Melanie Kemp Okon is a partner in the firm’s complex litigation/dispute resolution practice. Melanie has represented Fortune 500 companies, medium and small businesses, regulated and unregulated electric companies, gas companies, mining companies, homebuilders, commercial construction companies, and property owners in a wide range of litigation matters, including cases involving contract damages, property damages, and personal injury claims. Melanie’s prior experience as in-house senior litigation counsel for a publicly traded company instilled in her the importance of familiarizing herself with her clients’ industries and understanding her clients’ desires and goals for any particular dispute.
Reflecting the excellence of her legal practice, she has been recognized among ” The Best Lawyers in America©”, by D Magazine, among “The Best Lawyers in Dallas,” a six-time choice by Thomson Reuters to the list of Texas Super Lawyers, and has been selected by ALM and Martindale-Hubbell as a Women Leader in the Law, Texas’s Top-Rated Lawyers and a Top-Rated Litigator.
Melanie received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Baylor University School of Law in 1999, along with her B.A., cum laude, in sociology from The University of Oklahoma in 1995. While at Baylor, she was assistant managing editor of the Baylor Law Review and was the highest ranking student in her graduating class. Prior to joining MWM, Melanie was a name partner at Okon Hannagan, PLLC in Dallas, Texas.
- Lead trial counsel in a case where an insured sued the firm’s insurance company client for bad faith. A unanimous jury returned a judgment against the Plaintiff on the firm’s client’s counterclaim for fraud;
- Lead trial counsel in a lawsuit concerning the construction of three natural gas pipelines in Panola County, Texas. Before settling the case, the firm successfully struck a portion of the testimony of the opposing party’s lead liability and damage expert, in addition to obtaining summary judgment on several key issues;
- Lead trial counsel in a nuisance and gross negligence lawsuit in which the Plaintiffs complained that noise and vibrations from a gas compressor station plant interfered with their use and enjoyment of their properties. The jury returned a unanimous no-liability defense verdict in favor of client after only 20 minutes of deliberation;
- Lead trial counsel in a nuisance and gross negligence lawsuit in which the Plaintiffs complained that alleged noise, odors, lights, dust, emissions, and traffic from a gas compressor station and gas processing plant interfered with their use and enjoyment of their properties. The jury returned an 11-1 no-liability defense verdict in favor of the client after only one hour of deliberation;
- Lead counsel in a federal lawsuit involving the effect of a tax adjustment clause contained in a complex contract for the purchase of coal;
- Trial counsel for a utility company that sued a contractor for breach of contract, alleging that the drainage ditch built by the contractor constituted an “obstruction” in breach of an easement agreement. The jury returned a plaintiff’s verdict in favor of the client for the cost of filling in the drainage ditch.
Presentations & Published Works
“HB 40: Impact on Municipal Regulation of Oil & Gas Operations” – Dallas Bar Association Headnotes, 2016
“Supporting Women is Good Business” – Texas Lawyer, October 2014
“Workplace Communications” – presented to client’s legal department, January 2011
“When Businesses Hire Lawyers, Gender Matters” – Texas Lawyer, January 2010
“Mechanic’s Liens: An Overview” – presented to client’s legal department, January 2009
“The Independent Contractor Relationship” – presented to client’s field operations group, January 2008
“Discovery: A Client’s Perspective” – presented at attorney CLE program, 2006
“The Classification of General and Special Damages for Pleading Purposes in Texas” – Baylor Law Review, 1999
Professional Associations & Memberships
State Bar of Texas
Dallas Bar Association
Texas Bar Foundation
Attorneys Serving the Community (ASC)
Women’s Energy Network (WEN)
Dallas Women Lawyers Association
Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas, Chair of the Board
Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas, Chair-Elect
Girls Inc. Foundation, Board Trustee
Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas, Corporate Secretary
Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas, Board Trustee