Tim Johnson’s In-House Litigation Leadership Highlighted in Houston Chronicle Profile

Mitby Pacholder Johnson founding partner Tim Johnson is featured in a Houston Chronicle profile highlighting his leadership of bet-the-company disputes while serving as general counsel Houston-based Peak Completions.

The article details Johnson’s work with Mitby Pacholder Johnson co-founder Debbie Pacholder on an internal investigation following the death of Peak Completions CEO Ray Hofman in a 2014 plane crash. The probe resulted in a headline-grabbing $20 million lawsuit claiming fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and gross negligence. The case reached a favorable settlement after the investigation by Johnson and Pacholder uncovered a complex scheme by Hofman to divert funds to pay for an extravagant lifestyle.

In “One Plane Crash Changed Everything for Oilfield Tech Company’s General Counsel,” Texas Lawbook editor Mark Curriden writes:

In the two years since that gut-wrenching litigation, Johnson and Peak, which is a technology-based oil well completion business, have won several major “bet-the-company” lawsuits. He rewrote and implemented new ethics and corporate compliance guidelines. He’s handled the issuance of nearly 30 patents for Peak. And he’s negotiated and signed dozens of manufacturing agreements, distribution agreements, master service agreements and employment agreements.

“Tim is a unicorn due to the combination of his strong instincts, detailed involvement and knowledge of company matters, ability to make informed, logical decisions and his ability to manage various personalities,” Debbie Pacholder wrote in nominating Johnson for the honor.

Johnson joined Peak in 2012 and has handled several significant patent infringement cases for the company. In January 2018, Peak received a notice of patent infringement from a competitor demanding that Peak stop selling one of its new products. Such a suit could have devastated the company.

“Tim conducted a thorough review of the asserted patent and its prosecution before the patent office and identified significant issues with the asserted patent, and also identified theories of non-infringement,” AZA’s Pacholder wrote in her nomination letter.

As the Hofman litigation was ongoing, a major raw material supplier sued Peak alleging that Peak had sent them three purchase orders for approximately $12 million in material to be taken over a period of time.

“The issue related to whether the spreadsheets we sent them were future forecasts or purchase orders,” Johnson said. “They showed us documents that they said were purchase orders, and we told them that we never sent those documents as they differed substantially from the spreadsheets that we had.”

Johnson spent days sifting through the metadata and documents. He discovered that the other company deleted the email account for their salesman who was the key to the whole case.

“We were able to piece together evidence showing that this salesman had altered the documents that he received from us,” he said. “A forecast that we sent him for $700,000 was changed into a $2 million purchase order that he sent internally to get material on order.”

Johnson presented the evidence to opposing counsel, which settled the litigation soon thereafter.

Click here to read the article.