Steven Cannon

Steven Cannon

Partner
Steven’s practice focuses on construction-related matters with sureties revolving around various disputes and litigation from payment bond and performance bond claims, to claims against indemnitors. He also has experience with commercial litigation, corporate transactions, estate planning, probate, and non-profit/tax-exempt organizations. Steven is also a licensed Texas CPA.

Steven is a native of Rowlett, Texas. He graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting. While at Texas Tech, Steven was an active member of FarmHouse Fraternity. After his undergraduate degree, Steven stayed in Lubbock to obtain a Master of Science in Accounting with a taxation emphasis, and his law degree with a Business Law concentration. Steven made the Dean’s List every semester of law school. While in law school, Steven served as the Business Manager and a Staff Editor of the Texas Tech Estate Planning & Community Property Law Journal. He was also a contributing writer for the Texas Bank Lawyer monthly publication and served as the Vice-President of Administration for the Student Bar Association.

Following law school, Steven spent over four years in private practice in the San Antonio area representing subcontractors and their owners while focusing on a variety of areas of law from transactional to litigation before returning home to the Dallas area, where he joined forces with Ryan Dry in 2019. In his free time, Steven enjoys being out on the golf course, watching all sports, and traveling with his wife.

Representative Cases

Diamond Servs. Corp. v. T.W. LaQuay Marine, LLC, No. 3:21-CV-78, 2022 WL 909004, at *1 (S.D. Tex. Mar. 24, 2022), aff’d sub nom. Diamond Servs. Corp. v. Travelers Cas. & Sur. Co. of Am., No. 22-40240, 2022 WL 4990416 (5th Cir. Oct. 3, 2022). Obtained dismissal on a statute of limitations defense to a Miller Act payment bond claim. The Court ruled in favor of the surety by holding that the plaintiff failed to timely bring its lawsuit against the surety when it failed to file suit prior to the one-year statute of limitations, despite the plaintiff asserting an estoppel defense by arguing it gave notice to the surety of its claim within the one-year period. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s ruling in denying the estoppel argument by holding that the acknowledgment of claim correspondence from the surety made no affirmative representations and explicitly reserved all rights and defenses, including the limitations defense.

Argonaut Ins. Co. v. Summit Concrete, Inc., No. 5:22-CV-798-LCB, 2022 WL 17819631 (N.D. Ala. Dec. 19, 2022). Obtained injunctive relief requiring indemnitors to post collateral with the surety in accordance with the indemnity agreement. The Court followed the overwhelming majority of district courts nationwide in holding that “a surety lacks an adequate remedy at law to enforce a collateral security provision of an indemnity agreement.” In a separate order of the same day, the Court denied the Indemnitors’ Motion to Stay the indemnity action pending litigation on the validity of the claims, holding that the Indemnitors contractual obligations under the indemnity agreement are wholly irrelevant to the pending litigation on the claims.

Philadelphia Indem. Ins. Co. v. P2MG, 2022 WL 292270 (S.D. Tex. 2022). Obtained summary judgment on indemnity action against indemnitors who claimed that the surety did not act in good faith by settling a payment bond claim in litigation. The court ruled that the terms of the indemnity agreement were clear and unambiguous in providing the surety the exclusive right and sole discretion to settle claims. The court further pointed out that the indemnitors’ failure to provide collateral to protect the surety defeated the indemnitors’ arguments that the surety should not have settled the claim. Last, the court awarded the surety its attorneys’ fees incurred in defending the payment bond claim as well as in enforcement of the indemnity agreement based on the surety’s sworn itemization in accordance with the terms of the indemnity agreement.

Pearl 1 Services, LLC, v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 2021 WL 9749325 (N.D. Tex. 2021). Obtained dismissal of claim for attorneys’ fees against a surety when the Court ruled that the claimant was not entitled to such fees under the Miller Act.

McKinstry Essention, LLC v. Philadelphia Indem. Ins. Co., 2021 WL 3914251 (S.D. Tex. 2021), report and recommendation adopted, 2021 WL 3913578 (S.D. Tex. 2021). Obtained dismissal of a performance bond claim against the surety by summary judgment. The court agreed with the surety that the obligee failed to provide the surety reasonable notice and an opportunity to mitigate when it self-performed the completion of the project after the principal’s alleged default. Additionally, the court dismissed the obligee’s claim for declaratory relief related to payment bond claims involving subcontractors that were not parties to the lawsuit, pointing out that no conflict existed between the obligee and the surety regarding the payment bond.

Philadelphia Indem. Ins. Co. v. Reytech Servs., L.L.C., 2021 WL 4142390 (5th Cir. 2021). Defeated an appeal of a judgment in favor of the surety on an indemnity action where one indemnitor sought to avoid its indemnity obligations. The appellate court affirmed the district court’s judgment in favor of the surety.

Philadelphia Indem. Ins. Co. v. P.C. Contractors, LLC, 2020 WL 7028484 (N.D. Tex. 2020). Obtained multi-million-dollar summary judgment on indemnity action against indemnitor who claimed that it was not a defined indemnitor under the indemnity agreement and that the indemnity agreement has been subsequently merged or replaced. The court ruled that the terms of the indemnity agreement were clear and unambiguous in defining the defendant as an indemnitor and the indemnity agreement was still in full force and effect, having not been merged with another agreement.

Charro Boring, Inc. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company, 2020 WL 4284928 (E.D. Tex. 2020). Obtained summary judgment on a statute of limitations defense to a statutory payment bond claim. The Court ruled in favor of the surety by holding that the plaintiff failed to timely bring its lawsuit against the surety when it previously filed an arbitration against the surety and principal, ultimately dismissing the surety from the arbitration.

Harris County Water Control and Improvement District No. 89 v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company, 2020 WL 2839178 (S.D. Tex. 2020). Obtained dismissal of a multi-million-dollar performance bond claim against the surety by summary judgment. The court ruled that the contract in which the obligee brought suit and attempted to make a performance bond claim had replaced the contract that the surety bonded under its performance bond terms, and the replacement of the subsequent contract extinguished the surety’s responsibilities under the performance bond.

United States ex rel. Dixie Communications Systems, Inc. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, 2019 WL 4644247 (S.D. Ga. 2019). Obtained dismissal of a Miller Act payment bond claim against the surety on an untimely notice to the contractor defense. The court ruled that the claimant failed to state a claim under the Miller Act when it admitted in its complaint that it did not provide the principal contractor with the required 90-day notice.

Publications

  • Comment, Steven K. Cannon, What’s It Worth? How Can an Asset Without a Market be Valued at a Fair Market Value?, The Codicil, Tex. Tech. Est. Plan. & Community Prop. L. J. (2014)

Events & Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, Construction Jeopardy, American Bar Association Fidelity and Surety Law Midwinter Meeting (2024)
  • Moderator, Technical Issues: How to Document and Pursue Claims Relating to Complex Changes, American Bar Association Fidelity and Surety Law Midwinter Meeting (2023)
  • Presenter, Utilizing the Indemnity Agreement’s Assignment Clause, Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Conference (2022)
  • Presenter, Maladministration of the Contract Award and Execution – the MIA Architect: A Case Study, Midwest Surety and Construction Claims Conference (2021)
  • Presenter, Update on Lien and Bond Claims in Light of Current Issues and Legislation, San Antonio Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (2018)
  • Presenter, Don’t Roll the Dice! Conducting Legal Charitable Fundraising Activities, San Antonio CPA Society’s Continuing Education Symposium (2016)
  • Presenter, Transfer on Death Deeds v. Lady Bird Deeds v. JTWROS Deeds, Texas Advanced Paralegal Seminar (2016)
  • Presenter, Demystifying Decision Making: Advanced Directives, Guardianship and More, Aging in Texas Conference (2016)
  • Presenter, Estate Planning Update, San Antonio CPA Society’s Continuing Education Symposium, (2015)
  • Presenter, How to File an Estate in Probate Court & Working with Executors and Administrators, The Probate Process from Start to Finish, Institute for Paralegal Education (2015)

Professional & Civic Activities

  • State Bar of Texas
  • American Bar Association
    • Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section
      • Fidelity and Surety Law Committee
  • DFW Surety Claims Association, 2023 – Present
    • Treasurer, 2023 – Present
  • Texas State Board of Public Accountancy
  • Certified Public Accountant, Texas, 2015
  • Associated Builders and Contractors – South Texas, 2014 – 2018
    • Future Leaders Task Force Committee Chair, 2018
  • Construct-a-Kids Christmas Gala Committee Member, 2015 – 2018
    • Silent Auction Committee Chair, 2017 – 2018
  • Miracle League of San Antonio Volunteer, 2015 – 2018
  • San Antonio CPA Society, 2015 – 2018
    • Vice-President, 2018
    • Board Member, 2017
    • FUNlympics Committee Chair, 2017

Education

  • J.D., magna cum laude, Texas Tech University School of Law (2014)
  • M.S., Accounting (Taxation), Texas Tech University (2013)
  • B.B.A., Accounting, summa cum laude, Texas Tech University (2011)

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Texas, 2014
  • New Mexico, 2022
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for Colorado
  • U.S. District Court for New Mexico
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Districts of Texas

Honors & Awards

  • Certificate of Excellence in Legal Research
  • Distinction Award for Trial Advocacy
  • Industry Professional of the Year – Associated Builders and Contractors-South Texas (2018)
  • Rising Star – Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (2017)
  • Young CPA of the Year – San Antonio CPA Society (2015 – 2016)