- U.S. District Court, Western, Eastern, Northern and Southern Districts of Texas
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits
- U.S. Supreme Court
University of Texas at Austin, JD, 1971
- Project Editor, Law Review
University of Texas at Austin, BBA, 1968
Richard Warren Mithoff has been described by the National Law Journal as “one of the nation’s highest profile litigators,” and the Texas Lawyer, noting his “impressive trial record,” has described his approach to the law as “magic.”He has consistently been named among the top trial lawyers in the country:
- 2017 Houston Men of Distinction - for Excellence in Community Achievement
- 2017 Texas Access to Justice - Joe Jamail Endowment for Legal Services for Veterans
- 2016 Joe Jamail Award for Justice by Aid for Victims of Domestic Abuse
- 2016 Professional Excellence Award, Lifetime Achiever -- Texas Lawyer
- 2016 Texas Watch - Champion of Justice
- 2015 Leon Green Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Legal Profession -- Texas Law Review
- 2014 Lifetime of Excellence in Advocacy Award - Texas Association of Civil Trial & Appellate Specialists
- Top 10 Texas “SuperLawyers” Texas Monthly (2003-2007, 2009-2013, 2017-2018)
- Texas SuperLawyers 2003 - 2018
- Top Five “Go To” Personal Injury Lawyers, Texas Lawyer (2002)
- Top 10 Trial Lawyers in the Southwest, National Law Journal (1999)
- Top 10 Trial Lawyers in the United States, Forbes (1989 and 1995)
- 2006 Outstanding Trial Lawyer of the Year – Texas Bar Association Foundation
- Best Civil Lawyer in Houston, Houston Press (1998 and 2004)
- Best Lawyers in the U.S., (1989-2016)
- American College of Trial Lawyers
- International Academy of Trial Lawyers
- International Society of Barristers
- American Board of Trial Advocates
View of video: The University of Texas School of Law Lifetime Achievement Award 2018
View a video: Richard Mithoff In One Word -- prepared by Texas Watch, honoring Richard Mithoff for his advocacy and commitment to justice.
Watch a video, prepared by Texas Appleseed, about Richard Mithoff.
Lifetime of Excellence in Advocacy Award introduction by Judge Tracy Christopher
Texas Law Review 2015 Leon Green Award introduction by former Texas Supreme Court Justice Tom Phillips
Law360 Indepth "Houston's Richard Mithoff Looks for Cliffhangers Outside of Court."
Houston Chronicle profile "A Sense of Empathy"
In naming Mr. Mithoff the “Best Civil Lawyer” in Houston in 1998 and again in 2004, the Houston Press described his courtroom style as “dazzling his opposition with pretrial maneuvers and connecting emotionally with any juror he needs,” while noting that he has “earned a reputation for honesty and forthrightness with clients, judges, and the media.”
Practicing in the area of general civil litigation, the Mithoff Law has focused on personal injury and commercial litigation, including medical malpractice, products liability, aviation, and admiralty cases. Mr. Mithoff and the firm have recovered more than $1 million by verdict or settlement in several hundred personal injury and commercial cases, and has successfully defended a number of clients in commercial cases involving claims of several hundred million dollars in the areas of breach of contract, antitrust, trade secrets, and patent infringement.
His diverse list of clients has included San Diego Padres owner John Moores, Conoco-Phillips, Texas Heart Institute, shareholders of BP stock following the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, singer Willie Nelson, the Berry children orphaned after a car accident which killed their parents, the family of former Houston Oilers owner Bud Adams, the family of police-shooting victim Pedro Oregon, the Democratic Party of Texas, J.P. Morgan Chase in the Enron litigation, Momentum Operating Co. in the Texas Panhandle oil and gas dispute, the families of five men killed in the 2005 BP Texas City explosion and the families of six elderly people burned to death in the 2005 Hurricane Rita evacuation bus fire.
Mithoff Law has been retained in a wide variety of cases, including:
- In 1998, represented Harris County in the tobacco litigation and joined with several other attorneys in securing a judgment in behalf of all Texas counties and hospital districts. He requested that $10 million from the fee he earned in that case be retained by Harris County to fund children’s health programs. The Houston Chronicle, in an editorial praising the landmark settlement, described Mr. Mithoff as a “powerhouse attorney” whose “charitable gesture is deserving of the highest accolades.”
- In 1999, in a complex trade secret dispute involving major business entities, lead negotiations for a confidential settlement in which claims against their client (the defendant) were dismissed completely, with the plaintiff paying damages to settle a counterclaim for anti-trust damages.
- In 2000, obtained a verdict against Columbia General Hospital for acting with malice in the retention of a staff physician whose botched surgery resulted in catastrophic brain injury to the patient, the first such verdict of its kind in the country. The case was subsequently settled after it was reversed and remanded for new trial.
- In 2002, won a verdict in behalf of the family of a man killed in a rollover accident, securing a judgment against Sears, the tire retailer, in the first verdict in the country involving a Bridgestone/Firestone tire since the recall in 2000. Settled on appeal.
- In 2002, filed suit in behalf of four people seriously injured or killed following bariatric bypass surgery. Cases were settled and the suits prompted the Texas Board of Medical Examiners to investigate, fine and place the doctor on probation. Cases settled. Story featured on CBS 48 Hours.
- In 2003, negotiated a settlement in behalf of the family of a 9-year-old child burned to death in a fire resulting from a rear-end collision with a Houston Metro bus, prompting calls for reform, in the hiring and training procedures of the bus operator First Transit.
- In 2003, represented the 42-year-old victim of explosion at Imperial Sugar Co. facility in Sugar Land, Texas, citing defects with its explosion suppression system.
- In 2004, won a verdict against Progressive Insurance Company, among others, for negligence in arranging for a rental car for a man known by the company to have had a recent history of convictions for driving while intoxicated, resulting in the collision, fire and death of a 56-year-old woman. Settled on appeal.
- Also in 2005 represented families of five victims killed in the explosion at the BP plant in Texas City. Confidential settlement.
- In 2008 and 2009, as lead liaison counsel for the plaintiffs, led the negotiation of a settlement for the families of nursing home passengers who died or were injured in fleeing Hurricane Rita in a bus. Represented the families of seven people who died in the bus fire.
- In 2007, won a verdict against Allied Van Lines in behalf of the families of a 9-year-old child and an 18-year-old woman burned to death along with two victims severely burned in a fire after a rear-end collision with the 18-wheeler. Case affirmed by appeals court.
- In 2008 and again in 2010, filed suit against two different bus companies involved in accidents in South Texas, which killed and injured passengers. Both (unrelated) cases settled confidentially.
- In 2009, represented the widow of a offshore oil rig worker from San Antonio, killed in a helicopter crash caused by a defective windshield. Confidential settlement.
- In 2010, represented the family of a young college student, killed in her Dallas apartment by a maintenance man, employed by the complex.
- In 2011, represented the family of a Houston couple, killed when an Air France jetliner crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South America. The couple was the only Americans onboard. Confidential settlement
- In 2012, hired to represent the three Berry children, orphaned by a horrific accident which killed their parents and left the two boys paralyzed. The case against Chrysler is pending.
- In 2012, appointed lead plaintiff’s co-counsel in suit representing shareholders of BP stock, impacted financially by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill and deadly explosion.
- In 2012, retained by Vantage Drilling Co. in its multi-million suit against BP, blaming it for increase in financing costs stemming from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill
- In 2012, represented the family of an Austin man, killed when a gas leak ignited his house, causing an explosion and fire. Confidential settlement
- In 2013, represented the Texas Heart Institute in contract dispute with St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital. The case was settled and THI was the recipient of $220 million in contractual obligations over the next decade by the new owners of St. Luke’s, Catholic Health Initiative.
- In 2013, retained by the city of Houston to pursue litigation against the international banks that defrauded the city in its investments utilizing LIBOR market information.
- In 2013, the organizers of Early To Rise, a ballot initiative to provide pre-K education to low income children, sought the legal advice concerning upcoming election.
- In 2013, hired by the Houston Rockets to represent the team in litigation involving the Houston Astros and Comcast.
- In 2014, helped settled the $7 million estate of Houstonian James Martin Hill Jr., and arranged for the disbursement to 14 local charities, as named in the will.
- In 2015 - Member of team that represented a motorist who sustained serious and permanent injuries, including paraplegia, when the motorist’s Nissan Titan truck rolled over during the course of driving along a roadway that was under construction, where the roadway surface had been excavated with a drop-off into dirt and/or gravel. Plaintiff asserted negligence claims against the roadway contractor, SMC Builders, Inc., and the Texas Department of Transportation, and asserted design, manufacturing, marketing, stability, handling, instruction, and warning product defect claims against Nissan. Confidental settlement.
- In 2015 hired by Harris County as lead counsel (for all Texas counties) in its suit against Volkswagen for fraudently manifpulating emission controls in their vehicles.
- In 2016 retained by more than 400 residents of the San Jacinto River neighborhood to represent them in a water contamination and pullution case.
- In 2017 received a $39.95 million jury verdict in behalf of the widow and children of a Houston firefighter, killed in a bike accident with a landscaping company trailer.
Mr. Mithoff won the first case to establish a defect in silicone breast implants in a landmark decision in 1977, and he and his firm in recent years have recovered millions for clients in breast implant litigation.
Nationally, he is recognized for his “pioneering litigation” in cases of babies suffering brain damage during childbirth. One of his first widely publicized cases involved a settlement in a malpractice case against a Pasadena hospital in behalf of a child injured at birth. The case was featured on ABC’s Nightline and led to changes in the laws relating to hospital reporting requirements for the misconduct of doctors.
A judgment obtained in 1997 by Mr. Mithoff in behalf of a pregnant woman against a hospital and anesthesiologist with a history of drug abuse required the hospital to make sweeping changes in its by-laws and drug screening procedures--an order described as a “precedent setting decision” by the American Hospital Association.
Another landmark case won by Mr. Mithoff in 1993 involving the death of a young woman from hyponatremia--a low sodium condition affecting primarily women and young children following the use of improper IV solutions after surgery. The verdict resulted in changes in hospital procedures concerning the use of such IV fluids, and one of the experts involved in recommending these changes has estimated that such changes will save thousands of lives every year.
Mr. Mithoff has also been involved in many other landmark cases over the years in which resulting changes in product design or usage have led to a reduction in risk of injury. These cases include litigation involving the defective Dalkon Shield IUD, which increased the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, and defective tampons, which elevated the dangers of toxic shock syndrome.
A native of Lufkin and reared in El Paso, Mr. Mithoff attended the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in business administration. After graduating in 1968, he enrolled in the UT Law School, graduating in 1971. He was Project Editor of the Texas Law Review in his final year at UT. Following graduation, he clerked for U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice. In 1974, he went into practice with legendary trial attorney Joe Jamail with the firm that later became Jamail, Kolius & Mithoff. In 1984 he established the Mithoff Law Firm.
Mr. Mithoff has endowed a series of scholarships at his alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin, including a Presidential Scholarship in law for educationally, socially and culturally disadvantaged students at the UT Law School, a Presidential Scholarship for disabled students at UT Business School and an endowed professorship in neonatal/perinatal medicine at the UT School of Medicine. The UT Medical School endowment funded community outreach perinatal centers, as well as the Life Flight program to bring injured babies quickly from outlying community hospitals to major medical centers.
In 2014 The University of Texas School of Law renamed its pro bono center the Richard and Ginni Mithoff Pro Bono Center, following a total of $2 million in donations from the Mithoffs. In 2015 the UT School of Law presented him with the Leon Green Award for outstanding contributions to the legal profession. Former Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court Tom Phillips introduced him at that event.
Active in State Bar committees and Continuing Legal Education, Mr. Mithoff has served on the Supreme Court of Texas Committee on Judicial Appointments, on the State Bar of Texas Committee on Pattern Jury Charges, and as Special Assistant Disciplinary Counsel to the Texas Commission for Lawyer Discipline. He has also been a guest speaker at many seminars on a variety of topics throughout the country. He has served as president of the Houston Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates and president of the Houston Trial Lawyers.
In 1997, Mr. Mithoff was awarded the Jurisprudence Award by the Anti-Defamation League in recognition of his “immense talents, persuasive ability, and energy to fight for the principles enshrined in the Constitution and the League’s mission--justice and fair treatment for all.”
Richard and Ginni Mithoff were awarded the first "Ben Taub Humanitarian Award" by Harris County Hospital District Foundation in 2000 in recognition of their philanthropic endeavors as exemplified by the “generosity, interest and advocacy for health care” of the late Ben Taub. The hospital district named its world-class trauma center the Ginni and Richard Mithoff Trauma Center at the Ben Taub Hospital in 2007.
In 2014 the couple was honored at the 24th Annual Children's Scholarship Ball, benefiting the Irvin Kaplan Children's Scholarship Fund at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center.
They were selected as Honorees at the "Children at Risk Accolades" luncheon in 2002 for their “continuous commitment and service to the children of Houston” and were honored by County Judge Robert Eckels and the Harris County Commissioners Court with a proclamation that Wednesday, October 2, 2003, be Ginni and Richard Mithoff and Children at Risk Day, in recognition of their efforts “making a positive difference in the lives of the children of our community.” The couple was honored in 2003 with the "Samaritan Spirit Award" in recognition of their “significant contributions to human health and growth” and in 2007 by Family Services of Greater Houston as the "2007 Family of the Year."
In 2008, Texas Appleseed presented Mr. Mithoff with the J. Chrys Dougherty "Good Apple Award" for his lifetime commitment to justice and his pursuit of diversity and highest standards for the legal profession. A video presentation was created for this event.
In 2006 the Texas Bar Foundation awarded him the Ronald D. Secrest "Outstanding Trial Lawyer of the Year."
In 2010, Mr. Mithoff was awarded the "Clarence Darrow Award" by the Harris County Democratic Lawyers Association.
In 2012 Richard and Ginni Mithoff were given the "Amazing Grace Award" by Childbuilders, for their commitment to working with children and families.
In 2016 Texas Watch - a non-partisan citizen advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that corporations and insurance companies are accountable to their customers - named him the 2016 Champion of Justice.
In 2017, Access to Justice honored Mr. Mithoff for setting up the Joe Jamail Endowment for legal services for veterans. He was honored by Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht.
In 2018 The University of Texas School of Law honored Mr. Mithoff with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Mr. Mithoff enjoys skiing and mountain climbing. His summits have included Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa and the Grand Teton in Wyoming, as well as numerous climbs in Patagonia (South America), the Pyrenees (Spain), Mont Blanc range (France), Drakensberg range (South Africa), and numerous rock climbs in Wyoming and Colorado. He and his wife, Ginni, have two grown children, Michael and Caroline, and five grandchildren: Mia, daughter of Michael and his wife, Melissa and their twin sons, Max and Matthew, and Isabella and Alex, children of Caroline Mithoff and her husband Scott Perez.
- ConocoPhillips Wants $63 million settlement reimbursed by Noble Energy
HOUSTON -- A state appeals court in Houston agreed Wednesday with ConocoPhillips that Noble Energy owes responsibility to indemnify, or reimburse, ConocoPhillips with respect to a $63 million settlement for an environmental claim for damage to an oil field in Cameron Parish, Louisiana.
Handling the case for ConocoPhillips was The Mithoff Law firm -- Richard Mithoff, Sherie Beckman and Warner Hocker; from Baker-Botts Tom Phillips and Macey Stokes, Ben Geslison and Omar Alanz.
The family of Houston fire Capt. Mark Braswell, killed three years ago in a bike wreck won a wrongful death verdict of $39 million, targeting one of the nation's largest landscaping companies.
Harris County Public Health has recently sent letters to some residents who live near the San Jacinto Waste Pits warning them not to drink their tap water due to the discovery of highly toxic chemicals in local wells.
Attorneys for BP investors told a federal judge that the British oil company misled the market for years on how safe its deep-water drilling operations were in the lead-up to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
- Litigator of the Week
- As clock winds down mineral owner wants payment calculation verified
A Karnes County mineral owner has sued Marathon Oil Corp. to figure out whether the company is paying royalties correctly -- a common lawsuit in South Texas' 400-mile Eagle Ford Shale oil field and one that's in the rise.
American College of Trial Lawyers
International Academy of Trial Lawyers
International Society of Barristers
American Bar Association
State Bar of Texas
American Board of Trial Advocates
Houston Trial Lawyers Association
Houston Bar Association
Texas Trial Lawyers Association
American Association for Justice
Houston Bar Foundation
Texas Bar Foundation
Honors & Awards
- 2017 Men of Distinction - Houston
2017 Texas Access to Justice -- Joe Jamail Endowment for Legal Services for Veterans
2016 Joe Jamail Award for Justice by Aid for Victims of Domestic Abuse
2016 Texas Watch - Champion of Justice
2015 Leon Green Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Legal Profession -- Texas Law Review
- 2014 Lifetime of Excellence in Advocacy Award - Texas Association of Civil Trial & Appellate Specialists
- Top 10 Texas Super Lawyers, Texas Monthly, 2003-2007, 2009-2013, 2017-2018
- Top Five “Go To” Personal Injury Lawyers, Texas Lawyer, 2002
- Top 10 Trial Lawyers in the Southwest, National Law Journal, 1999
- Top 10 Trial Lawyers in the United States, Forbes, 1989 and 1995
- 2006 Outstanding Trial Lawyer of the Year – Texas Bar Foundation
- Best Civil Lawyer in Houston, Houston Press, 1998 and 2004
- Best Lawyers in the U.S., 1989-2017 U.S. News and World Report
- Texas SuperLawyers, 2003-2018