Shelly Masters defends clients in multiple areas of litigation, with a particular focus on construction matters and mass tort, medical device, and product liability issues. As co-leader of Segal McCambridge's construction practice group, Ms. Masters represents owners, contractors, developers, architects, engineers, and construction managers in all facets of construction law. Her family has been involved in the construction industry nationally for over three decades, and Ms. Masters is acutely aware of the issues and problems that the construction industry encounters. Ms. Masters has over a decade of experience in the litigation and mediation of construction and commercial claims, business litigation, real property-related matters, and the counseling of clients in claims avoidance and mitigation techniques. She handles a wide range of matters relating to mechanics' liens, bond claims, construction failures, latent defects, personal injury and fatality claims, insurance and indemnity, general contract and bidding disputes, and professional liability, as well as in disputes concerning delays, acceleration, disruption, and payment. Ms. Masters has a record of success representing clients in construction industry disputes and is well-versed in presenting complex construction claims to judges, arbitrators, and mediators.
Ms. Masters also defends commercial manufacturers in mass tort, medical device, and product liability litigation. She has extensive national experience defending complex multi-party cases before state and federal courts in multiple states. Ms. Masters has served as national and regional coordinator of product liability defense for a variety of targeted commercial and industrial products and equipment manufacturers. She reviews her clients' liability exposure and reports directly to clients and insurers on recommended actions. She also provides product liability counsel by advising her clients on consumer and commercial warranties, indemnity agreements, sales and distribution agreements, product warnings and advertisements, and document retention issues.
With the increase in labor and employment disputes, employers frequently retain Ms. Masters to defend claims of discrimination, harassment, wrongful discharge, wage and hour, breach of employment contract, covenants not to compete, misappropriation of trade secrets, workers' compensation retaliation, and various torts claims in state and federal litigation. She has also represented employers in proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board and has counseled clients in union-related challenges.
Ms. Masters is a seasoned insurance defense litigator. She provides analysis regarding policy coverage disputes and defense of policyholders against third party claims.
Ms. Masters is skilled in working with clients and opposing parties to resolve matters as efficiently, expeditiously, and economically as possible. Her experience includes all aspects of pre-trial and trial work before state and federal courts, as well as mediation and arbitration. She prides herself on being responsive, accessible, organized, and aggressively prepared to defend her clients across a variety of practice areas. She has obtained numerous dismissals and summary judgments, saving her clients both time and money. Ms. Masters also trains client supervisors on a variety of topics designed to minimize risks so that her clients will have the tools to protect against future litigation.
Ms. Masters is an active member and board member of a number of construction and other trade associations. She has been invited to conduct in-house training sessions and has been a principal speaker at many seminars. She contributes to various construction industry publications, client newsletters, bulletins, legal updates, and reviews. Ms. Masters lives in Austin with her husband, David, and their daughter, Maya. They make family, friends, and worldwide travel a priority.
- Settled contentious residential construction defect claim in lawsuit involving multiple parties by preparing thorough expert witness defense through inspections, reports, affidavits, and depositions.
- Obtained summary judgment for general contractor on warranty, DTPA, and breach of contract in residential construction lawsuit.
- Obtained summary judgment of construction defect claim against general contractor based on statute of limitations defense.
- Successfully represented employer before the EEOC against disability discrimination claim of former employee.
- Obtained settlement of construction defect litigation by securing unique agreement with defendants before extensive discovery or depositions in construction foundation case.
- Obtained summary judgment of lawsuit by former employee alleging wrongful termination and retaliation.
- Successful prosecution of breach of contract claim for payment on large private project involving construction defect allegations against subcontractor.
- Overturned default judgment and obtained dismissal of construction defect and breach of contract claim against plumbing contractor.
- Obtained early resolution of payment dispute and payment bond claim against Texas general contractor and its out-of-state surety against lawsuit brought by a national supplier on a public project.
- Pursued lawsuit and obtained settlement for subcontractor against owner and developer for breach of contract and payment dispute on $60 million residential development project.
- Protected general and subcontractors by drafting solid construction contracts to minimize liability exposure and assure protections afforded by Texas law.
- Litigated asbestos trials in Delaware, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
- Assisted HUB/WBE/SBE contractor in maintaining HUB and U.S. Small Business Administration certifications in response to size and affiliation challenges.
- Negotiated equitable contract terms on behalf of subcontractor on large residential condominium construction project in downtown Austin.
- Prepare employment and non-disclosure agreements as well as website-related advertising and commercial contracts for web-based service provider.
- Obtained defense verdict in asbestos product liability lawsuit in Travis County, Texas.
University of Texas, B.A., 1995
University of Houston Law School, J.D., 1998
University of Texas School of Law, visiting student (1997-1998)
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas
U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas
SPEECHES AND PUBLICATIONS
- "Employer Use of Social Media: One Click Away from a Discrimination Claim," Austin Construction News, Volume 12, Number 11 (November 2012).
- "Wrongful Termination: Can Terminating an Employee Before the Filing of a Worker's Compensation Claim be Unlawful?" Austin Construction News, Volume 12, Number 10 (October 2012).
- "Retainage: the Texas Two-Step," Austin Construction News, Volume 11, Number Two (February 2011).
- "Default Termination Clauses: a Lethal but Potentially Pricey Weapon," Austin Construction News, Volume 10, Number Four (April 2010).
- "Sustainable Building: Going Green Wisely," Austin Construction News, Volume 9, Number 6 (June 2009).
- "Change Orders: When Change Isn't a Good Thing," Austin Construction News, Volume 9, Number 5 (May 2009).
- "Public Works Projects: Playing to a Different Set of Rules," Austin Construction News, Volume 9, Number 4 (April 2009).
- "45 Days Means 45 Days: Courts Hold Sureties Responsible for Failure to Respond to Payment Bond Claims," LegalBuild (Spring 2009).
- "Courts Hold Sureties Responsible for Failure to Respond to Payment Bond Claims," Construction Executive (February 2009).
- "Reassessing Additional Insured Endorsements," Construction Executive (May 2008).
- "Construction Defect Coverage Debate: Insurers' Arguments Lose in Texas," Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney's Insurance Coverage Newsletter, Volume 2, Issue 1 (2008).
- "Builders Win Texas Battle for Coverage of Construction Defect," Construction Executive (December 2007).
- "Arbitration Clauses Can Bind Non-Parties," Austin Construction News, Volume 7, Number 9 (September 2007).
- "New Law Protects Subcontractors from Contingent Payment Clauses," Austin Construction News, Volume 7, Number 8 (August 2007).
- "Texas Legislature Declines to Alter Risk Shifting Balance," Austin Construction News, Volume 7, Number 7 (July 2007).
- "Proposed Legislation Attempts to 'Wrap-up' CIP Problems," Austin Construction News, Volume 7, Number 6 (June 2007).
- "Texas Highest Court Rules Mold Not Covered," Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney's Toxic Tort Newsletter, Volume 6, Issue 1 (Winter 2007).
- "Texas Highest Court Rules Mold Not Covered," Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney's Insurance Coverage Newsletter, Volume 1, Issue 1 (2007).
- "Texas High Court to Rule on Construction Defects," Indoor Environment Connections, Volume 8, Issue 1 (November 2006).
- "Texas High Court Rules Policy Does Not Cover Mold," Indoor Environment Connections, Volume 7, Issue 12 (October 2006).
- "Hotels, High-rises Try Proactive Mold Prevention," Indoor Environment Connections, Volume 6, Issue 9 (July 2005).
- "Bye-Bye Big Verdicts, Hello Reasonable Remediation," Indoor Environment Connections, Volume 6, Issue 4 (February 2005).
"A Valuable Opportunity: Today's Economy and Its Effect on Litigation," For the Defense, Volume 51, Number 6 (June 2009).
- “Doing Business Out-of-State,” Construction Financial Management Association (May 21, 2013).
- “Hot Topics 2013: New Law, Legislation and Litigation,” Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Austin Chapter Meeting (May 15, 2013).
- "Litigation Primer," National Association of Women in Construction, San Antonio Chapter (November 7, 2012).
- "Texas Legislative Update: Changes Impacting the Construction Industry," National Association of Women in Construction, Central Texas Chapter (January 5, 2012).
- "Texas Courts Decide: Contractors' Top 10 Construction Cases of 2010," Associated Builders and Contractors - Central Texas Chapter (March 29, 2011).
- "The Retention and Return of Retainage," Associated Builders and Contractors - Central Texas Chapter (January 31, 2011).
- "Pay Me, Please: How Texas' Pay-if-Paid Law Changes the Game," Associated Builders and Contractors - Central Texas Chapter (November 30, 2010).
- "The Treacherous Question of Termination: Look Before You Terminate a Contractor," joint presentation of the Surety Association of South Texas and the Construction Financial Management Association - Central Texas Chapter (May 18, 2010).
- "The Treacherous Question of Termination: Look Before You Terminate a Contractor," Associated Business and Contractors, Central Texas Division, Meet the Experts Series, Austin, TX (March 30, 2010).
- University of Texas, Model Contractor Development Program, San Antonio, TX, "Construction Contracts and Dispute Resolution" (October 21, 2008).
- University of Texas, Model Contractor Development Program, Austin, TX, "Construction Contracts and Dispute Resolution" (June 18, 2008).
- National Association of Women in Construction, Austin, TX, "Construction Law 2008: What You Need to Know" (June 5, 2008).
- Hispanic Contractors Association - San Antonio Chapter, "Who Pays Whom? How the New Contingent Payment Statute Affects GCs and Subs" (May 21, 2008).
- Air Conditioning Contractors of America, "Construction Update: Contingent Payment Clauses" (April 1, 2008).
- National Association of Minority Contractors, Houston Chapter, "Construction Update: Contingent Payment Clauses" (April 10, 2008).
- University of Texas, HUB Development and Small Business Programs, Austin, TX, "Recent Legislative Changes to Contingent Payment Clauses and Other Construction Contract Updates" (January 15, 2008).
PROFESSIONAL AND CIVIC INVOLVEMENT
Member, Board of Directors, Associated Builders & Contractors, Central Texas Chapter; Chair, effective January 1, 2012
Austin Bar Association, Construction and Civil Litigation Sections
Austin Volunteer Legal Services
National Association of Women in Construction, Austin and San Antonio Chapters
Texas State Bar College
Texas Young Lawyers Association
Award Recipient, University of Texas System's Seventh Annual General Contractors and Professional Services Conference for her efforts as a volunteer instructor in 2008
Terry Scholar, University of Texas (Austin) 1991-1995
Recent News, Articles & Publications
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