Clay began his litigation career representing landowner clients in eminent domain cases, and eminent domain remains the focus of his practice today. He has represented both individuals and businesses and has extensive trial experience aiding both corporate and individual landowners across Texas for over 20 years. He loves the challenges that come with the hard work and the intense preparation required to be a successful litigator—and the satisfaction of “leveling the playing field” for his clients when the desired result is achieved. Clay has often served as lead trial counsel in eminent domain and condemnation legal proceedings across the course of his distinguished career.
Clay received his Bachelor of Arts in Government with Honors from the University of Texas at Austin in 1986, and his Juris Doctor in 1989 from Baylor Law School. Litigation was always his focus in law school, where he enjoyed participating as part of the acclaimed Baylor Mock Trial Competition Team. At a law school known for training top-notch litigators, he was honored to receive the Matt Dawson Award as the outstanding trial advocate in his class.
After graduation, Clay joined Dawson & Sodd. He practiced with Dawson & Sodd for a total of 12 years starting in 1993, four years as an associate and eight as a partner. From 2001 until 2009, he worked as a solo practitioner and then with Jacobson, Beard & Edmondson, P.C. In January 2009, he reunited with his original firm as a partner and has practiced exclusively in the area of eminent domain since that time.
Clay is admitted to practice in Texas state courts, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Western Districts of Texas, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the United States Claims Court.
Clay married his high school sweetheart Tammy in 1989, and they have two daughters. He and his family are active members at First Baptist Church of Corsicana, where Clay serves as a Sunday School teacher and Deacon. He loves the outdoors and any activity that puts him outside, especially hunting and fishing on his ranch.
Cases and Results
- Lead counsel in pipeline case that resulted in jury verdict, appellate opinion affirming the verdict, and net recovery to clients of $609,193 on an offer of $45,000, Crosstex v Button, 2013 WL 257355.
- Co-counsel in a Johnson County jury trial to verdict vs. Brazos Electric that resulted in net recovery to clients of $492,638 on an initial offer of $121,896.
- Co-counsel in a Williamson County powerline case resulting in a settlement with a net recovery of $3,115,057 to the landowner, from a $771k initial offer.
- Co-counsel in an inverse condemnation jury trial involving flooding/destruction of a working ranch that resulted in a $21.9 million net recovery for clients.
- Co-counsel in a jury trial involving 7 acres taken for The Ballpark at Arlington (presented landowner’s appraiser at trial) that resulted in the landowners collectively receiving a net compensation of $5 million, a significant increase from the collective offer of only $600k.
- Co-counsel in jury trials/settlements on partial takings for Super Conducting Super Collider cases in Ellis County that resulted in numerous favorable verdicts/settlements for numerous clients.
- Co-counsel in a jury trial involving a reservoir case that resulted in a verdict providing a net recovery of $4 million to the landowner.
Clay has represented landowners against a variety of condemning authorities in a wide range of condemnation cases, including:
- The State of Texas and TxDOT
- Nolan County
- North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA)
- Texas Rangers Baseball Stadium
- The Superconducting Super Collider cases
- Midway Airport
- Numerous pipeline cases
Reported Condemnation Cases
- Most recent appellate success was in Crosstex DC Gathering Co., J.V. v. Button, 2013 WL 257355 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth, no pet.)
- Enbridge Pipeline (East Tex.) L.P. v. Avinger Timber, LLC, 386 S.W.3d 256 (Tex. 2012)
- Tarrant Regional Water District v. Gragg, 151 S.W.3d 546 (Tex. 2004)
- State v. Tamminga, 928 S.W.2d 737 (Tex. App—Waco 1996, no writ)
- Baylor Law School, Juris Doctor, 1989
- University of Texas at Austin, Bachelor of Arts in Government, 1986
Admitted to Practice
- Texas Courts statewide
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- U.S. Claims Court
Professional & Community Involvement
- Navarro County Bar Association
- Former President
- State Bar of Texas
- Member of First Baptist Church of Corsicana