Debbie Pacholder PARTNER

Debbie Pacholder, a Partner with Seiler Mitby, routinely manages and successfully resolves bet-the-company commercial litigation matters involving seven figures or more for clients in the oil and gas, healthcare, and energy sectors.


Debbie’s clients have come to rely on her laser-focused work ethic, courtroom acumen, and keen advocacy skills, which have also earned her the Distinguished Martindale-Hubbell rating from her peers. Debbie has represented major crude refiners and transporters, a major oilfield equipment provider, manufacturers of tools and chemicals for oil well completions, a nationwide healthcare services company, valve supplier, a staffing company for offshore oil and gas platforms, and major parts suppliers to the oil and gas and automotive industries. She has also represented individuals and small business owners in high-stakes litigation and employment matters in the oil and gas, healthcare and other industries.

Debbie was selected to serve as a mentor for the Houston Chapter of Women in Energy. A native Houstonian, she has been recognized by the Jewish Family Service of Houston for her contributions to the community and pro bono legal work. She has volunteered her time in the special needs community through her three children’s schools and organizations for children with autism, and as an adult literacy instructor. She is a member of the Houston Bar Association, where she previously served on the Lawyers for Literacy Committee, and the Montgomery County Bar Association.

Debbie earned her law degree from University of Houston Law Center, where she was a Blakely Moot Court Semifinalist and a member of Phi Delta Phi Honor Society. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Journalism with honors. An accomplished writer, she served as a Features and News Writer and copy editor for the school’s nationally recognized news publication The Daily Texan, where she won several awards.

Published Cases

  • Okpere v. National Oilwell Varco, L.P., 524 S.W.3d 818, 821 (Tex. App. – Houston [14th Dist.] 2017, pet. denied)
  • RCI v. American Automobile Association, Inc., 154 S.W.3d 878 (Tex. App. — Dallas 2005, review denied)
  • Comsys Information Technology Services, Inc. v. Twin City Fire Ins. Co., 130 S.W.3d 181 (Tex. App. — Houston [14th Dist.] 2003, review denied)

Other Cases

  • Constructed an innovative counterclaim in a multi-million-dollar patent dispute involving transportation of fracking materials. The client resolved the suit without paying any settlement amount.
  • Won summary judgment for an industrial tool supplier in a catastrophic burn injury case shortly after presenting the company’s corporate representative for deposition.
  • Handled matter before the AAA for an oil and gas completions client against an auditor who failed to advise the company of fraudulent transactions by its president. The client obtained a lucrative resolution. Assisted the same client in reaching a substantial settlement with the widow of the company president for the return of her shares after his death.
  • Obtained summary judgment and dismissal of all claims for a major oil refiner in a 1.9-million-dollar breach of contract suit brought in Delaware Superior Court by a crude transportation company.
  • Obtained dismissal of a $10 million qui tam action by a former employee alleging illegal environmental releases by the client, a staffing company for offshore oil and gas platforms.
  • Prepared employees of staffing company for offshore oil and gas platforms to testify before U.S Grand Jury regarding alleged illegal environmental releases;  prevented indictment of individual employees and the company.  Diverted threatened action for indemnity against the company by platform operator through analysis of Master Agreement and applicable insurance policies.
  • Obtained summary judgment and dismissal, upheld by the 14th Court of Appeals, on a former employee’s claim of alleged disability discrimination for an oilfield equipment provider.
  • Drafted winning motion for summary judgment in multi-million-dollar litigation by an operator against her client; the plaintiff nonsuited case before the judge ruled on the motion.
  • Won six figures in sanctions against oil equipment provider on behalf of the former president of a subsidiary. The Texas Bluesheet identified this result as the “verdict of the week”. After obtaining dismissal of all claims, recovered the highest ever amount of sanctions assessed in an employment case in state district court in Houston at that time.
  • Successfully argued to have a decision against the client overturned in the 14th Court of Appeals. The client recovered the majority of the fees expended. The case, Comsys Information Technology Services, Inc. v. Twin City Fire Ins. Co., 130 S.W.3d 181 (Tex. App. — Houston [14th Dist.] 2003, review denied) is cited often in reported decisions involving insurance coverage issues.
  • Defended a nationwide auto and travel organization in a breach of contract and tortious interference action in which the plaintiff sought $8 million in damages. At the end of a five-week trial, the jury returned a zero verdict in favor of the defense on all claims. Successfully defended verdict on appeal.
  • Won a zero jury verdict for a local valve supplier sued for alleged violation of trade secrets.
  • Defended nationwide health services company sued for negligence in a wrongful death suit. After filing for summary judgment, the plaintiffs settled with a co-defendant, and dismissed the client without settlement payment. Later, recovered the client’s attorney’s fees incurred in defense of the medical malpractice suit in an action before the AAA for indemnity against the company’s settling co-defendant.
  • Won multi-million dollar default judgment, which the company collected, for health services company in a breach of contract against a physician.
  • Successfully resolved a complex action dealing with supply chain and price management issues within the pharmaceutical industry brought against it by a former pharmaceutical giant.
  • Obtained dismissal of two hotly contested actions brought by a major laboratory services company against nationwide health services company, with no settlement payment by the company.
  • Won summary judgment via the “one satisfaction rule” against a law firm asserting a claim for damages arising out of the client’s involvement in a sale in which the law firm had sought a million-dollar contingency fee. Judge Ken Wise granted summary judgment on the eve of trial, agreeing the law firm had already been fully compensated for its alleged loss.
  • Won a motion to dismiss on behalf of light heavyweight boxing champion Chad Dawson in a suit filed against him by former boxing promoter James Prince. Mr. Prince previously attempted to obtain an injunction preventing Dawson from defending his title in Las Vegas by filing suit in Houston, seeking a temporary restraining order. U.S. District Judge David Hittner granted Dawson’s motion for summary judgment based on personal jurisdiction and transferred the case to the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, Southern Division.
  • Defeated motion for protective order in a lawsuit seeking more than $1 million in damages for breach of contract against a publicly traded telecommunications corporation. The plaintiffs immediately dismissed all of their claims against the corporation.
  • Obtained judgments to have commercial tenants evicted for non-payment of rent and recovered lease payments owed for a major shopping mall.
  • Successfully defended a major local property management company in a claim for unpaid commissions, and also recovered unpaid commissions on behalf of another major commercial real estate firm.
  • Won summary judgment on all allegations of race and sex discrimination and racial and sexual harassment against a major manufacturer of agricultural products, upheld on appeal by the Fifth Circuit en banc.
  • Defended a major automobile manufacturer against a claim of deceptive trade practices by a corporation and its individual proprietors seeking more than a million dollars in damages. Obtained abatement of the corporation’s claim due to its non-payment of state franchise taxes.
  • University of Houston Law Center, Juris Doctorate, 1992
    • Blakely Moot Court Semifinalist, Phi Delta Phi Honors Society
  • University of Texas at Austin, Bachelor of Journalism With Honors, 1989
    • Award-winning Features and News Writer, copy editor for the school’s nationally recognized news publication The Daily Texan
  • Texas
  • Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • 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
  • Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished Rating
  • WEN Houston Chapter of Women in Energy, Mentor since 2018
  • State Bar of Texas
  • Houston Bar Association, Literacy Committee (former committee member)
  • Montgomery County Bar Association
  • The Joy School
  • The HUB
  • Jewish Family Service of Houston, pro bono legal work
  • Speaker: State Bar of Texas’ 19th Annual Texas Minority Counsel Program (2011) on “Obtaining and Avoiding Sanctions Awards”