Mr John Shely > Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP > Houston, United States > Lawyer Profile

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
600 TRAVIS, SUITE 4200
United States
John Shely photo

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Co-chair of the Firm’s Litigation Section, John’s practice includes all aspects of managed care litigation, with an emphasis on provider litigation, ERISA benefits litigation, and bad faith insurance practices litigation. He also has significant experience handling commercial litigation and products liability cases.

John has served as first chair in jury and bench trials and has argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the Tenth Circuit, the Supreme Court of Texas, various Texas appellate courts and other appellate courts on many occasions. He represents insurers, plan administrators, preferred provider organizations, health maintenance organizations, employers, trustees, banks, fiduciaries and claims administrators.

For more than two decades, John has represented managed care companies as lead counsel in a number of high profile cases. Many of the cases have involved cutting-edge legal issues as the healthcare industry has changed. These cases include the representation of managed care companies in their successful federal court challenge to Texas’ HMO Health Care Liability Act. The successful challenge spanned five years and resulted in three published opinions from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Subsequently, John was lead counsel for the managed care company defendants in a suit brought under the Act despite the rulings of the Fifth Circuit. The trial court dismissed the suit but the Fifth Circuit unexpectedly reversed the trial court. The United States Supreme Court reversed the Fifth Circuit and, in a unanimous decision, ruled in favor of the firm’s managed care client. (Aetna Health Inc. v. Davila). The case received extensive publicity and remains a leading case on ERISA preemption. John also has successfully represented managed care companies in libel claims brought by providers, both in jury trials, and in motion and appellate practice.

Recently, much of John’s practice has involved representing managed care companies against providers alleged to have engaged in improper or fraudulent billing practices. While some of these actions have been in the form of counterclaims to actions brought by providers, others have been original actions brought by managed care companies, seeking damages and injunctive relief against wrongful billing practices. These suits are another example of how John provides a service to managed care companies as the healthcare industry continues to evolve. Some in the industry believe that these types of suits are a necessary component of the mission to keep medical costs down for all. Additionally, John has successfully represented companies in arbitrations which have gone to trial involving claims by providers that John’s clients owed millions of dollars.

John has handled many cases relating to pension claims and breach of fiduciary duty claims under ERISA. He also has defended many suits seeking to certify a plaintiff class. For instance, John represented managed care companies, winning class action suits that asserted i) a breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA for the alleged failure to disclose financial incentive arrangements, and ii) alleged violations of the Lanham Act. He has significant experience with respect to the scope of ERISA preemption and the application of the doctrine to various factual settings. John also has tried numerous ERISA benefits suits in federal court including injunction cases relating to COBRA issues and deselection of providers from managed care networks. Additionally, many other cases have been resolved in favor of clients, prior to trial, as a result of the granting of dispositive motions.


  • State Bar of Texas
  • Houston Bar Association


  • JD, 1986, University of Houston Law Center, Order of the Coif, Phi Delta Phi, Houston Law Review, Member
  • BA, 1980, magna cum laude, Albion College, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Eta Sigma