Kelsi Stayart White

Associate

Kelsi Stayart White

Associate

  • P: 713-600-4983
  • F: 713-655-0062
  • kwhite@azalaw.com
  • vCard

Kelsi Stayart White focuses on dispositive motions and appeals in state and federal court in all areas of commercial litigation. She has handled cases involving contracts, trade secrets, insurance, non-compete agreements, employment disputes, and secured lending. Since joining AZA in 2016, Ms. White has gained substantial trial experience, including trying multiple cases to juries and the bench in both state and federal court, handling an international arbitration, and seeking and defending temporary restraining orders and temporary injunctions. Because of that experience, she brings a trial lawyer’s practical perspective and communication skills to high-stakes motions and appellate briefs.

Ms. White won an argument to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Melinda Abbt v. City of Houston.  The court reversed a hostile work environment summary judgment order in a Houston firefighter’s case, setting two new precedents in hostile work environment cases. The panel found AZA’s firefighter client did not need to experience harassment in real time for it to be actionable. And the appellate panel ruled that the City of Houston can be liable if a workplace harassment report goes up the chain of command but stops because a supervisor who was a recipient of the notice is also a participant in the harassment. This is the first time the court has ruled on these issues.

Ms. White was named to the 2021 and 2022 lists of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch for commercial litigation. This is a national peer review award developed by Best Lawyers in America to target associates for their outstanding professional excellence early in their careers. She was also named on the 2022 Texas Rising Stars list for her excellence in plaintiff civil litigation. Rising Stars, which is compiled by Thomson Reuters’ Texas Super Lawyers, honors leading attorneys age 40 and younger and those who have been in practice no more than 10 years.

Ms. White is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law. She served as a law clerk for Judge Leslie H. Southwick, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. During law school she served as associate editor of the Texas Law Review, and interned for U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Tony M. Davis in Austin.  She graduated with highest honors, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Texas at Austin.

Kelsi Stayart White focuses on dispositive motions and appeals in state and federal court in all areas of commercial litigation. She has handled cases involving contracts, trade secrets, insurance, non-compete agreements, employment disputes, and secured lending. Since joining AZA in 2016, Ms. White has gained substantial trial experience, including trying multiple cases to juries and the bench in both state and federal court, handling an international arbitration, and seeking and defending temporary restraining orders and temporary injunctions. Because of that experience, she brings a trial lawyer’s practical perspective and communication skills to high-stakes motions and appellate briefs.

Ms. White won an argument to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Melinda Abbt v. City of Houston.  The court reversed a hostile work environment summary judgment order in a Houston firefighter’s case, setting two new precedents in hostile work environment cases. The panel found AZA’s firefighter client did not need to experience harassment in real time for it to be actionable. And the appellate panel ruled that the City of Houston can be liable if a workplace harassment report goes up the chain of command but stops because a supervisor who was a recipient of the notice is also a participant in the harassment. This is the first time the court has ruled on these issues.

Ms. White was named to the 2021 and 2022 lists of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch for commercial litigation. This is a national peer review award developed by Best Lawyers in America to target associates for their outstanding professional excellence early in their careers. She was also named on the 2022 Texas Rising Stars list for her excellence in plaintiff civil litigation. Rising Stars, which is compiled by Thomson Reuters’ Texas Super Lawyers, honors leading attorneys age 40 and younger and those who have been in practice no more than 10 years.

Ms. White is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law. She served as a law clerk for Judge Leslie H. Southwick, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. During law school she served as associate editor of the Texas Law Review, and interned for U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Tony M. Davis in Austin.  She graduated with highest honors, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Texas at Austin.

REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS

  • Successfully defended on appeal the denial of an anti-SLAPP motion filed on the eve of trial and obtained affirmance of sanctions award against the movant. Patriot Contracting, LLC v. Mid-Main Properties, LP, No. 14-20-00724-CV, 2022 WL 1251236 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Apr. 28, 2022, no pet. h.). Read more about the win here: https://azalaw.com/aza-beats-frivolous-anti-slapp-appeal-in-construction-case/
  • Secured reversal of summary-judgment order on Title VII harassment claim as lead counsel for all briefing and oral argument before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Abbt v. City of Houston, No. 20-20085 (Mar. 11, 2022).
  • Successfully argued hearing on a motion for jury instruction on spoliation of evidence in federal court in 2021, resulting in a favorable settlement for defendant-client
  • Caused a wrongful death lawsuit against AZA client to be completely abandoned by plaintiff after seeing our summary judgment motion. Rather than respond, the plaintiff simply dropped the lawsuit.
  • Obtained significant final arbitration award for a commodities trading company in a commercial supply contract dispute in 2020. In January 2020, Ms. White won an emergency arbitration order requiring the counterparty to continue performing the contract. Ms. White and her AZA colleague Nathan Campbell handled case development, discovery, the final evidentiary hearing, and post-hearing briefing.
  • Drafted successful dispositive motions in a non-compete dispute in Texas state court in 2020, including obtaining reformation of a non-compete agreement prior to a temporary injunction hearing.
  • Obtained a temporary injunction against two former employees in a trade-secret misappropriation case on behalf of large drilling contractor in 2021 after a two-day evidentiary hearing and previously securing a temporary restraining order.
  • Served as lead counsel for briefing and oral argument before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in 2019 in a secured lending dispute .
  • Secured a six-figure award of attorneys’ fees in a bench trial in Texas state court in February 2019.
  • Defended popular Houston restaurant Turkey Leg Hut in a nuisance lawsuit in 2019. Just days after being hired, Ms. White and the AZA team won a modification to a previously entered temporary restraining order, which lifted burdensome restrictions on the restaurant’s operations. Two weeks later, the plaintiffs dismissed the lawsuit.
  • Served as second-chair in a federal jury trial for a plaintiff secured creditor in a UCC dispute in 2018.

EDUCATION

  • University of Texas School of Law, J.D. with highest honors, May 2015
    • Chancellors Society
    • Order of the Coif
    • Associate Editor – Texas Law Review
    • Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition
    • American Bankruptcy Institute Medal of Excellence Awards
    • Dean’s Achievement Awards – Outstanding Student in Constitutional Law I
  • University of Texas at Austin, B.A., with highest honors, December 2011
    • Phi Beta Kappa

BAR ADMISSIONS

  • State Bar of Texas
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

HONORS AND AWARDS

  • Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, 2021-2022
  • Texas Rising Stars, 2022

PUBLICATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS

  • Experts & Disqualifications, 43rd Annual University of Texas Page Keeton Conference, presented with U.S. District Judge Jeff Brown, Nov. 22, 2019
  • Non-Compete Agreements: Leveling Up Trial Techniques and Litigation Strategies, webinar, Knowledge Group CLE , Nov. 20, 2019
  • SLAPP Your Opponents: What Employment Lawyers Need to Know about the Anti-SLAPP Law, State Bar of Texas Webcast, Oct. 2, 2018
  • Witness Credibility in Trials and Depositions, In-House Summit in Dallas, Texas on Sept. 20, 2018
  • How to Try a Trade Secret Case in a Post-M.I. Swaco World, before the Houston Bar Association Litigation Section, Sept. 5, 2018
  • Elizabeth Pannill Fletcher &  Kelsi Stayart White, Litigating Non-Compete and Trade Secret Cases, white paper for American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law, 11th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference, November 2017, Washington, D.C.
  • Jay Lawrence Westbrook & Kelsi Stayart White, The Demystification of Contracts in Bankruptcy, 91 American Bankruptcy Law Journal  481, Issue 3 (Summer 2017)

IN THE NEWS

REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS
  • Successfully defended on appeal the denial of an anti-SLAPP motion filed on the eve of trial and obtained affirmance of sanctions award against the movant. Patriot Contracting, LLC v. Mid-Main Properties, LP, No. 14-20-00724-CV, 2022 WL 1251236 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Apr. 28, 2022, no pet. h.). Read more about the win here: https://azalaw.com/aza-beats-frivolous-anti-slapp-appeal-in-construction-case/
  • Secured reversal of summary-judgment order on Title VII harassment claim as lead counsel for all briefing and oral argument before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Abbt v. City of Houston, No. 20-20085 (Mar. 11, 2022).
  • Successfully argued hearing on a motion for jury instruction on spoliation of evidence in federal court in 2021, resulting in a favorable settlement for defendant-client
  • Caused a wrongful death lawsuit against AZA client to be completely abandoned by plaintiff after seeing our summary judgment motion. Rather than respond, the plaintiff simply dropped the lawsuit.
  • Obtained significant final arbitration award for a commodities trading company in a commercial supply contract dispute in 2020. In January 2020, Ms. White won an emergency arbitration order requiring the counterparty to continue performing the contract. Ms. White and her AZA colleague Nathan Campbell handled case development, discovery, the final evidentiary hearing, and post-hearing briefing.
  • Drafted successful dispositive motions in a non-compete dispute in Texas state court in 2020, including obtaining reformation of a non-compete agreement prior to a temporary injunction hearing.
  • Obtained a temporary injunction against two former employees in a trade-secret misappropriation case on behalf of large drilling contractor in 2021 after a two-day evidentiary hearing and previously securing a temporary restraining order.
  • Served as lead counsel for briefing and oral argument before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in 2019 in a secured lending dispute .
  • Secured a six-figure award of attorneys’ fees in a bench trial in Texas state court in February 2019.
  • Defended popular Houston restaurant Turkey Leg Hut in a nuisance lawsuit in 2019. Just days after being hired, Ms. White and the AZA team won a modification to a previously entered temporary restraining order, which lifted burdensome restrictions on the restaurant’s operations. Two weeks later, the plaintiffs dismissed the lawsuit.
  • Served as second-chair in a federal jury trial for a plaintiff secured creditor in a UCC dispute in 2018.
EDUCATION
  • University of Texas School of Law, J.D. with highest honors, May 2015
    • Chancellors Society
    • Order of the Coif
    • Associate Editor – Texas Law Review
    • Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition
    • American Bankruptcy Institute Medal of Excellence Awards
    • Dean’s Achievement Awards – Outstanding Student in Constitutional Law I
  • University of Texas at Austin, B.A., with highest honors, December 2011
    • Phi Beta Kappa
BAR ADMISSIONS
  • State Bar of Texas
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
HONORS AND AWARDS
  • Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, 2021-2022
  • Texas Rising Stars, 2022
PUBLICATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS
  • Experts & Disqualifications, 43rd Annual University of Texas Page Keeton Conference, presented with U.S. District Judge Jeff Brown, Nov. 22, 2019
  • Non-Compete Agreements: Leveling Up Trial Techniques and Litigation Strategies, webinar, Knowledge Group CLE , Nov. 20, 2019
  • SLAPP Your Opponents: What Employment Lawyers Need to Know about the Anti-SLAPP Law, State Bar of Texas Webcast, Oct. 2, 2018
  • Witness Credibility in Trials and Depositions, In-House Summit in Dallas, Texas on Sept. 20, 2018
  • How to Try a Trade Secret Case in a Post-M.I. Swaco World, before the Houston Bar Association Litigation Section, Sept. 5, 2018
  • Elizabeth Pannill Fletcher &  Kelsi Stayart White, Litigating Non-Compete and Trade Secret Cases, white paper for American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law, 11th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference, November 2017, Washington, D.C.
  • Jay Lawrence Westbrook & Kelsi Stayart White, The Demystification of Contracts in Bankruptcy, 91 American Bankruptcy Law Journal  481, Issue 3 (Summer 2017)

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Houston, TX 77010
(713) 655-1101

© 2022 All rights reserved.

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