John J. SmitherSenior Counsel
John Smither is Senior Counsel in the Houston office of Kean Miller. John joined the firm in 2023 and his practice primarily focuses on eminent domain matters, energy and land use litigation, and commercial litigation.
John routinely represents clients who exercise the power of eminent domain to acquire temporary and permanent easements for common carrier and gas utility transmission and lateral lines. He has represented numerous pipeline companies and electric utilities condemning for right-of-way on interstate and intrastate projects traversing the State of Texas. He has experience handling matters for condemnors in all phases of the condemnation process including survey access, initial and final offers, special commissioners’ hearings in the administrative phase, and right to take and damage issues in the judicial phase.
John also has extensive litigation experience handling personal injury and product liability cases, including premises liability and complex, multi-party, multi-district product cases. He also handles matters involving commercial disputes and construction defects.
John is licensed to practice in all state and federal courts in Texas as well as the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. He is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is AV Preeminent-rated by Martindale-Hubbell. He is also a member of the Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas.
John earned his J.D. from the South Texas College of Law Houston in 1993. He earned his B.A. in Political Science from Vanderbilt University in 1990.
- Admitted, State Bar of Texas, 1994
- United States District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of Texas, 1994
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, 1998
- United States Supreme Court, 2002
- United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, 2017
- State Bar of Texas, Litigation Section, Member
- Texas Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
- Houston Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
- Board Certified, Personal Injury Trial Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, 2009, 2014, 2019
- AV Preeminent-rated, Martindale-Hubbell
- Hlavinka v. HSC Pipeline Partnership, LLC, 650 S.W.3d 483 (Tex. 2022).
- Yowell v. Granite Operating Co., 630 S.W.3d 566 (Tex. App.—Amarillo 2021, pet. denied).
- Hlavinka v. HSC Pipeline Partnership, LLC, 605 S.W.3d 819 (Tex. App.— Houston [1st Dist.] 2020, review granted January 28, 2022).
- Yowell v. Granite Operating Co., 620 S.W.3d 335 (Tex. 2020). Presented oral argument to the Supreme Court of Texas on January 9, 2020.
- Graves v. Lone Star NGL Pipeline L.P., No. 09-18-00173-CV, 2019 WL 962544 (Tex. App.—Beaumont Feb. 28, 2019, no pet.)(mem. op.).
- Yowell v. Granite Operating Co., 557 S.W.3d 794 (Tex. App.—Amarillo 2018, pet. granted).
- Crosstex NGL Pipeline, L.P. v. Reins Rd. Farms-1, Ltd., 404 S.W.3d 754 (Tex. App.—Beaumont 2013, no pet.).
- In re Crosstex NGL Pipeline, L.P., No. 09-13-00168-CV, 2013 WL 2444192 (Tex. App.—Beaumont May 30, 2013, no pet.).
- Michael Alan Walker v. Thomasson Lumber Company, et al., 203 S.W.3d 470 (Tex.App. — Houston[14th Dist.] 2006, no pet.).
- Herbert L. Wilson v. Mitul Patel d/b/a Best Western Rockdale, et al., No. 03-03-00275-CV, 2004 WL 579073 (Tex.App. — Austin 2004, no pet.).
- Linda R. Burton v. Gerland’s Food Fair, Inc., No. 14-97-01002-CV, 1998 WL 856327 (Tex.App. — Houston [14th Dist.] 1998, no writ).
- Speaker and Author, Advanced Pipeline Valuation Issues in the Aftermath of HSC vs. Hlavinka, CLE International Eminent Domain Conference, August 10, 2023
- Speaker and Author, HSC Pipeline Partnership v. Terrance J. Hlavinka, Kenneth Hlavinka, Tres Bayou Farms, LP and Terrance Hlavinka Cattle Company, CLE International Eminent Domain Conference, August 25, 2022
- Speaker and Author, Pipeline Survey Access and Project Updates, CLE International Eminent Domain Conference, August 19, 2021
- Speaker and Author, Pipeline Damages and Project Updates, CLE International Eminent Domain Conference, August 6, 2020
- Speaker, Pipeline Damage Models, International Right of Way Association, February 6, 2020
- Speaker and Author, Pipeline Project Updates and Challenges Facing Condemnors, CLE International Eminent Domain Conference, July 19, 2019
- Speaker and Author, Pipeline Project Updates and Challenges Facing Condemnors, CLE International Eminent Domain Conference, May 11, 2018
- Speaker, Insurance Issues, What’s Recommended and Why, Advising Small Business Owners Institute, Houston Bar Association, 2006
- Coursework Instructor and Author, Premises Liability Law: Texas and Florida, Approved by the Texas Department of Insurance and the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation for Continuing Education, 2006
- Coursework Instructor and Author, Offers of Settlement/Judgment: Texas and Florida, Approved by the Texas Department of Insurance and the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation for Continuing Education, 2006
- Instructor, The Legal Environment of Risk Management and Insurance, CPCU 530, Presented through AON Corporation, Spring 2006
- Author, A Primer on Indemnity, The Houston Lawyer, March/April 2004
- Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Life Member