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Stephen M. Dacus


Stephen is a business-focused litigator who represents a wide variety of clients—from local employers and entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies and international businesses—on a broad range of complex commercial litigation matters.

Stephen focuses on complex business disputes in state and federal trial and appellate courts. His work has spanned numerous industries, including retail, energy, financial services, technology, manufacturing, commercial real estate, agriculture, consumer products, and healthcare. Within those industries, Stephen has litigated a wide range of business disputes, including commercial contract disputes; claims related to business fraud, fiduciary duties, and other business torts; cases involving trade secrets, non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, and so-called “business divorce” cases; and cases involving antitrust, unfair competition, deceptive trade practices, and related consumer and competition issues. Stephen also has deep experience in numerous aspects of arbitration practice. In addition to representing clients at complex arbitration proceedings, he has experience litigating issues related to the enforcement of arbitration agreements, and post-arbitration disputes related to the validity and enforcement of arbitration awards.

Stephen is actively involved in his community and serves on multiple non-profit and foundation boards. He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Excellerate Foundation, and the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hope Cancer Resources.

Speaking Engagements
  • Guest Lecturer, University of Arkansas School of Law
  • Case Notes Speaker, Dallas Bar Association Appellate Law Section

  • Represented client in complex commercial dispute involving related arbitration proceedings, federal court litigation, state court litigation, and appellate practice in state and federal appellate courts, ultimately resulting in the payment of over $820 million to our client.
  • Authored the winning trial and appellate briefs and presented oral argument to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, resulting in precedent-setting decision in favor of our client, in case of first impression involving enforcement of arbitration agreement and appointment of substitute arbitrator under the Federal Arbitration Act.
  • Lead counsel in arbitration proceeding that resulted in complete victory and recovery of all monetary damages and attorneys’ fees sought in dispute related to business brokerage agreement.
  • Lead counsel for Fortune 100 affiliate in complex dispute arising from a substantial default judgment.  Created innovative approach based on novel procedural and substantive law arguments, authored the winning trial briefs, and successfully argued the case before a state trial court, resulting in complete victory for our client.
  • Lead counsel for local business in successful enforcement of state-wide non-compete agreement.
  • Lead counsel for national fortune-ranked company in commercial dispute related to complex manufacturing equipment, ultimately obtaining injunctive relief that lead to client securing all relief sought.
  • Lead counsel to local business in “business divorce” case, resulting in favorable resolution of ownership disputes with former business partner.
  • Counsel to Fortune 50 company in products liability action that resulted in complete defense verdict after two-week jury trial.
  • Lead counsel to local business in “business divorce” case involving complex disputes between multiple partners, ultimately resulting in favorable resolution for the client.
  • Represented foreign utility company in successful effort to prevent the confirmation and enforcement of a $27 million arbitration award in federal court.
  • Successfully obtained set-aside of seven-figure default judgment on appeal in complex commercial dispute involving interrelated state, federal, and bankruptcy procedural law issues.
  • Primary draftsman of amicus curiae brief filed in the Texas Supreme Court on behalf of Texas Representative and public interest groups in high-profile appeal involving constitutional challenges to a state statute.
  • Represented medical technology company in multimillion-dollar patent and antitrust litigation.
  • Represented technology and manufacturing company in international arbitration proceedings related to complex industrial equipment.
  • Represented local employer and secured pretrial dismissal of all claims in dispute with former employee.
  • Obtained early dismissal of all claims on behalf of major medical device manufacturer in litigation involving allegations of strict products liability, negligence, and breach of warranty.
  • Successfully represented local businesses in appellate review proceedings before municipal organizations.
Sample of Reported Opinions
  • Robinson v. EOR-ARK, LLC et al., 841 F.3d 781 (8th Cir. 2016).
  • Staton Holdings, Inc. v. Tatum, LLC, No. 05-12-01408-CV, 2014 WL 2583668 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2014, pet. denied).
  • Petrobras America, Inc. v. Astra Oil Trading NV, No. 01–11–00073–CV, 2012 WL 1068311 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2012).
  • Transcor Astra Group S.A. v. Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. - Petrobras, 409 F. App'x. 787 (5th Cir. 2011).
  • PRSI Trading Co. LP vs. Astra Oil Trading NV et al., No. 01-10-00517-CV, 2011 WL 3820817 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2011).

The Best Lawyers in America®, Commercial Litigation, 2022-2024