Tony Buzbee - Defining Moments
What about this story is fantastic!!
Not since flamboyant, fringed-sleeved Gerry Spence has the courtroom seen anyone who can compare to Tony Buzbee. His fame and reputation increases with each successive judgment—including multi-million dollar victories against mega corporations, such as BP and the Ford Motor Company, and government entities such as FEMA and the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.
Tony Buzbee—a product of a small-town upbringing in East Texas, an education at Texas A&M, the training of the United States Marine Corps, and the experience at the University of Houston Law School—is driven to succeed. He has created the reputation and the reality of a man not to be crossed in the courtroom or elsewhere by working extremely hard to be the best prepared lawyer in any trial and at every settlement discussion. He is a loyal friend and a ferocious enemy. He cares about what is right; his goal is doing the right thing.
In his mid-40s now, Buzbee is still a young man—especially among the ranks of highly lauded trial lawyers. Still Buzbee seems almost obsessed with continuing to be one who represents the unrepresented and who gives hope to the hopeless in the legal arena. He is totally immersed in and exhilarated by the contests that he sees as David v. Goliath, poor v. rich, small v. big, the haves nots v. the haves, and good v. evil.
Tony Buzbee´s defining moments are most often the result of the codes by which he lives, many of which he extracted from the book he keeps on his desk and requires all his associates to read, a book he believes is a must-read for every current and future attorney. A summary of this "guidebook" is included among the chapters that detail courtroom performances that rival the fictional Perry Mason. Tony Buzbee is the real thing.
In a world where trial lawyers represent the last best hope for the "little people," Anthony Buzbee has become the attorney who looks out for the common man and woman against big business—and has made a ton of cash doing so. Despite tort reform movements and various legislative actions, Buzbee continues to win huge judgments for individuals and groups. The 44-year old Galveston/Houston, Texas attorney is at the top of his game and appears to have what it takes to remain there for a long time.
When asked what product he offers his clients, Buzbee responds, "Fairness." About being in the courtroom Buzbee declares, "I´m at war. I won´t fail." Buzbee, a former U.S. Marine officer and veteran of the Gulf War, frequently uses military terms and jargon in his conversations. He, and every member of his staff, keep the USMC manual for battlefield planning on their desk tops.
Outside the courtroom Buzbee plays the role of successful trial lawyer as well. He drives a customized Ferrari 612 Scagietti, seemingly constantly smokes expensive Cuban cigars, and employs the profile of a shark as door handles on his high rise Houston office suite, on the tail of his personal jet, and on the cufflinks for his hand-made shirts.
Buzbee´s greatest successes have come from his battles with international oil giant BP. In 2005 an explosion at a BP refinery on Galveston Bay at Texas City killed 15 workers. In deposition Buzbee got the senior BP executive responsible for the Texas City plant to read from a safety inspection report, "If this facility was an aircraft carrier, we would be on the bottom of the ocean." BP ended up settling for $2.1 billion; yes, that is b as in billion. Buzbee left the courtroom with fees of nearly $100 million and an enduring dislike of BP. He secured settlements in excess of $150 million for the families of the 19 men killed in the BP Deepwater Horizon rig disaster in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico and currently represents thousands of claimants, including hotel and resort owners and fishermen, from all along the Gulf Coast who suffered losses from the BP oil spill.
Buzbee´s cases extend far beyond the oil industry and the Gulf Coast. In 2011 he secured millions of dollars for claimants of those killed or injured in the crash of a modified competition plane into spectators at the Reno, Nevada Air Races. Current pending cases include suits against Chevron Oil for a fire that sent thousands to the hospital for smoke inhalation in California and a case for breach of contract for the firing of football coach Michael Haywood by the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.
Closer to home, Buzbee filed a class action suit against the Federal government and FEMA trailer manufactures for toxic fumes from their insulation in 2005 and settled for $50 million. The same year Buzbee won the first verdict in Texas against the Ford Motor Company over the stability of their Explorer model that rolled over killing a 13-year old boy. The case ultimately settled for $50 million. In 2010, Buzbee served as lead council in the suit by 2,400 property owners against the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association in their quest to settle claims for damages from Hurricane Ike that struck the Texas Gulf Coast in 2008. Settlement totaled $190 million of which Buzbee´s take was $4 million.
Buzbee is more than willing to take on individuals, regardless of their stature and finances. In 2012 Buzbee filed suit against famed Cadillac Ranch (various models of Cadillacs half buried in the dirt along old Highway 66 outside Amarillo) creator and owner Stanley Marsh 3 on behalf of ten boys who claimed to have been molested by the elderly man. After much media attention, Marsh was arrested and the suit settled for amounts that neither side will confirm.
In 2010 Buzbee successfully represented famed recording artist and leader of the "Parrotheads" Jimmy Buffet to protect his trademarks and intellectual properties. Currently he represents Erin Marzouki in her fight to keep a $785,000 engagement ring from former suitor and NFL Buffalo Bill defensive end Mario Williams.
In addition to these high profile cases, Buzbee and his law firm, in operation only since 2000, have won more than 50 judgments of more than a million dollars for individuals who were victims of refinery, offshore, transportation, or industrial accidents.
Buzbee is not the scion of some wealthy, privileged family nor is he an Ivy League graduate. His accomplishments have come from a belief in winning through hard work, aggressiveness and persistence. It is the same formula that took him from the east Texas town of Atlanta where his father was a butcher and his mother a cafeteria worker to Texas A&M University on a ROTC scholarship. Graduating with a degree in psychology in 1990, Buzbee entered the U.S. Marine Corps as a second lieutenant and rose in rank to captain as he commanded infantry and reconnaissance units in Somalia and the Persian Gulf. After leaving the service he attended the University of Houston Law Center and, after briefly working for other firms, established his own practice in 2000. Buzbee is a regent at Texas A&M where he and his wife Zoe, Class of 1991, recently contributed $3 million for a learning center in the Corps of Cadets living area. He is also on the Board of Directors for Jesse Tree charities and supports the Star of Hope Mission for the Homeless.
Publication date: 12 Dec 2014, 336 pages; 6 (w) x 9 (h) x 1. 16 (d); 22 ounces; Hardback Edition
Reviews and Quotes
New York Times Magazine (November 4, 2010)—Anthony Buzbee is "one of the most successful trial lawyers in the country. Profane, flamboyant, and fragrantly aggressive, he´s something of a throwback to an earlier generation of trial lawyers whose favorite place in the world was on their feet in court wearing out some corporate malefactor."
Texas Monthly (May 2013)— "Buzbee has made his reputation going after corporations and he usually wins big."
New York Times article, March 28, 2013, said, "Mr. Buzbee is a big, mean, ambitious, tenacious, fire-breathing Texas trial lawyer. Really big. Poster boy big. The kind of guy who draws arrows from tort reformers."
Jackson Clarion-Ledger—"In the face of an indictment for abuse of power, the governor (Rick Perry of Texas) tapped Tony Buzbee to lead his defense team. Buzbee is a well-known trial lawyer who has made—according to some claims—upwards of a billion dollars suing large corporations.