranty Corporation (HOW) and several related companies were engaged in the business of insuring and administering homebuilder warranty and insurance protection for new homes. HOW was placed in receivership with over $180 billion in warranty coverage in force on approximately 1,700,000 homes. Thereafter, the receiver and a putative class of homeowners owning homes insured by HOW filed suit in Texas state court against HOW’s officers and directors, auditor, actuary, attorney and others, claiming negligence and fraud. After discovery and a lengthy hearing, the trial court refused to certify the putative class and the court of appeals affirmed. Subsequently, the trial court granted the accounting firm’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed all of plaintiffs’ claims. Plaintiffs declined to appeal.
- Represented a law firm in a suit by its former client for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with issuance of financial guarantees. After four years of motion practice and discovery, the district court granted summary judgment for the law firm, and plaintiff appealed. The Fifth Circuit affirmed.
- Counsel for an accounting firm in litigation alleging that the financial statements of a company acquired by the plaintiff were misstated because they did not include a material liability of the company and that the accounting firm was negligent in failing to discover the existence of that liability during its audit of the financial statements. After two years of discovery, the trial court granted the accounting firm’s motion for summary judgment.
- Represented a Jamaican accounting firm in a cross-border dispute asserting claims related to audit work conducted in Jamaica. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court dismissed the claims, concluding that jurisdiction could not be exercised over the foreign firm in a Texas court. The Texas Court of Appeals affirmed.
- Counsel representing a law firm in 22 separate actions brought by investors who purchased interests in real estate limited partnerships claiming that the law firm was involved in scheme to defraud investors. The district court granted the law firm's motion for partial summary judgment, holding that (i) the firm was not a "seller" of securities under the 1933 Securities Act, nor was it a "controlling person" within the meaning of securities laws; (ii) a provision of Texas Business and Commerce Code dealing with fraud in real estate or stock in a corporation or joint stock company did not apply to investors' purchases; and (iii) there was no attorney-client relationship between investors and firm, and thus investors could not maintain causes of action for negligence, professional liability and negligent misrepresentation. Subsequently, the court, upon the law firm’s motion, dismissed the investors’ claims under the Texas Securities Act. The case subsequently settled.
- Represented an accounting firm in a seminal case involving Section 552 of the Restatement (2d) of Torts. Blue Bell, a general creditor of an insolvent department store chain, sued, alleging negligent misrepresentation, fraud and breach of warranty and fiduciary duty in connection with the firm’s audit of the department store’s financial statements. The trial court granted the accounting firm summary judgment motion on all claims, and the court of appeals affirmed, except for the negligent misrepresentation claim, which was remanded for trial. The case settled for a nominal amount soon thereafter.