Mr. Kerlin is an attorney in the litigation group of the Vorys Houston office. His practice focuses on commercial litigation and mass torts and he has worked on matters ranging from claims for mesothelioma, asbestosis, and benzene and other chemical exposures to breach of contract and commercial and residential lending liability in state and federal court. He has also represented individuals, manufacturers, construction contractors and engineers in commercial disputes including business disparagement and defamation actions and personal injury matters.
Mr. Kerlin has significant appellate experience and has presented oral arguments and filed briefs for clients in intermediate Texas Courts of Appeal, the Supreme Court of Texas, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Career highlights include:
- Lead counsel for national bank defending lending liability claims and prosecuting deficiency actions throughout Texas in federal and state court. Representative cases included defense of holder of notes for wrongful foreclosure and breach of fiduciary duty claims by loan servicer and of Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., claims premised on erroneous reporting by mortgage servicer with potential exposure to over 900,000 mortgages.
- Lead counsel representing investment consortium for breach of purchase agreement for collaterized mortgage obligations with a face value of $500,000,000.
- Lead associate and trial counsel for Fortune 200 chemical company in a multitude of personal injury lawsuits pending in state and federal multidistrict litigation courts in which product, premises, and employer claims for exposure to asbestos are asserted. Mr. Kerlin has successfully resolved, for less than one percent of the settlement demands, hundreds of cases in which plaintiffs’ aggregate demands exceeded $100 million. Lead counsel for national bank defending lending liability claims and prosecuting deficiency actions throughout Texas in federal and state court.
- Lead associate and primary attorney handling defense of construction contractor in Dallas County for claims that plaintiff’s multiple back surgeries, including 360 degree spinal fusion and intrathecal morphine pump, were necessary and were caused by a traumatic injury at worksite. Plaintiff demanded $3.4 million to settle his claims and the case was successfully resolved two weeks before trial for a confidential sum of less than ten percent of plaintiff’s original demand.
- Lead associate and primary attorney handling hundreds of claims for indemnity in product liability personal injury lawsuits filed in Arkansas for Canadian rubber manufacturer. Successfully obtained dismissals for client based on lack of personal jurisdiction.
- Trial and appellate counsel for major chemical company that prevailed on summary judgment based on limitations for case in which plaintiff asserted lung cancer claims. Plaintiff’s appeal based on the trial court’s application and scope of the discovery rule currently pending in the Houston Court of Appeals. Charles Joseph Hyman, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton, et al. No. 01-07-00700.
- Trial and appellate counsel defending petrochemical process engineering firm in a lawsuit filed in Harris County and appealed to the Houston Court of Appeals in which the appellate court reversed and rendered a take-nothing judgment in favor of client on the application and scope of the certificate of merit statute for design professionals. UOP L.L.C. v. Kozak, 2010 WL 2026037 (Tex. App.—Hous. [1st Dist.] May 20, 2010, no pet.)
- Trial and appellate counsel defending a Fortune 500 retailer in a lawsuit in Bexar County and in the San Antonio Court of Appeals in which a 10-year-old default judgment in excess of $3.5 million has been challenged by bill of review. PNS Stores Inc. v. Rivera, 335 S.W.3d 265 (Tex. App.—San Antonio, 2010, pet. granted Sept. 30, 2011) Oral arguments in the Supreme Court of Texas (No.10-1028) were held on Jan. 11, 2012 and the intermediate court of appeals opinion was reversed on August 31, 2012. Represented client in parallel federal appeal which involved same claimant that was decided by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Rachel Rivera v. PNS Stores, Inc.; No. 10-50328 (op. issued July 15, 2011) (holding dismissals under Rule 56 are “with prejudice to refiling”). Petition for Certiorari denied.
- Represented numerous clients in business disparagement and defamation claims including those based on false statements made on websites, blogs and Google Maps reviews. Obtained injuctive relief ordering defendants to cease making false statements and search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo removed from their search indices.
- Trial and appellate counsel in commercial dispute in which case was dismissed for client based on lack of personal jurisdiction and affirmed on appeal. T.R.E. Inc. v. B&B Fabrication, LLC, et al, 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 4122 (Tex. App.—Beaumont May 9, 2012, no pet.).
Mr. Kerlin is a member of the American Bar Association, the Texas Bar Association the Houston Bar Association, and the Houston Young Lawyers Association. He is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Texas.
Professional and Community Activities
- Houston Young Lawyers Association, Member, 2005 – present
- Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Committee Member for the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, Beverage Stands Sub-Committee, 2010 - present.