John W. Bridger

Houston Office
P: 713-210-4380
E: jbridger@strongpipkin.com

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John’s practice includes a wide variety of civil and maritime litigation, including tort and commercial disputes. He has tried over 70 cases to verdict. He frequently defends personal injury and property damage claims typically occurring on or at chemical plants, refineries, fabrication shops, docks, marine terminals, vessels, offshore oil rigs and platforms, and construction sites. These cases regularly involve claims of negligence, gross negligence, personal injury,  premises liability, products liability, maritime law, toxic tort, and contribution and indemnity.

John also handles a variety of commercial and contractual matters, including claims arising from breach of contract, insurance and indemnity disputes, and maritime bunkers sales.

John looks for creative, innovative, and efficient means to pursue his clients litigation goals.

Primary Practice Areas:

Premises Liability

  • Defended major oil companies, petrochemical companies, and public housing authorities in premises liability.

Commercial Litigation

  • Prosecuted and defended indemnity actions for major oil companies, petrochemical companies, and specialty steel producers (including innovative use of Chapter 82 indemnity) and wrote the indemnity provision used by a major chemical company.
  • Successfully invoked forum selection, choice of law, limitations, and arbitration clauses in contract cases.
  • As lead counsel, successfully prosecuted at trial (and held on appeal) breach of warranty claim against limited partnership, its general partners, and it’s limited partners (obtaining personal liability against the limited partners) on a case arising from sale of a business.
  • As lead trial counsel, successfully defended (to defense verdict) Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) and breach of warranty action against car dealer

Maritime Law

  • Represented vessels, offshore drilling contractors, terminals,  and a major independent marine fuel supplier in personal injury and commercial maritime cases under Jones Act, LHWCA, and general maritime law.
  • As co-counsel, successfully defended (and held on appeal)  in Beaumont (Jefferson County) Jones Act employer from  gross negligence allegations in an unseaworthiness case (Penrod Drilling Corp v. Williams, one of the first post-Miles cases to so hold).
  • In maritime collision case involving over 450 plaintiffs claiming exposure to chemicals released as a result of the collision, successfully obtained in Galveston summary judgment on duty for ship owner.
  • In maritime wrongful death case, successfully obtained in Beaumont (Jefferson County) summary judgment on duty for terminal.
  • As lead counsel, successfully prosecuted at trial in Beaumont federal court (and held on appeal) marine terminal lost profit claim in Oil Pollution Act claim.

Products Liability

  • In products liability cases, represented manufacturers of products including: cranes, man lifts, valve actuators, paper mill equipment, plastic gas cans, bicycles, steel plate, cluster bombs, tires, welding equipment and tire rims.
  • Texas counsel for several product defendants in asbestos litigation.
  • Successfully prosecuted Daubert challenges to medical and liability expert witnesses resulting in their exclusion.

Toxic Tort Litigation

  • As lead trial counsel, successfully defended (unanimous defense verdict) in Beaumont (Jefferson County) major oil company in hydrogen sulfide exposure cases resulting from injection well explosion and resulting in alleged brain damage to plaintiff.
  • Handled toxic tort cases involving, among others, nickel, chromium, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, zirconium,  asbestos, and silica.
  • As lead trial counsel, successfully defended (unanimous defense verdict) in Galveston 16 specialty steel producers and suppliers in a nickel and hexavalent chromium inhalation case involving heart and lung injuries with past medical bills exceeding $1 million.
  • As trial counsel, successfully defended at trial and on appeal (defense verdict in all but two claimants with those two reversed on appeal to Fifth Circuit) asbestos supplier in Cimino class action trial in federal court in Beaumont.  
  • As trial counsel, successfully defended (to defense verdict) asbestos product manufacturer in consolidated case in Orange, class action in Beaumont and consolidated and individual action in Philadelphia.
  • In Gulf War Syndrome cases (putative class action), successfully obtained in Brazoria County dismissal of manufacturer, which had plead guilty in companion criminal case, based on motion for summary judgment that, in part, invoked international treaties defining bio-chemical weapons.

Personal Injury Defense

  • As lead trial counsel, successfully defended (defense verdict) in Orange a local water supply company in brain damage case.
  • As lead trial counsel, successfully defended (defense verdict) in Kountze (Hardin County) trucking company in wrongful death suit.
  • As lead counsel, successfully defended (to unanimous defense verdict) at trial in Houston federal court, major retailer in fall resulting in hip replacement.


Board certifications- Texas Board of Legal Specialization

  • Civil Trial Law (since 1992)
  • Personal Injury Trial Law (since 1990)

Education:

  • University of Texas School of Law (with honors), J.D., 1985
  • Baylor University, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1982

Honors and Awards:

  • ABOTA Advocate
  • AV rated, Martindale Hubbell
  • AVVO 10.0
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (2012-present)
    • Commercial Litigation
    • Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants
  • “Houston’s Top Lawyers” H Texas Magazine (2007, 2008, 2011-present)
  • “Texas Super Lawyer,” Texas Monthly Magazine (2004-present)

Memberships/Affiliations:

  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • State Bar of Texas
  • Texas Association of Defense Counsel
  • Defense Research Institute
  • College of the State Bar of Texas
  • American Bar Association
  • Houston Bar Association
  • Jefferson County Bar Association

Licenses:

  • All Texas courts
  • U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Southern, Northern, and Western Districts of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Fifth Circuit

Publications and Speaking Engagements:

  • Who’s on the Hook? A Brief Overview of Contractual Indemnity Provisions in Texas, Corporate Counsel Review, South Texas College of Law, November 2015
  • Speaker, TADC Summer Meeting, Colorado Springs, CO, July 2006, Maritime Personal Injury Law for the Non-Maritime Practitioner
  • Speaker, Mealey's Wall Street Mass Tort Conference, New York, New York, October 2005, Identifying and Defending Mass Tort Claims
  • Chairman, Mealey's Asbestos Litigation 101 Conference, New Orleans, LA, July 2005
  • Speaker, Jefferson County Bar Association Personal Injury Seminar, Beaumont, TX, February 2005, Answering a Complaint - Comparing State and Federal Practice
  • Speaker, Mealey's Asbestos Litigation 101 Conference, Washington, D.C., February 2005, The New Face of Asbestos Claims - Emerging Trends in the Litigation (the Non-Traditional Defendants)
  • Speaker, TADC Fall Meeting, San Antonio, TX, September 2004, Answering a Complaint - Comparing State and Federal Practice
  • Speaker, Mealey's Asbestos Litigation 101 Conference, Dallas, TX, June 2003, Non-Traditional Defendants in Asbestos Litigation
  • Speaker, in-house continuing education for a commercial insurance broker, Houston, TX, March 2003, A Manufacturer's Statutory Duty to Indemnify a Seller in a Products Liability Action
  • Co-editor of TADC Commercial Law Newsletter (2012 to present)