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John S. Serpe

  • Profile
  • Credentials
  • Representative Experience
  • Practice Areas

John specializes in medical malpractice and pharmaceutical defense, health care liability, health care advising and health care law, as well as general litigation. He has tried more than 35 cases to verdict. John has been lead counsel in the defense of hospitals and physicians in a broad range of cases involving such issues as catastrophic injury, neurological damage, paralysis, limb loss, death, sexual misconduct, and psychological injury.

He has over 30 years of experience as a trial lawyer and was involved in the trial and appeal of two major malpractice decisions in Texas – Miller v. HCA and Romero v. HCA. Miller v. HCA involved the resuscitation of a baby who suffered catastrophic neurologic damage. A unanimous Texas Supreme Court affirmed a judgment for the hospital in this seminal case. In Romero v. HCA, an appeal was successfully defended on issues of malicious credentialing through the Texas Supreme Court. As a result of his experience in these cases, John is frequently called upon to lecture and advise health care providers about issues relating to the care of premature infants and the credentialing of physicians.

John has written and lectured to numerous physicians, attorneys, and hospital groups on the defense of medical malpractice cases. He serves on various committees at hospitals in the greater Houston area, assisting with the improvement of health care. John advises healthcare clients on a wide variety of matters, including compliance with HIPAA and other laws regulating the confidentiality of health care information, maintenance and protection of peer-review privileges, the Advanced Directives Act, issues regarding obtaining court orders in emergent circumstances, and other state and federal laws regulating both health care providers and institutions.

John tries cases throughout Texas, New Mexico and Missouri.

Educational Background

  • University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1983
  • University of Virginia College of Arts and Sciences, B.A., History with Distinction, 1980


  • State Bar of Texas
  • State Bar of New Mexico
  • State Bar of Missouri
  • United States District Courts for the Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of Texas
  • United States District Court for the District of New Mexico
  • Supreme Court of the State of New Mexico
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth and Tenth Circuit


  • Texas Super Lawyers, 2008-present
  • Super Lawyers, Corporate Counsel Edition, 2009-present
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV preeminent Peer Review Rating, 2007-present
  • Martindale-Hubbell 2014 Top Rated Lawyers in Medical Malpractice Law
  • Who’s Who in American Law, 1989
  • Distinguished Student Award, 1983; University of Virginia
  • Raven Award, 1983; University of Virginia
  • Arthur P. “Pete” Gray Scholarship Award, 1978
  • Omicron Delta Kappa
  • Raven Society

Publications and Presentations

  • Web Care: Management and Response to Patient Posts Online; ASHRM Annual Conference; October 2017.
  • Advanced Medical Torts Seminar; Course Director; March 2017.
  • Legal Issues at the Edge of Viability; Neonatology & the Law Conference; March 2017.
  • Neonatal Care on Trial: Civil Litigation Mock Trial; Neonatology & the Law Conference; March 2017.
  • Social Media – Do we “Like” It or Is It Insta-Trouble?; ASHRM Annual Conference; September 2016.
  • Disruptive Physician Issues; HBA Health Law Section; July 2016.
  • Prematurity Cases of Legal Malpractice; Neonatology & the Law Conference; March 2016.
  • The Standard of Care – What it Means to You; Neonatology & the Law Conference; March 2016.
  • Liability of Professional Entities and Individuals; Advanced Medical Torts Seminar; March 2016.
  • Grand Rounds: Patient Privacy Concerns in Today’s Digital Society; July 2015.
  • The Power and Pitfalls of Social Media; Houston area hospital; June 2015.
  • Potential Liable Entities; Advanced Medical Torts Seminar; San Antonio, Texas; March 2015.
  • Social Media, E-Discovery & E-Health Records: A Hospital CEO’s Perspective; CHI/Optima Healthcare Insurance Services; February 2015.
  • Handling Lawsuits: It’s Not Just for Lawyers Anymore; ASHRM Annual Conference; October 2014.
  • Miller: Practicing on the Edge of Viability; Neonatology & the Law Conference; March 2014.
  • Never Events and Governmental Investigations: Standards – Discoverability – Admissibility – Hospital Liability – Audits; Advanced Medical Torts Seminar; March 2013.
  • Grand Rounds: Consent and Certification: Addressing the issues that physicians face when caring for extremely premature babies; January 2013.
  • Ground Rounds: Blood Products, Battery, Religion & Consent; October 2012.
  • E-Discovery: Updates, Examples & Tools for Health Care Providers; ASHRM Annual Conference; October 2011.
  • The Primary Care Physicians & The Law; TCPA; June 2011.
  • The Ramifications of Social Media and E-Discovery; Houston area hospital; June 2011.
  • E-Discovery; NORCAL Conference; August 2010.
  • Documenting Do’s & Don’ts in Obstetrics; Medical Intelligence Seminar; March 2010.
  • Junk Science Revisited; Neonatology & the Law Conference; March 2010.
  • Impact of Reform and Things You Need to Know About Ch. 74; TDI Conference; November 2009.
  • E-Discovery & Electronically Stored Info: Dream or Nightmare? ASHRM Annual Conference; October 2009.
  • Analysis of a Health Care Claim & Adjuster Ethics; API Conference; February 2009.
  • Malicious Credentialing: When Hospitals are Liable for Dangerous Doctors; ASHRM Annual Conference; October 2008.
  • Giving the Medical Record a Voice; Houston area hospital; June 2008.
  • Nurse Education Week; Mock Trial Demonstration; 2008.
  • Medical Malpractice Case Update; Austin; 2008.
  • Malpractice Cases; Houston Baptist University; 2007.
  • Mock Trials – Cross Exam of Neonatologist; California; 2007.
  • Tort Reform Update: Post September 1, 2003; ASHRM Annual Conference; October 2006.
  • Getting Sued for Helping Babies Live – The Miller Case; Childbirth Injury and the Law VIII Conference; 2005.
  • Can My Doctors Get Sued for Helping Babies Live? ASHRM Annual Conference; October 2004.
  • Issues in Credentialing: A Case Study; ASHRM Annual Conference; October 2002; November 2003.
  • Miller v. HCA: Hospitals, Parents, and Premature Babies; GHSRM Conference; February 2003.
  • Bioethical Dilemmas of Early Gestational Management; Perinatal Risk Management Congress VII Conference; September 2002.
  • Pay Now…Or Pay Even More Later! Effective Use of Alternate Dispute Resolution Processes; RIMS Annual Conference.


  • American Bar Association
  • Houston Bar Association
  • Bar Association of the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico
  • Texas Association of Defense Counsel
  • Health Law Section, State Bar of Texas
  • American Society for Healthcare Risk Management
  • Greater Houston Society of Healthcare Risk Managers
  • Texas Bar Foundation
  • American Health Lawyers Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Fellow member of The Litigation Counsel of America
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • New Mexico Defense Lawyers Association
  • Obtained defense verdict as lead attorney in the defense of a cardiac death case regarding allegations of improper advice and treatment from a cardiologist
  • First chair trial during first year of practice in loss of vision case for an ophthalmologist which resulted in defense verdict
  • Defense verdict, first chair trial, for a dermatologist in improper use of medications allegedly resulting in permanent nerve damage
  • Defense verdict, first chair trial, for a gastroenterologist based on allegation of improper care resulting in death from a ruptured colon during a colonoscopy procedure
  • Favorable settlement in third week of trial as first chair in a leg amputation case on behalf of podiatric surgeon
  • Defense verdict, first chair trial, in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome claim versus nurse and hospital
  • Favorable resolution in second week of trial as first chair in an adult brain damage from meningitis case
  • Defense verdict, first chair trial, in spinal epidural abscess case on behalf of a hospital based on improper care allegations against a nurse
  • Favorable verdict in improper discharge of patient on narcotics resulting in car accident in which patient suffered brain damage and subsequently died
  • Involved major appellate decision involving ad litem fees
  • Co-counsel in neurological injury case from radiological procedure resulting in defense verdict
  • Co-counsel in decubitus ulcer death case resulting in favorable second week of trial
  • Second chaired defense of a hypoxic brain injury claim against hospital and physician which resulted in defense verdict. Formulated defense plan against allegations of improper use of Pitocin and fetal monitoring errors on behalf of nurses named individually as well as hospital client
  • Assembled defense team of experts to assist in case presentation spanning several medical specialties including OB/gyn, neonatology, and pedi-neurology