Dr. Pierre Grosdidier is an associate in the Business Litigation Practice Group in the Houston office of Haynes and Boone, LLP. Pierre’s practice focuses on complex commercial, construction, energy, and technology litigation. He litigates and tries lawsuits that arise from disputes in construction, engineering, technology, software, and the sciences. He has litigated cases stemming from construction contractual disputes, construction defects, industrial accidents (stemming from equipment failures), engineering services projects, computer and software projects, copyright and software copyright infringements, computer piracy, and trade secret thefts. These cases have involved buildings, industrial production facilities, pipelines, drilling equipment, supply chain software, and various computer hardware and software systems. Pierre makes full use of his engineering experience to identify and get beyond the core technical issues that drive these lawsuits, in order to focus on their legal merits. Pierre also leverages his engineering, software and project management background to efficiently organize and lead complex ESI preservation, collection, and review projects. Pierre enjoys writing papers in his spare time, and researching the case law for issues of law that uniquely affect foreign litigants (especially litigants from French-speaking countries) in U.S. Courts. He has represented clients in both Texas state and federal courts, and has solo jury-trial experience.
Pierre also works with the firm’s Intellectual Property and Labor and Employment Practice Groups to help draft digital systems (e.g., computer, database, network, hand-held device, etc.) use agreements that reflect the latest legislation, case law, and litigation trends in this domain.
Before law school, Pierre practiced engineering, and was a recognized expert in multivariable process control and process operation information systems. He has more than eighteen years of experience in leading-edge software application development and implementation in the petroleum refining industry.
Pierre was born in Douala, Cameroon, and grew up in the Côte d’Ivoire. He received his engineering education at McGill University in Montréal, and at Caltech. He obtained his law degree with Honors from the University of Texas at Austin.
Pierre has been involved in the following significant litigation and arbitration matters:
- Representation of a real-estate company in a case involving claims of unauthorized computer access under the Stored Communications Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The case is litigated in federal court in the Southern District of Texas.
- Representation of an energy company in an underground trespass suit wherein the litigating parties own different oil-bearing formations under the same surface estate. The case is litigated in federal court in the Southern District of Texas.
- Representation of an energy company in a soil contamination dispute stemming from the operation of a domestic refinery. The case is under arbitration before the AAA.
- Representation of a bulk metal producer in a theft of trade secret case in Texas state court.
- Representation of an energy company in a breach of contract claim related to a pipeline construction project. The case was arbitrated before the AAA. Pierre mounted a defense so effective that the claimant withdrew his complaint within months of the start of arbitration proceedings.
- Representation of an ultra-high-purity chemical production equipment manufacturer in a civil action involving breach-of-contract and tort claims regarding engineering services, technology licensing, and joint sales agreements. The case was litigated in federal court in the Southern District of Texas and settled under very favorable terms for the client.
- Representation of a software company in Texas state court in a dispute that involved claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Texas Computer Crime Law against a former employee. The case settled quickly under terms very favorable to the client.
- Representation of an oil company in a pipeline construction dispute; acted as second chair in a two-week jury trial in Texas state court that fully vindicated the defendant oil company where plaintiff sought a $24 million verdict.
- Representation of two different real estate investment groups (based in Texas and Colorado) whose commercial buildings suffered from pervasive roof-construction defects. One of these cases settled under very favorable terms for the client; two other cases are pending.
- Representation of an energy partnership in a complex technical breach-of-contract and negligence dispute wherein an equipment failure caused considerable material and lost profit damages. The case settled under favorable terms for the client.
- Representation of a landlord in breach of lease cases. Obtained a directed verdict in one case and a favorable settlement in the other.
- Obtained a favorable disposition that fully vindicated the defendant in a software copyright infringement case.
- Successful representation of a defendant in a lawsuit involving the unauthorized sale of copyrighted pictures on Internet. The plaintiff agreed to non-suit the case.
- Prevailed in a trespass-to-try-title action and recovered a building stolen from its owner through a forged deed.
- Managed a complex e-discovery project in a DOJ anti-trust investigation. Electronic documents were collected at four client locations in the United States. Documents were processed and reviewed in the United States and in the Far East with the assistance of two computer solutions providers (one in the United States and one in the Far East).
- Part of a team that successfully represented a chip-maker in a breach of contract and trade secret theft lawsuit.
- Managed a complex e-discovery project in a breach-of-contract lawsuit. Electronic documents were collected at two client locations in the United States and Europe with the help of a computer solutions provider. Documents were reviewed in the United States through contract attorneys.
- Part of a team that successfully represented an engineering software vendor in several breach of contract claims arising out of multi-million dollar software license and development projects.
- Part of a team that successfully represented an international retail chain in ICC arbitration. Pierre used his French-language fluency to locate ICC tribunal decisions favorable to Haynes and Boone's client's position.
- Part of a team that represented a multi-national corporation in a DOJ FCPA investigation.
Selected Professional and Business Activities
- Chairman of the Legal and Banking Committee and the Membership Committee of the French-American Chamber of Commerce (FACC). www.facchouston.com
- Past Board Member and Treasurer of the Awty International School, 2008-11.
- Past Board Member and Treasurer of the Lycée Français de Toronto, 2001-03.
Recent Legal Publications
- "Expect Foreign Privacy Law Defense to U.S. Discovery to Fail," guest article, Law360, March 7, 2014.
- "The French Blocking Statute, the Hague Evidence Convention, and the Case Law: Lessons for French Parties Responding to American Discovery," (2014).
- "When Hacking an Email Account Doesn't Violate the SCA," Law360, December 11, 2013.
- "More Proof of Texas Courts' Split on Certificate of Merit," Law360, October 24, 2013.
- "Texas Courts Split on Certificate of Merit," Law360, October 22, 2013.
- "Pitfalls Await Those Who Do Not Think Through TTLA Claims," guest author, Law360, October 15, 2013.
- "Choose Your Friends - and Privacy Settings - Wisely," guest author, Law360, October 2, 2013.
- "Les avocats aux Etats-Unis," 2013.
- "Computer & Internet Crimes - Where Will it End? The Ninth Circuit Decides to Revisit when a User "Exceeds Authorized Access" under the CFAA," Bloomberg Law Reports, January 2012.
- "Direct and Consequential Damages in Contract Disputes," Law360, November 2011.
- "The Danger With Time Bombs - Can Your Software Vendor Lock Up Your Software so That You Have to Buy an Upgrade? Maybe not," ControlGlobal.com, October 2011.
- "A Case Study of Data Manipulation by a Prominent Expert Witness," contributor, with Michael J. Mazzone, Forensic Expert Witness Association, July 2011.
- "Un litige commercial aux Etats-Unis (en deux parties)," (2011).
- "Annual Review of Litigation, Chapter 3: Appellate Practice," contributor, with Kendyl Hanks and Mark Trachtenberg, American Bar Association, Section of Business Law, April 2011.
- "ESI Preservation and Collection - Issues and Solutions," (2010).
- "Devenir avocat aux Etats-Unis," (2009).
- "Two Issues of Interest to Franchisors and Franchisees," (2009).
- "Analysis of Records Hold Issues and Case Law on the Duty to Preserve Data," (2008).
Selected Technical Publications
- "Improve APC Project Success," P. Grosdidier, Hydrocarbon Processing, Vol. 83, No. 10, (2004).
- "Value Proposition for Oil Accounting - Parts 1 and 2," P. Grosdidier and M. McLaughlin, Hydrocarbon Processing, Vol. 82, Nos. 4 and 5, (2003).
- "Understand Operation Information Systems," P. Grosdidier, Hydrocarbon Processing, Vol. 77, No. 9, (1998).
- "Economics of Blend Giveaway," P. Grosdidier, Hydrocarbon Processing, Vol. 76, No. 11, 55, (1997).
- "FCC Unit Reactor-Regenerator Control," P. Grosdidier, A. Mason, A. Aitolahti, P. Heinonen and V. Vanhamäki, Computers and Chemical Engineering, Vol. 17, 165, (1993).
- "Crude Unit Product Quality Control," K. Muske, J. Young, P. Grosdidier and S. Tani, Computers and Chemical Engineering, Vol. 15, 629, (1991).
- "Integral Controllability of Integrating Systems," P. Grosdidier and M. Morari, Ind. Eng. Res., Vol. 29, 2160, (1990).
- "Interaction Measures for Systems Under Decentralized Control," P. Grosdidier and M. Morari, Vol. 22, 309, Automatica, (1986).
- "Closed-Loop properties from Steady-State Gain Information," P. Grosdidier, M. Morari and B. R. Holt, Ind. Eng. Chem. Fundam., Vol.24, 221, (1985).
Selected Representative Experience
Jesco Operating, L.P. v. Hess Corporation, 402 S.W.3d 320 (Tex. App.--Houston [14th Dist.] 2013, no pet.)
Successfully defended a take-nothing judgment following a jury trial that defeated a multi-million dollar claim for breach of contract arising out of a pipeline construction dispute.
Pipeline Construction Dispute (2013)
Fully successful defense action against a pipeline contractor that sued for additional payments for services that were required because of the contractor’s own defective work. The plaintiff agreed to drop the case.
Unauthorized Computer Access by Former Employee
Representation of a company victim of a time bomb planted in its computer system by a former employee. The case settled on terms very favorable to our client.
Unauthorized Computer Access - Smart Device
Representation of a company accused of accessing a smart device in a manner that exceeds authorization. The case is litigated in federal court and involves claims under the Stored Communications Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and other common law claims.
BASF v. Lummus Technology, No. 2012-36085 (190th Dist. Ct., Harris County, Tex.) (2011-12)
Suit to recover damages caused by the catastrophic failure of equipment in a chemical processing plant.
Beltway v. Rosenberger, No. 2009-55551 (333rd Dist. Ct., Harris County, Tex.) (2009-11)
Suit to recover damages caused by defective building construction materials. The case settled with terms favorable to our client.
Chereau v. Garrigue, No. PR-09-1201-3 (Probate Ct. No. 3, Dallas County, Tex. (2009-10)
Suit to successfully recover title to a building stolen through a forged deed filed in Dallas real property records.
03/07/2014 - Law360 Guest Article: Expect Foreign Privacy Law Defense to US Discovery to Fail
The Delaware Court of Chancery recently rejected a party’s attempt to object to the production of documents located in France on basis of the French Data Protection Act (“FDPA”). In re Activision Blizzard Inc. Stockholder Litig., C.A. No. 8885-VCL, --- A.3d ---, (Del. Ch. Feb. 21, 2014) (Laster, Vice Chancellor).
01/31/2014 - The French blocking statute, the Hague Evidence Convention, and the case law: lessons for French parties responding to American discovery
This memorandum offers an overview of all recorded cases in U.S. courts where parties invoke the French blocking statute, or the Hague Convention (as it applies to France), or both.
01/13/2014 - Pitfalls Await Plaintiffs Who Do Not Think Through Trade Secret Theft Claims under the Texas Theft Liability Act
Victims of trade secret theft in Texas can sue under common law theories of recovery, including trade secret misappropriation, and they can sue under the Texas Theft Liability Act (“TTLA”).
12/11/2013 - Law360 Guest Article: When Hacking an Email Account Doesn't Violate the SCA
In October 2011, a California federal grand jury indicted Christopher Chaney for having “gained unauthorized access to the e-mail accounts of over 50 individuals,” including those of celebrities Christina Aguilera, Scarlett Johansson, and Mila Kunis.
10/25/2013 - Law360 Guest Article: More Proof Of Texas Courts' Split On Certificate Of Merit
In suits arising from the provision of professional services, the certificate of merit provides a “basis for the trial court to conclude that the plaintiff’s claims are not frivolous.” See, e.g., Dunham Engineering Inc. v. The Sherwin-Williams Co., --- S.W.3d ---, at *9 (Tex. App. — Houston [14th Dist.] 2013, no pet. h.).
10/22/2013 - Law360 Guest Article: Texas Courts Split On Certificate Of Merit
Aided by multiple revisions, the Texas Certificate of Merit Statute has accumulated a rich jurisprudence since its first version was enacted in 2003. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ch. 150. Courts now decide most cases in terms of the 2009 version of the statute. But many cases decided on basis of the prior 2005 statute remain good law.
10/03/2013 - Law360 Guest Article: Choose Your Friends — And Privacy Settings — Wisely
Congress enacted the Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2701–2711, in 1986 to protect the privacy of early electronic communications.
04/30/2013 - Comment devenir avocat aux Etats-Unis
Ce document résume les études à suivre, et les concours à passer, pour devenir avocat aux Etats-Unis.
04/30/2013 - Les avocats aux Etats-Unis
Un opérateur économique aux Etats-Unis, désigné ici sous le nom d’entrepreneur, a besoin d’un avocat, d’un banquier, et d’un comptable. Cet article traite de l’avocat. C’est le professionnel que bien des entrepreneurs préfèrent tenir à distance.
02/08/2012 - Court Decisions Could Remove Ambiguity About Unauthorized Employee Computer Access
In just a few years, the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984 (the “CFAA,” 18 U.S.C. § 1030) - a sweeping statute that criminalizes the unauthorized access of protected computers - has evolved into a broad and powerful weapon in computer-related criminal and civil litigation. Originally enacted to target hackers, the statute now reaches almost any imaginable malfeasance that involves a computer.
01/20/2012 - Bloomberg Law Reports Guest Article: Computer & Internet Crimes - Where Will it End?
In just a few years, the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984 (the "CFAA," 18 U.S.C. § 1030
) has evolved into a broad and powerful weapon in computer-related criminal and civil litigation.
11/03/2011 - Law360 Guest Column: Direct And Consequential Damages in Contract Disputes
Law360, New York (November 03, 2011, 3:08 PM ET) -- In a recent dispute where Haynes and Boone LLP represented the claimant, an arbitrator awarded over $4 million to a pipeline company that had purchased and installed respondent’s defective valves.
10/27/2011 - ControlGlobal.com Guest Article: The Danger With Time Bombs - Can Your Software Vendor Lock Up Your Software so That You Have to Buy an Upgrade? Maybe Not
In a cyberspace cloak-and-dagger story worthy of the best science fiction, the Stuxnet computer worm reportedly damaged a train of uranium enrichment centrifuges in Iran.
09/30/2011 - Un litige commercial aux Etats-Unis, 2ème partie: quelques questions de droit
Cet article décrit quelques-unes des principales questions de droit concernant un litige commercial aux Etats-Unis. Les parties dans ce procès seront souvent, mais pas toujours, des personnes morales (sociétés anonymes, par exemple) ou leurs agents.
08/31/2011 - Un litige commercial aux Etats-Unis, 1ère partie: la procédure
Ce document décrit les différentes phases d’un procès civil aux Etats-Unis concernant un contentieux commercial.
02/28/2011 - Using Technology to Meet Jurors’ Expectations
This article outlines the changing expectations juries have concerning video testimony and how to meet those expectations.
03/09/2010 - ESI Preservation and Collection - Issues and Solutions
E-discovery is complex, expensive and daunting for attorneys who are not computer savvy. It is also a potential minefield.
© Bloomberg Finance L.P. 2010. Originally published by Bloomberg Law Reports. Reprinted by permission.
08/10/2009 - Two Issues of Interest to Franchisors and Franchisees
07/15/2008 - Analysis of Records Hold Issues and Case Law on the Duty to Preserve Data
This memorandum provides an overview of the current state of the law regarding the duty to preserve documents and data.