Martyn B. Hill

Contact Martyn B. Hill

Martyn B. Hill is a Shareholder of the Houston, Texas law firm of Pagel, Davis & Hill (“PDH”), a Professional Corporation, since its formation in 1992 as a successor to several prior law firms. Since approximately 1998 Mr. Hill has managed the Litigation Section of PDH.  He has also served, and continues to serve, as an advisor to many director boards, as well as their reporting officers, often in an outside general counsel role.

Mr. Hill’s advice is based not only on his formal education and legal research, but upon his experience as a trial lawyer and counselor for more than 20 years. Rather than learn from only his experiences and mistakes, he also focuses on absorbing the experiences and thoughts of clients, other successful business people, attorneys, experts, accounting and investment professionals. While he absolutely protects client confidences, a client’s “new” problem is often new only to such client. Many, in fact most, problems can be resolved without litigation.

Such accumulated learning is common among good lawyers, so the specific value that Mr. Hill provides to a client also stems from the type and scope of his experience. In that vein, PDH and particularly his practice, focuses on high net-worth individuals and their businesses, people who often started with little and built their business over many years. PDH partners with its clients in that long-term growth process, almost never losing a client other than the occasional sale by a client of their business to a conglomerate, sometimes choosing to retire and live off passive income. Most clients, however, enjoy the game of business as much as PDH enjoys the art of the legal strategy; and even those who sell their businesses for many millions usually return to PDH to start new ventures. It is that intense loyalty to the client goal which makes PDH different from many, though not all, lawyers.

PDH’s focus is on businesses (and their owners/officers) which businesses range from $5 million to $500 million in sales. Some clients are above or below this range, but this is the focus. At $500 million most companies will move to larger overhead with in-house general counsel departments; and they will begin to bureaucratize the decision making process. Mr. Hill lives to support the entrepreneur, not to maintain the salaries of people unwilling to make a decision or take responsibility. He avoids criminal and family law matters, other than to assist a family lawyer on the division of complex business assets and litigation related strategies. Many of PDH’s clients are in the construction and transportation fields, though some are manufacturers, importers and distributors. PDH also represents a host of professionals such as CPAs, engineers, brokers, and other lawyers.

Other sections of the PDH website provide examples of cases and disputes handled through all levels (trial, appellate) and all forums (federal courts, state courts, arbitration, and settlements via mediation), and in various jurisdictions ranging from most of the heavily populated counties in Texas, to California, to New York, to Florida – even one arbitration under the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce, much of which was handled in London.

Regardless of the level, forum or jurisdiction of the dispute, however, the focus is always on supporting the client’s goals within the legal and economic realities presented.

Areas of Practice

Mr. Hill provides his clients a wide range of services divided into two general categories: (i) Outside General Counsel, and (ii) Litigation, Arbitration and Dispute Resolution.

Outside General Counsel

  • Mr. Hill’s Outside General Counsel role focuses on partnering with a client’s key management team to develop a proactive approach to business problems, hoping to avoid or at least minimize expensive conflicts such as personnel turnover, vendor turmoil, and customer disputes – all of which often lead to litigation, arbitration and a lack of productivity. Because such challenges are an inherent part of business, however, the client strategy must include anticipation of and preparation for any such obstacle to the client’s goal.
  • The Outside General Counsel role requires more listening than pontificating, sometimes humility in lieu of hubris, and always working as a team player regardless of the role assigned by the client decision maker.
  • Because PDH focuses on “Business First” for a variety of small to medium size businesses, almost every experience provides learning relevant to future business client needs.
  • As one example of Mr. Hill’s role as Outside General Counsel, and as someone who exemplifies the type of entrepreneurial spirit to which he feels most comfortable, Mr. Hill serves as a personal advisor to Barnett Gershen/Gershen Consulting, LLC, who describes his own experience as being the “result of hands-on experience from leading an enterprise from its inception through a successful exit. Associated Building Services or ABS – starting with two employees – became the 9th largest privately held maintenance contractor services company in the U.S. with 13,000 employees and sales of $230,000 million.”  Barnett Gershen now acts as an angel investor/consultant and describes his business model and relationship with PDH as follows:

“After a successful business career and a rewarding exit from ABS, I made a decision to utilize my experience and knowledge in the industry to assist other CEO's in their growth plans and efforts to hopefully replicate the same kind of success that I enjoyed. Over the years, my services have evolved from exclusively consulting to combining that with actual investments in select companies.

As we've pushed our business model forward over the last seven years, Mr. Hill assists with structuring, monitoring (legal and financial), and trouble shooting the investments. He has a talent for being very direct, identifying the solutions and analyzing the options, and he does so with a sense of urgency, professionalism, diplomacy, and discretion.“

Barnett Gershen, CEO
Gershen Consulting, LLC

  • Over 20 years ago Mr. Hill began serving as Outside General Counsel to Riba Foods, Inc., home of the Arriba brand salsa, as well as hundreds of other Arriba® branded products and co-packed labels for third parties Riba Foods, Inc. For the last 10 years he has shared this Outside General Counsel role with his PDH partner, Bartt Thompson, who generally focuses on corporate, transaction and branding/trademarking issues. Miguel Barrios has served as the President of Riba Foods, Inc. since its formation and described Riba’s relationship with PDH as follows:

“For over 20 years first Marty, and later Bartt Thompson working with Marty, have served as Outside General Counsel for Riba Foods, Inc. Together they work very efficiently as a team, using associates and staff as necessary, but without duplication of work or unnecessary charges. We value our long-term relationship with PDH and look forward to many years together in the future.”

Miguel Barrios, President
Riba Foods, Inc.

  • Serves as Outside General Counsel to JTB Services, Inc., a leading demolition, construction and underground utility contractor primarily focused in Southeast Texas. Jim Bulgier, President of JTB Services, Inc., provided the following reference for PDH:

For over 10 years Marty Hill of PDH has managed our most difficult litigation needs, serving as lead counsel on the more complex matters. He has also served as Outside General Counsel and has worked efficiently with his partner, Dennis McQueen, who oversees lien filings and collection activities.”

Jim Bulgier, President
JTB Services, Inc.

Litigation, Arbitration and Dispute Resolution

  • Commercial and business disputes
  • Construction contract scope, change order and breach disputes
  • Construction defect disputes
  • Constitutional and intellectual property disputes
  • Employment and labor conflicts
  • Mergers and acquisitions conflicts
  • Real estate disputes
  • Shareholder oppression, ownership and withdrawing partner conflicts
  • Transportation and commercial vehicle accidents

Representative Matters

  • Successful defense and recovery of Texas furniture dealer against suit filed by a California furniture manufacturer where a five-week trial was held in Los Angeles and appeal pursued with the California Appellate Court.
  • Successfully defended a drug and alcohol testing firm in multiple jury trials from claims asserted that led to employee terminations.
  • Defense in arbitration before the International Chamber of Commerce and litigation of owner of offshore drill ship against claims by an offshore service provider.
  • Successful settlement of claim asserted against a Texas-based general contractor involving litigation with the owner of numerous similarly designed/constructed buildings throughout the southeastern United States.
  • Take nothing jury trial defense of contractor client over storm sewer box culvert project where defective construction claimed and $850,000 damage amount was sought.
  • Reached complex and comprehensive settlement on behalf of national steel processor against designer/fabricator of a bridge crane support structure in Kentucky and a second bridge crane support with the same design in Alabama, both of which were almost three football fields in length.
  • Judgment obtained on behalf of a group of trucking companies holding as unconstitutional Section 4(f) of Senate Bill 1313. Bilbo Freight Lines v. Dan Morales C.A. No. H-93-3808 (U.S. District Court of Texas Houston Division).
  • Judgment obtained on behalf of group of medical professionals holding as unconstitutional Texas House Bill 1327. Bailey v. Morales, 190 F.3d 320 (U.S. Fifth Circuit).
  • Confidential settlement (including permanent injunctions) of claims asserted by a national manufacturing firm against two former employees for breach of a non-compete and non-circumvention agreement, as well as misappropriation of intellectual property.
  • Settlement for nominal amount of sexual harassment claim asserted against national medical laboratory and one of its shareholder/executives.
  • Confidential settlement on behalf of foreign national former division manager against a global oilfield services company, complicated by Foreign Corrupt Practices Act issues.
  • Successful pursuit of claims on behalf of seller of national airport service provider for breach of the earn-out provisions under a stock purchase and related agreements against multi-national purchaser of such company.
  • Successful pursuit of seven figure claim on behalf of multi-national investor group in defending specific performance and damage claims relating to title report on a large apartment complex in Riverside, California.
  • Represented real estate investment entity as a second lien holder of multiple lots and houses in Galveston County, Texas development against first lien holder and set aside foreclosures and sustained ownership through multiple court orders.
  • Representation in arbitration of software company on employee/shareholder claims of wrongful termination, breach of fiduciary duty and shareholder oppression claims where arbitration award was less than dollar amount offered by client prior to assertion of claim.
  • Successful defense of the largest privately held specialty food manufacturer in the United States from claims of ownership and royalty disputes by a former associate and holder of royalty agreement.
  • Successful settlement of trucking accident claim where damages were asserted against manufacturing company exceeded liability and excess insurance in place by millions of dollars.
  • Successful jury trial defense of corporate employer, who was not a subscriber to Texas Workers' Compensation, whose employee suffered a severe burn on a jobsite.


Real World Education/Experience: Mr. Hill’s educational background started by growing up on a working farm near Alma, Michigan. He rode horses and wore boots for work (not play), built farm buildings and fences, rebuilt tractor engines, baled hay, and grew corn -- whatever it took to care for the hundreds of thousands of animals that he helped care for during his first career. Animals ranged from horses and cattle to the less glorious turkeys and chickens to disgusting pigs. He learned to weld so that farm equipment could be repaired, and he designed, fabricated and welded farrowing crates out of salvage oilfield pipe that are still in good shape today (nearly 40 years later), contrasted with manufactured crates that lasted 5 years. He helped follow structural drawings to fabricate roof trusses with plywood gussets to support heavy snow loads on large poultry buildings. Mr. Hill also helped remodel and build houses for farm workers and houses to sell to third parties. He has laid blocks, framed, insulated, hung sheet-rock, shingled roofs, calculated loads and run electrical and plumbing lines, and just about anything that didn’t require a license, and probably some things that did. He has held a CDL, driven 18 wheelers, pulled two pup trailers with a dolly, and even had some success backing such a big rig out of a blocked street. He only has one scar from baseball; the rest are from work.

While his work background may not be wholly unique, he has consistently and enthusiastically leveraged those experiences into knowledge. He started by admiring and respecting the tradesmen who supported farming and construction activities, as well as the businessmen who hedged against commodity price fluctuations, financed operations, complied (or tried to comply) with inane governmental regulations, and negotiated a wide range of contracts. Many of these people did not have scholarly certificates hanging on their walls, but they earned their knowledge through years of experience; and they were keen to share their expertise with an eager teenager. One of Mr. Hill’s most cherished client comments as a lawyer came from Dr. Moore, a very successful retired California veterinarian and businessman with extensive real estate holdings who he continues to represent nationally and internationally. Dr. Moore said, “What makes you different is that you listen because you respect me, rather than assuming that you know my problem from reading a book or from a different case, like most lawyers.” He not only listens, but he shares the client’s angst for making the best strategic decision in light of not only the legal, but also the economic, realities.

Of course, one cannot be a lawyer without learning the law through formal instruction, so he participated in the formal education process with the same enthusiasm as learning from tradesmen and business people. He worked his way through school, and continued both farm/construction work and work for Alma College, because his dad epitomized the “bootstrap” theory of child rearing, though he was not so appreciative at the time.

· J.D., University of Houston, 1991, cum laude, with honors

  • University of Houston Law Review, Publishing Editor
  • Voted Outstanding Law Review Editor for converting Law Review editorial process from external (Darby Publishing) to internal Law Review, thereby saving substantial time and money for the Law Review
  • Multiple Law School AmJur Awards

· Washington & Lee University Law School, Lexington, VA (scholarship), 1979-80

  • Sabbatical from Washington & Lee University Law School working full time for the National Republican Congressional Committee under Congressman Guy Vander Jagt, including the primary and general Congressional elections during the Reagan revolution. Mr. Hill left active politics to move to Texas, worked to establish residency, and like Congressman Vander Jagt, returned to and transferred law schools, albeit in Mr. Hill’s case, to pursue his dreams in Houston, Texas, which he correctly perceived would accept a non-birthed, but nevertheless genuine, Texas citizen.

· B.A., Alma College, Alma, Michigan, 1979, cum laude with honors

  • Faculty appointed as Michigan Scholars School Representative
  • Captain of debate team, competing throughout Mid-Western Region of U.S.
  • Moderator of televised debates of state and national political leaders
  • Assistant to Pre-Law Faculty Chair (paid position)
  • History and Accounting Teaching Assistant (paid position)
  • Chairman of the Gratiot County Republican Party (unpaid position)
  • Youth Chairman of 10th Congressional District Republican Party (paid position)

Affiliations and Certifications