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Jessica Zavadil Barger

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Appellate Attorney in Houston, TX

Wright Close & Barger, LLP
One Riverway, Suite 2200
Houston, TX 77056
Phone: 713-572-4321
Fax: 713-572-4320
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2019 - 2021
Selected to Rising Stars: 2012 - 2015
Licensed in Texas Since: 2001
Practice Areas: Appellate
Attorney Profile

Jessica Zavadil Barger, a name partner at Houston-based Wright Close & Barger LLP, is a seasoned appellate and trial lawyer focused primarily on defending companies in commercial disputes. She has secured numerous appeals court wins in state and federal cases involving insurance coverage, premises liability, product liability and personal injury.

Ms. Barger is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She has argued cases in the Supreme Court of Texas, in several intermediate appellate courts throughout Texas, and in the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. She is a frequent speaker on various appellate and insurance coverage issues.

A member of the firm since 2007, Ms. Barger previously worked as briefing attorney and staffing attorney for Texas’ 14th Court of Appeals. She also worked with two other highly respected law firms. In 2018, she became a name partner. She earned her law degree from the South Texas College of Law Houston and her undergraduate degree at Concordia College. 



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About Jessica Zavadil Barger

First Admitted: 2001, Texas

Professional Webpage:


  • Houston’s Top Lawyers for the People by H Texas Magazine.
  • Texas Rising Stars by Thomson Reuters, 2012-2015
  • Best Lawyers in America, Appellate Practice, 2018, 2019

Bar/Professional Activity

  • Member, State Bar of Texas, Appellate Section
  • Admissions: State Bar of Texas and State Bar of Minnesota
  • Houston Bar Association, Houston Young Lawyers Association, American Bar Association

Educational Background

  • B.A., Political Science and History, Concordia College 1998, with honors
  • Varsity Moot Court, Brief Writer, 1999–2001
  • Law Review, Associate Note & Comment Editor, 2000–2001
  • J.D., South Texas College of Law 2001

Special Licenses/Certifications

  • Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, 2010


  • Estate of Washington, et al. v. Liem and Trumps, Inc., (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2013) Persuaded appeals court to uphold a take-nothing judgment in favor of a bar in a wrongful death case, based on a jury verdict that the decedent was more than 50 percent responsible for the accident.,, 2013
  • Hunter Buildings & Manufacturing, L.P. et. al. v. MBI Global, L.L.C., (Tex. App—Houston [14th Dist.] 2014) Won reversal of a $4.4 million judgment against Hunter Buildings in an appeal of a trade secrets case. While the appeal was pending, also obtained the reversal of the trial court’s determination of the amount of our client’s appeals bond which was unfairly based on “consolidated” financial statements that overstated the company’s net worth., 2014
  • Medallion Transport & Logistics, LLC v. Williams (Tex. App.—Texarkana, 2015) Won appeal and reversal of $4 million judgment against a trucking company arising from an 18-wheeler accident. The court of appeals remanded the case for a new trial after concluding the trial court’s decision to submit a spoliation instruction to the jury was harmful error., 2015
  • 4Front Engineered Solutions, Inc. v. Rosales, (Tex. 2016) Won a reversal and take-nothing judgment at the Texas Supreme Court for client 4Front Engineered Solutions. The company was sued by a subcontractor injured on the company premises by another contractor’s negligence. After a jury awarded the worker $13 million in compensatory and punitive damages, our team won a reversal on punitive damages, ultimately securing a full reversal from the state’s highest court. The justices found that no evidence supporting liability against 4Front based on theories of negligent entrustment or premises liability., 2016
  • Bennett v. Commission for Lawyer Discipline, (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2016) Won reinstatement of an attorney’s law license upon appeal of his disbarment. The lawyer initially was found in violation of two disciplinary rules. The appeals court agreed with our argument that there was no evidence of a violation related to one of the rules. The matter of the second rule violation was remanded for further proceedings., 2016
  • City of El Paso v. Viel, (Tex. App.—El Paso, 2017) Won partial appeal for city of El Paso on claims of negligence, negligent undertaking and gross negligence involving injuries to a cargo company employee at El Paso International Airport. The trial court had denied the city’s motions that it had immunity related to its governmental function in operating the airport. While the appellate court agreed that the negligence claims were barred as a matter of law, it held the city was not immune from suit for the employee’s premises claim and affirmed that portion of the lower court’s order., 2017
  • Roberts Company, Inc. v. Moore, (Miss., 2017) Won Mississippi Supreme Court appeal on behalf of Roberts Company grocery store in a case that involved the juror disqualification. Represented the grocery company on interlocutory appeal to the state’s high court after a trial court threw out a verdict favorable to Roberts because the jury foreman was a convicted felon. The result was a decision for our client in a case of first impression., 2017
  • UDR Texas Properties, LP v. Petrie, (Tex. 2017) Won a Texas Supreme Court reversal for apartment complex owner UDR Texas Properties in a case of first impression with sweeping implications in favor of commercial property owners. The decision meant a take-nothing judgment for the owner of apartments where a visitor was shot. The outcome protects property owners from being held liable purely because the property is in a high-crime area. The case drew numerous amicus briefs including from the Texas Civil Justice League and the Texas Apartment Association. , 2017
  • Austin Bridge & Road, LP v. Suarez, (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] May 3, 2018)  Won take-nothing judgment on appeal for client Austin Bridge & Road, the general contractor handling construction of a pedestrian bridge to Baylor University’s McLane Stadium. A subcontractor employee was killed in an accident during construction. A Harris County jury awarded the worker’s family $17 million. Successfully argued to 1st Court of Appeals that the claims against the general contractor were barred because of implementation of a workers’ compensation insurance program. The court also agreed there was no evidence of gross negligence.   Waco Tribune-Herald article, 2018
  • Manhattan-Vaughn v. Garcia, (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] June 7, 2018) Negotiated successful settlement on behalf of  Manhattan-Vaughn, a construction partnership, sued by the family of a subcontractor who died in an accident while working on the demolition of sections of Kyle Field at Texas A&M University. The settlement was negotiated while Manhattan-Vaughn appealed a jury verdict that had awarded $53.8 million to the worker’s family. Death benefits had already been paid under an owner-controlled insurance program.  , 2018
  • Berkel & Co. Contractors, Inc. v. Lee, (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2018)  Represented Berkel & Co. on appeal, winning a new trial after the company was slapped with a $43 million judgment for gross negligence and intentional injury involving claims by a construction superintendent after a crane collapsed., 2018
  • Sierra Equipment, Inc. v. Lexington Insurance Co., (5th Cir. May 15, 2018)  Won 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision on behalf of client Lexington Insurance Co. regarding a claim involving damage to heavy equipment. The contractor responsible went bankrupt and the equipment leasing company attempted to seek insurance coverage from Lexington, the contractor’s insurer, under the equitable lien doctrine. Assisted in securing a judgment for Lexington in the trial court and handled the successful appeal based on the absence of a loss payable clause in the policy. , 2018

Representative Clients

  • Appellate Win - City of El Paso, 2017
  • Appellate Win - UDR Texas Properties, LP , 2017
  • Take Nothing Appeal - Berkel & Co. Contractors, Inc., 2017

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • Presentation on OCIP and CCIP Exclusive Remedy at 31st Annual Construction Law CLE, March 1-2, San Antonio., 2018
  • Mandamus & Discovery Issues in Challenging New Trials, State Bar Of Texas CLE, 2018

Industry Groups

  • Construction
  • Insurance Defense
  • Real Estate
  • Transportation
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Office Location for Jessica Zavadil Barger

One Riverway
Suite 2200
Houston, TX 77056

Last Updated: 3/2/2021

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