Melanie R. Cheairs Partner
Melanie is an experienced trial lawyer, defending her clients in the Hospitality, Retail and Transportation industries in both commercial and injury-related catastrophic loss matters. Ms. Cheairs was recently honored as the 2016 Recipient of the prestigious ALFA International, Nathan Fishback-Attorney of the Year Award, selected by the ALFA International Board of Directors, Directors of ALFA International from 2014-2016. Ms. Cheairs was the Program Chair of the 2016 ALFA International Client Seminar. She is a Chair Emeritus of the ALFA International Hospitality and Retail Practice Group, and currently serves as the Marketing Chair for the Hospitality Practice Group. She also was selected to and serves as the Vice Chair of the ALFA Corporate Marketing Committee. Ms. Cheairs is actively involved on the ALFAI Steering Committee of the Transportation and Women’s Initiative Practice Groups.
Ms. Cheairs is an active Member of the Claims Litigation Management Alliance, (CLM) and serves on the Retail, Restaurant and Hospitality Steering Committee and is a member of the National Association of Professional Women. She was selected as a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. Ms. Cheairs is also a frequent author and speaker on matters pertaining to the defense of the Hospitality and Trucking industry. Ms. Cheairs received her J.D. from South Texas College of Law- Houston, where she currently serves on the Alumni Board of Directors and Admissions Committee.
Ms. Cheairs is the Director of Kingwood United Methodist Church’s UM ARMY Mission Camp and serves on the National Board of Directors for UM ARMY. She currently serves as the Executive Chair of the Youth for Christ-Houston Advisory Board of Directors.
Melanie enjoys many activities outside of the office revolving around youth events and ministry work. She likes to participate in many water-related sports including boating, swimming, snorkeling, sailing, and diving. Melanie enjoys mentoring kids and leading them in their spiritual journey as she is heavily invested in a youth construction ministry, through UM ARMY. She is also invested in Youth for Christ – a program designed to provide support, love, and mentorship to inner-city youth to help them develop skills and turn their lives to Christ and give them hope for the future. Melanie also leads an adult women’s Bible Study group. She is an avid Texas A&M Aggie fan and enjoys attending any Aggie Sporting event, but mainly tail-gaiting in the Fall.
- Labor & Employment
- South Texas College of Law, J.D., 1989
- Texas A&M University, B.S., 1985
- State Bar of Texas
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
- United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
- Won a dram shop case where Plaintiff sued a local bar after being involved in a MVA with a drunk driver who had been served alcohol at the bar. The drunk drivers BAC was .14 but the jury found that he was not “obviously intoxicated” when he left the bar.
- Won a bar security case where plaintiffs claimed they were severely beaten by security personnel at a local sports bar. The jury found that the bouncers acted in self-defense.
- Obtained numerous summary judgments on behalf of local, regional, and national religious institutions, churches, and affiliated businesses in cases involving sensitive issues of clergy misconduct and allegations against the institutions for wrongful hiring and supervision.
- Successfully tried numerous premises liability and Dram Shop cases.
- Tried to a defense verdict (plaintiff found 100% negligent), case involving serious allegations of hazing and improper conduct against local university and Athletic Director.
- Defended major Casino Financing Groups by successfully defeating complex jurisdictional issues in three cases and protected clients from being amenable to suit in Texas in each.
- Tried complex commercial, DTPA, misrepresentation and negligence case on behalf of large moving and storage company. After obtaining unfavorable verdict, were able to successfully fight for and obtain modified judgment, resulting in complete release for client from liability.
- Successfully defended and settled case on behalf of large apartment complex in matter involving difficult and sensitive issues of sexual abuse of a child by a trespasser on the property.
- Successfully defended a large corporate chain toy store and baby product manufacturer in a complex products liability action, wherein parental rights had been terminated as a result of abuse, which parents claimed was a result of defective baby bouncer seat.
- Successfully defended large trucking company and driver in multiple vehicle crash resulting in triple fatality. Mediated case to favorable settlement on behalf of trucking company and driver.
- Tried and assisted in multiple jury and bench trials.
- My Children- Kacie and Cody. My husband, Scott.
- Being chosen to Direct my church’s Youth Mission Camp.
- Being selected as the ALFA International Attorney of the Year Recipient, (Nate Fishback Award), out of 10,000 attorneys.
- Selection to the ALFA International Board of Directors
- Chosen to Chair the ALFA International ICS Program
- Chosen as Vice Chair of the ALFA Marketing Committee
- NCAA All-American Swimmer
- Texas A&M, Full Athletic Scholarship, Swimming.
- Selected to serve on the South Texas Alumni Board of Directors
- Chosen to Chair the ALFA Hospitality Practice Group
- Appointed to serve as Vice Chair- ALFAI Marketing Committee, 2019-2020.
- Speaker at 2019 CLM Restaurant, Retail and Hospitality Meeting, February 6-8, 2019. “If You Could Read My Mind Love- Best Practices for Outside Counsel and Client Relationships.”
- Speaker at 2019 ALFA International Client Seminar, February 28 – March 2, 2019. “Survivor – Only The Well Prepared Win.”
- Member, Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC).
- Speaker at 2019 ALFAI Transportation Practice Group Seminar, April 24-26, 2019. “The Anti Reptile – Finding Effective Ways to Evidence the Import of Safety to The Trucking Industry.”
- Chosen to Serve in the TIDA Program Development Committee.
- ICS – ALFA International Client Seminar, Program Chairman
- ALFA Hospitality, Practice Group Chairman
- Member National Restaurant and Retail Defense association (NRRDA)
- Member, ALFA International, The Global Legal Network
- Program Chair, ALFA Int’l. Hospitality Practice Group, Conference, 2012
- Speaker, ALFA Int’l. Transportation PG Conference, 2011.
- Steering Committee: Hospitality Law PG, Women’s Initiative PG, Transportation PG Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow
- Phi Alpha Delta Honor Fraternity
- Officer, South Texas Board of Advocates
- South Texas Insurance Law Moot Court Team
- Member, Texas Young Lawyers Association
- Houston Bar Association
- Member, Defense Research Institute
- Member, Texas Association of Defense Counsel
Publications & Speeches
- Melanie Cheairs attended ALFA International’s Hospitality & Retail Law Practice Group seminar in Seattle and was part of a panel discussion on intoxicants in the work place, 2019.
- “Preparing a Driver for Deposition in a Trucking/Accident Case”, ALFA Trucking and Transportation Seminar, 2004.
- Speaker: “Rules of the Road” Approach to Litigation, ALFA Transportation Seminar, 2011.
- “Ten Tips to Avoid Liquor Liability Litigation.” In the Mix, Food and Beverage Magazine, 2011.
- “Safe Passage through Safe Harbor”, Hospitality Law Network, Webinar for Liquor Liability, 2011.