Hutson B. Smelley

Senior Attorney

Phone: (713) 337-5594

Fax: (713) 333-5984



Hutson Smelley is a trial lawyer in the firm’s Houston office, with a focus on commercial and class action litigation and appellate work. His practice encompasses a broad range of commercial litigation matters, including construction litigation, insurance litigation, oil and gas litigation, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights litigation, securities fraud litigation, and other complex commercial matters. Hutson’s analytical background, which includes a master’s degree in mathematics, provides a tremendous resource for analyzing and formulating strategies on complex damages issues.

Hutson has represented clients in state and federal courts in Texas, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Wisconsin. He has participated in several domestic and international arbitrations, has bench and jury trial experience, and has handled numerous appeals.

Hutson is actively involved in church and enjoys spending time with his wife and kids. He also enjoys restoring Corvairs and collecting antique phonographs and radios.


Texas Rising Star, 2005–2009

  • Represented a private placement insurer in a policyholder class action in New York federal court alleging liability related to underlying hedge fund losses that was dismissed on a motion to dismiss.
  • Represented a life insurer in a class action in California by VEBA plan participants that settled favorably after class certification was denied.
  • Represented an annuity issuer in a policyholder class action in Minnesota alleging misrepresentations in the sales that was dismissed on a motion to dismiss.
  • Represented corporation in a securities class action in Connecticut alleging misrepresentations in public filings that was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff without a monetary payment after the motion to dismiss was filed.
  • Represented an insurer on an alleged fraudulently induced settlement of an earlier lawsuit. The Texas Court of Appeals reversed and rendered in favor of the insurer.
  • Represented a property insurer sued in Louisiana by plaintiffs alleging personal injuries from mold exposure, achieving a complete defense verdict from the jury that was affirmed on appeal.
  • Represented an insurer in North Carolina federal court seeking rescission of a life insurance policy procured through misrepresentations. The trial court’s summary judgment order in favor of the insurer was affirmed by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Represented private placement life insurer in a class action in Colorado state court brought by policyholders that resulted in a favorable settlement.
  • Represented the lessee in a lease dispute related to a defective natural gas compressor. The case was tried successfully to a jury in Texas state court, the client was awarded damages in excess of $500,000, and the judgment was affirmed on appeal.
  • Represented a law firm in a fee dispute over the enforceability of a contingency fee agreement, and the client law firm was awarded more than $4,000,000 after a successful arbitration.
  • Represented a large retailer in multiple wage and hour class-action disputes throughout the country.
  • Represented a cell-phone company in an ICDR arbitration concerning the interpretation of an international telecommunications agreement.
  • Represented a fertilizer company in an ICDR arbitration arising out of its purchase and sale agreement and gas supply agreement.
  • Represented an energy company in a dispute over the scope of the AMI clause in a joint operating agreement covering lands in Montana.
  • Represented an energy company in a dispute that arose after it was not offered an opportunity to purchase an interest in the joint operating agreement pursuant to the preferential rights provision.
  • Represented an energy company in a fraudulent transfer lawsuit in bankruptcy court arising out of its acquisition of the debtor’s oil and gas assets.
  • Represented a warehouse owner against parties involved in the design and construction of the building after more than 43,000 square feet of the roof collapsed.
  • Represented an owner of numerous warehouses in California with defective roofs that were all done by the same contractor.
  • Represented the owner of a set of luxury apartment buildings with defective foundations.
  • Represented clients in preference lawsuits and fraudulent transfer lawsuits in bankruptcy courts all around the country.
  • Represented large accounting firm in a securities fraud transaction, successfully defeating class certification.
  • Preferential Rights and Area of Mutual Interest Provisions, presentation for the 2007 Mayer Brown Energy Conference (with Paul Mitchell)
  • Ethical Issues Surrounding the Renegotiation of Attorney-Client Fee Agreements, presentation for the Texas Association of Defense Counsel, July 2005 (with Harry P. “Hap” Weitzel).
  • OPA ‘90 Liability in the Aftermath of an Oil Spill, 12 U.S.F. Mar. L.J. 1 (2000).
  • Texas
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • United States Court of Appeals for the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits
  • University of Houston Law Center, J.D., 1999
  • University of Houston, B.S., Math, 1993
  • Texas A&M University, M.S., Math, 1994
  • Grace School of Theology, M.A.B.S., 2013