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Unwavering Dedication to Clients
Trial attorneys Michael Lyons and Chris Simmons find motivation when the result means everything.
Originally published in the 2022 Best Lawyers Magazine.
There are a lot of moving parts to success for trial lawyers, particularly in high-exposure personal injury and wrongful death cases. But for Lyons & Simmons co-founders Michael Lyons and Chris Simmons, finding a way to control the things that can be controlled has proven to be key to their success. “It is no secret that hard work will always make a difference in anything that you do, and it is something we actively embrace.
When the result means everything, there is never an excuse for being outflanked,” says Lyons. “We feel like no one is going to outwork us on our cases. Thinking about the endgame from the outset and preparing from start to finish takes time, energy, and resources, but when you are fighting for the rights of your client, it’s the best way to ensure a win.” The ownership over clients’ legal outcomes displayed by the highly skilled trial lawyers of Lyons & Simmons, paired with their fearless approach to courtroom battle, has earned the firm a national reputation for securing remarkable results, even when the odds are seemingly stacked against them.
When Neva Rogers came to Lyons & Simmons, several attorneys had already turned down her case, saying that while tragic, she had an unwinnable case. Early on a rainy winter morning, an employee of an energy services company was speeding down a West Texas highway in his personal vehicle on his way to work when he lost control on the slick road, slamming into a car carrying Ms. Rogers’ three minor children, all of whom died. Although the driver was subsequently convicted of criminally negligent homicide, Lyons and Simmons knew that the responsibility for the accident also was shared by the driver’s employer, which had a policy that required workers to “show up” at a job site on inclement weather days in order to get paid. Further incriminating the company, the Lyons & Simmons trial team learned that the employer literally set fire to 40 banker boxes of documents related to the case. It took a court-ordered forensic examination to fully reveal pertinent documents.
The jury returned an award, believed to be the largest-ever personal injury verdict in Midland County. The firm’s dedication to justice earned it the Dallas Trial Lawyers Association’s prestigious 2021 John Howie Award, presented to attorneys and their clients in recognition of the “courageous pursuit of justice in the face of adversity.” “Neva suffered an unimaginable tragedy. As a parent, I cannot comprehend the immense pain she has endured,” says Lyons. “We knew the liability case was difficult against the company and we knew there was a probability this was not going to result in a favorable verdict. Despite knowing that from the outset, as parents, we knew we had to take the case and see it through.”
Financial restitution is simply not enough in cases such as this, says Lyons. “Early on in our accident-site investigation we began to see that there were unacceptable corporate practices that were not just being allowed, but in certain situations also encouraged. That was confirmed through the course of depositions.” Simmons agrees, stating: “When you are entrusted with the representation of a victim of a catastrophic personal injury or wrongful death, you feel the weight of that responsibility. These often involve individuals who are facing the biggest adversitythey will ever be forced to endure. Their lives have been torn apart, and all too often they also find the legal deck is stacked against them.”
Since its formation, Lyons & Simmons has handled some of the most important and complex cases in the country, securing record-setting results. In addition to the Midland County verdict,the firm obtained what is believed to be the largest settlement in the state of Oklahoma’s history for a single adult wrongful death claimant, and secured a large confidential settlements in New Mexico cases involving a defective cell phone battery prone to catching fire as well as a high-profile helicopter crash.
The firm’s work on behalf of a former Power 5 head football coach in a contentious breach of contract case earned a place among the finalists for the National Law Journal’s Elite Trial Lawyers Awards. “We’ve said it many times, but our clients’ problems are our problems, and we’re not going to stop until we find a way to right what wrong they have experienced,” says Simmons. “That approach resonates with our clients, and we will never take their trust for granted.”
“It doesn’t matter if it is someone killed in a high-profile workplace accident or irreparably injured in an incident that barely made the evening news, everyone deserves justice,” says Lyons. “We do not, cannot, step back until we do everything we can for our clients and their families. We are unwavering in our fight for all of our clients.”