Brian T. Coolidge Partner
Brian is a trial attorney with special expertise in commercial motor vehicle cases. He has defended hundreds of motor carriers and drivers against wrongful death and personal injury claims. He has tried a case for just about every type of commercial vehicle: semi-truck, trailer, box truck, bus, coach, van, shuttle, dump truck, and trash truck.
He also represents management in a wide variety of workplace claims. He has handled employment claims for clients before courts, arbitrators, and administrative agencies.
Brian is board certified in personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is creative and especially good at decoding the law and breaking down complex issues. Brian enjoys the challenge of trying cases to a jury. He finds it rewarding to protect and advocate for his clients.
Brian is an avid runner, cyclist and endurance athlete. He has completed numerous marathons, ultramarathons, triathlons, adventure races, road races, and bike rides. Brian has qualified for and completed in prestigious events including the Boston Marathon and the Ironman World Championship at Kona, Hawaii. Brian has been designated a USA Triathlon All American and Ironman All World Athlete.
Brian enjoys traveling, especially to national parks, mountains, and wilderness areas. He is always up for a backpacking or hiking adventure.
- South Texas College of Law, J.D., 1997
- University of North Texas, M.S., 1995
- University of North Texas, B.A., 1991
- State Bar of Texas
- Board Certified Texas Personal Injury Trial Law
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas
- United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
- United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
- Top 10 Defense Verdict: Brian was trial counsel in a case involving the death of a 12-year-old after a collision with an 18-wheeler. Brian handled the liability aspects of the defense at trial. Through his examination of the expert witnesses, Brian simplified the technical and confusing accident reconstruction for the jury. The jury returned a verdict that found the boy’s father was completely at fault for the accident. The case was selected as one of the ten biggest defense verdicts in the country. (2006, Verdict Search.)
- Bus defense verdict: Brian obtained a verdict on behalf of a bus company and its driver in a case based on a fatality accident on Interstate 45 in Harris County. A transit bus struck the decedent, who had been standing at the side of the highway. The facts were sympathetic. The photos that came into evidence were gruesome. Brian was forced to file two writs of mandamus during the course of the case. It was a contentious fight with a great result for Brian’s clients.
- Trash truck defense verdict: Brian represented the driver of a trash truck who was involved in a head-on accident with a pickup truck in Galveston County. Sadly, the 16-year-old driver of the pickup and his girlfriend were killed. The girl’s family claimed the driver of the trash truck was going too fast and should not have been in the area because it was a “no-trucks” zone. Brian overcame the sympathetic facts, and the jury placed no negligence on the trash truck driver.
- Shuttle bus defense verdict: Brian attained a favorable verdict in Fort Bend County for a shuttle bus driver who failed to properly secure the wheelchair of a 97-year-old man. The wheelchair toppled when she made a turn, and the man fractured a cervical vertebra. Brian’s client attempted to settle the case, but the plaintiff’s demand was unreasonable. The jury returned a verdict that was far less than available for settlement. The clients considered the result to be a significant victory since liability was clear – the driver’s failure to secure the elderly man and his fall were captured on videotape.
- 18-wheeler defense verdict: Brian prevailed in a Brazoria County wrongful death suit against a trucking company and its driver. A young mother was killed in a head-on collision. Her family claimed the truck driver failed to keep a proper lookout and veered into the SUV’s path. Brian dissected the testimony of plaintiff’s expert witness to prove the truck driver was not negligent.
- Premises liability defense verdict: Brian obtained a verdict on behalf of a property owner in Galveston County against a plaintiff who had a nasty fall on the property. The plaintiff sustained a spiral fracture of her fibular and tibia, which resulted in significant medical expenses and lost wages.
- ADA defense judgment: Brian earned a dismissal of claims against officials working for a state mental healthcare facility in a claim brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act. On appeal, the Fifth Circuit observed that neither the United States Supreme Court nor the Fifth Circuit had ever ruled on whether government officials may be sued in their individual capacities under the ADA. The Fifth Circuit upheld this novel defense.
- Dump truck defense verdict: Brian prevailed in a case resulting from a collision between a Volvo and a dump truck filed in Harris County. The plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury. Due to no fault of the defendants, the case had to be retried five months later. The second jury returned the same verdict.
- Shuttle bus defense settlement: A passenger who fell on an airport shuttle bus after the driver came to a sudden stop claimed a cervical injury and traumatic head injury. During trial in Harris County, Brian proved that the plaintiff had concealed records of a prior relevant injury resulting in medical treatment. Plaintiff immediately accepted a cost-of-defense settlement offer.
- Arbitration: Brian has handled numerous matters at arbitration and prevailed on behalf of clients.
- ALFA International – Steering Committee/Speaker – Labor & Employment Practice Group
- Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists
- Texas Bar Association
- Houston Bar Association
- Texas Motor Transportation Association
Publications & Speeches
- Current Litigation and Legislation in Labor and Employment Law panelist, ALFA International EPLI, Professional Liability and Insurance Defense Seminar, New York, NY, June 2014.
- Meet My Friend: The Increasing Use of Expert Witnesses Regarding Discrimination Bias in Employment Cases, moderator, ALFA International Labor & Employment Practice Group Seminar, Half-Moon Bay, CA, set for October 2013
- Admissibility of Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) Metrics of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Safety Measurement System, ALFA International Transportation Practice Group Compendium, April 2013.
- Freight Brokers: An Increasing Role in the Industry and in Litigation, panelist, ALFA International Transportation Practice Group Seminar, Amelia Island, FL, May 2012.
- Burlington Northern: Eighteen Months Later, ALFA International Labor & Employment Practice Group Seminar, panelist discussing effect of Burlington Northern v. White on retaliation claims in employment law, October 2007.
- The Wisdom of Solomon: No Cause of Action for Negligent DOT Drug-Testing of Drivers in Texas, TRANSPORTATION UPDATE, author, Winter 2004.
- The Rules of the Game Have Changed: The Discovery Process in Texas, presented to St. Paul Claims, 1998.
- From Mount Sinai to the Courtroom: Why Courtroom Displays of the Ten Commandments and Other Religious Texts Violate the Establishment Clause, 39 S. TEX. L. REV. 101 (1997).
- Form Over Function: The Goals of Labor and Antitrust Laws Sacrificed Upon a Collective Bargaining Impasse, Brown v. Pro Football, Inc., 116 S. Ct. 2116, (1996), 38 S. TEX. L. REV. 841 (1997).