Martin J. Phipps is first and foremost a trial lawyer. With over 20 years of experience as a litigator before state and federal courts, Martin has earned a reputation as a tough negotiator and a skilled trial attorney. He has successfully tried small personal injury cases and complex multi-million dollar cases on behalf of individuals and large corporations.
Throughout his career, Martin’s success has been guided by the simple notion that we must always do what is right, not what is easy or what is popular. Honesty. Integrity. Character. These are the values that matter. As the founder and managing partner of PHIPPS ANDERSON DEACON LLP in San Antonio, Texas, Martin has put these principles into practice.
Martin learned early that nothing of value ever comes easily. He grew up in small rural town in West Texas as part of a working-class family, the oldest of 6 children. He began working at the age of 12 to support his family and fund his own education. After graduating from St. Mary’s University School of Law, Martin began his legal career with Davis Adami Cedillo.
In 1996, Martin was still a young associate when his firm was retained as local counsel for the Chicago law firm of Bartlit Beck in a case titled Chromalloy v. Pratt & Whitney. It was a billion-dollar anti-trust lawsuit. Martin was sitting in the back of the courtroom listening to the best lawyers in the country arguing on both sides when he first realized that even a small-town kid had the ability to compete with the best. Over the next few years, he successfully tried hundreds of cases on behalf of individuals, local businesses and the San Antonio Housing Authority all over South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley.
Martin’s early successes in the courtroom and deep love of trial advocacy led him to a teaching position at St. Mary’s University School of Law where he created the law school’s External Advocacy Program. For 10 years, Martin spent his evenings coaching the mock trial team, leading the school to many national and regional titles.
Martin has tried and won cases against many of the best law firms from across the United States including Bartlit Beck and Kirkland Ellis. In 2006, Martin began representing rice farmers from across the country whose livelihoods were devastated when Bayer CropScience’s (Bayer) unapproved genetically modified rice contaminated the U.S. rice supply. Martin filed and managed lawsuits on behalf of nearly 14,000 rice farmers in Texas, Mississippi and Arkansas seeking economic damages for the resulting loss of the European rice market (the Bayer Genetically Modified Rice Litigation).
Martin was the lead trial lawyer for thousands of clients with lawsuits pending against Bayer in Arkansas state court. He tried the first state court case in the nation in Woodruff County, Arkansas on behalf of a small rice farmer. In 2010, Martin obtained the highest per acre damages awarded by a jury in the U.S., the only jury finding that Bayer acted intentionally in contaminating the long grain rice supply and the first punitive damages award in the nation against Bayer.
After a second successful jury trial in his favor, Martin was set for trial every 3 to 4 months in Arkansas state courts. However, in February 2011, Bayer settled all of Martin’s state court farmer cases under the same terms of a global settlement for a total of $750,000,000—the largest agricultural settlement in U.S. history—with Martin’s clients receiving $50 million more than any other lawyer or law firms.
Martin is currently Co-Lead Counsel and Lead Trial Counsel in the Syngenta Corn Litigation pending in Illinois state court. Martin represents thousands of clients in over 34 states in litigation that centers on the willful and negligent conduct of global agribusinesses that sold genetically modified corn seed without getting necessary regulatory approval from major foreign markets. Martin is also Lead Trial Counsel in actions pending in Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana brought by ethanol plants against Syngenta for similar misconduct.
Martin is Lead Trial Counsel in cases pending in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas that involve minors who suffered catastrophic brain damage after consuming synthetic marijuana marketed and sold by their local gas stations. He is also Lead Trial Counsel on behalf of thousands of individuals and businesses in first party litigation against insurers for their wrongful refusal to pay property damage claims.
Today, Martin manages a team of 12 lawyers and over 150 support staff at a law firm that he literally built from the ground up—it is housed in a building designed by Martin and a local architect, located along San Antonio’s famous River Walk. In 2017, San Antonio Express-News recognized the Firm as one of the top workplaces in San Antonio.