MELANIE KEMP OKON
Melanie has represented Fortune 500 companies, medium and small businesses, regulated and unregulated electric companies, gas companies, mining companies, homebuilders, commercial construction companies, and property owners in a wide range of litigation matters, including cases involving contract damages, property damages, and personal injury claims. Melanieʼs prior experience as in-house senior litigation counsel for a publicly, traded company instilled in her the importance of familiarizing herself with her clientsʼ industries and understanding her clientsʼ desires and goals for any particular dispute.
Melanie has handled cases in both federal and state courts throughout the State of Texas and has successfully served as lead trial counsel in jury trials in various Texas counties. Some highlights of Melanie's experience include:
• Lead trial counsel in a case where an insured sued the firm's insurance company client for bad faith. A unanimous jury returned a judgment against the Plaintiff on the firm's client's counterclaim for fraud.
• Lead trial counsel in a lawsuit concerning the construction of three natural gas pipelines in Panola County, Texas. Before settling the case, the firm successfully struck a portion of the testimony of the opposing partyʼs lead liability and damage expert, in addition to obtaining summary judgment on several key issues.
• Lead trial counsel in a nuisance and gross negligence lawsuit in which the Plaintiffs complained that noise and vibrations from a gas compressor station plant interfered with their use and enjoyment of their properties. The jury returned a unanimous no-liability defense verdict in favor of Melanieʼs clients after only 20 minutes of deliberation.
• Lead trial counsel in a nuisance and gross negligence lawsuit in which the Plaintiffs complained that alleged noise, odors, lights, dust, emissions, and traffic from a gas compressor station and gas processing plant interfered with their use and enjoyment of their properties. The jury returned an 11-1 no-liability defense verdict in favor of Melanieʼs clients after only two hours of deliberation.
• Lead trial counsel in a breach of contract and fraud case in which the Plaintiffs alleged that they were defrauded out of their mineral rights in connection with a sale of their property. The jury returned an 11-1 no-liability defense verdict in favor of Melanieʼs client after only one hour of deliberation.
• Lead counsel in a federal lawsuit involving the effect of a tax adjustment clause contained in a complex contract for the purchase of coal.
• Trial counsel for a utility company that sued a contractor for breach of contract, alleging that the drainage ditch built by the contractor constituted an “obstruction” in breach of an easement agreement. The jury returned a plaintiffʼs verdict in favor of Melanieʼs client for the cost of filling in the drainage ditch.
Education, Awards, and Certifications
J.D., Baylor University School of Law (1999), magna cum laude
• Highest Ranking Student in Graduating Class
• Assistant Managing Editor, Baylor Law Review
• Civil Litigation Concentration
B.A., University of Oklahoma (1995), cum laude
Briefing Attorney for the Honorable Greg Abbott, Texas Supreme Court, Austin (1999-2000)
Partner, Okon Hannagan, PLLC, Dallas (2016-present)
Partner, Estes Okon Thorne & Carr PLLC, Dallas (2009-2016)
Partner, Gruber Hurst Johansen Hail, Dallas (2008-2009)
Senior Litigation Counsel, Energy Future Holdings Corp. (f/k/a TXU Corp.), Dallas (2004-2008)
Associate, Gardere Wynne Sewell, Dallas (2002-2004)
Associate, Hunton & Williams (f/k/a Worsham Forsythe Wooldridge, LLP), Dallas (2000-2002)
Awards and Recognitions
The Best Lawyers in America© in commercial litigation 2017-2019
Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters service; 2012, 2015-2019
Selected as a 2019 Woman Leader in the Law by ALM and Martindale-Hubbell
Selected as a Top Rated Litigator in 2019 by ALM and Martindale-Hubbell
Selected as One of Texas’s Top Rated Lawyers for 2018 by ALM and Martindale-Hubbell
D Magazine Best Lawyers in Dallas – Construction Law 2016
Melanie Okon Named Among Who’s Who in Energy for 2014, 2015 – Dallas Business Journal
Recognized by Texas Lawyer Magazine as a 2011 Winning Women trial attorney
AV Preeminent – Martindale-Hubbell
State Bar of Texas
Northern District of Texas
Eastern District of Texas
Western District of Texas
Affiliations, Community Activities, & Publications
Member, State Bar of Texas
Member, Dallas Bar Association
Member, Texas Bar Foundation
Attorneys Serving the Community (ASC)
Women's Energy Network (WEN)
Dallas Womens Lawyers Association
Chair of the Board, Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas (2015-2017)
Chair Elect, Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas (2014)
Board Trustee, Girls, Inc. Foundation (2014-2018)
Corporate Secretary, Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas (2013)
Board Trustee, Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas (2013-2018)
Supporting Women is Good Business – Texas Lawyer – 10/2014 – Co-Author
When Businesses Hire Lawyers, Gender Matters – Texas Lawyer, Volume 26, No. 30 – 01/2010 – Author
The Classification of General and Special Damages for Pleading Purposes in Texas – Baylor Law Review – 1999 – Co-Author
HB 40: Impact on Municipal Regulation of OIl & Gas Operations - Dallas Bar Association Headnotes - 2016 - Co-Author
Workplace Communications – presented to client's legal department – 01/2011
Mechanic's Liens: An Overview – Client's legal department – 01/2009 – Author
The Independent Contractor Relationship – Client's field operations group – 01/2008 – Author
Discovery: A Client’s Perspective – 2006 – presented at attorney CLE program
In the News
Melanie Okon Named Among Who’s Who in Energy for 2015 – Dallas Business Journal – 11/2015
Winning Women – Texas Lawyer – 08/2011
Breaking the Mold – Dallas Business Journal – 05/2010