Craig M. Warner is a Partner with the firm’s Litigation and White Collar Criminal and Regulatory Defense practices. Craig advises clients ranging from middle market companies to Fortune 500 corporations on how to manage active and potential litigation and investigations. He works side-by-side with clients, their executives, officers, directors, and in-house counsel to formulate litigation strategies that are commensurate with the client’s overall business goals. Where appropriate, he knows how to settle cases quickly, and as an experienced trial lawyer, he can lead trial teams in both state and federal courts throughout Texas, North Carolina, and the nation.
Craig has represented Fortune 500 companies, some of the nation’s largest privately held businesses, and key Texas state agencies in the energy, financial services, insurance, and consumer sectors. He also regularly represents small and mid-sized businesses, 501(c)(3) organizations, and individuals, both before and during litigation and government investigations. His matters range from complex class action defense, multi-million dollar construction arbitrations and real estate disputes, and financial industry litigation, to the direct recovery of amounts due for goods and services rendered by small and mid-sized vendors. Prior to joining Bell Nunnally & Martin, Craig served as both a Naval Officer and Assistant U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, where he was lead counsel for the United States in multiple jury trials that resulted in life sentences for criminal kingpins.
Craig regularly advises business clients and their key constituents about the viability of legal actions and their defenses, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of a range of litigation strategies, including mediations and arbitrations. In his pre-litigation counseling, he has assisted clients with disputes involving breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, business torts (such as unfair competition, defamation, and fraud), and a range of activities that trigger potential criminal liability.
As a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Naval Judge Advocate, and Assistant Attorney General for the Texas Attorney General’s office, Craig has more than eight years of experience as lead trial counsel on a wide variety of civil and criminal matters. These include international and interstate drug trafficking and money laundering prosecutions, the defense of complex federal class action claims, and defending senior U.S. Marines against allegations of hazing arising from events in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Since entering private practice in 2012, Craig has litigated countless civil cases at Summary Judgment, bench trial, or by plea or settlement, including disputes arising from import/export trade contracts, energy-industry supply problems, and luxury real estate transactions.
In addition, Craig has broad class action defense experience. He has represented one of Forbes’ “100 Largest Private Companies” as associate counsel in a major consumer class action, served as lead counsel for the State of Texas in another federal class action, and appeared as both associate and lead counsel in securities class actions. He has repeatedly litigated such cases to favorable settlements approved by federal courts.
FINRA Arbitrations and Enforcement Proceedings
Craig has considerable experience representing brokerage houses and individual Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) in regulatory proceedings. He has represented both brokerage houses and individual advisors in FINRA intra-industry arbitrations focused on non-solicitation covenants and the use of proprietary information. He also regularly represents RIAs and other financial professionals facing enforcement proceedings before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and has repeatedly obtained the dismissal of such enforcement actions or significant reductions in the penalties sought.
White Collar Criminal Defense & Corporate Investigations/Compliance
In his white collar/internal investigations work, Craig was associate counsel for a Fortune 500 company applicant in the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Corporate Leniency Program and the nearly two-year internal investigation that resulted. The matter was resolved when the Department of Justice closed its investigation. He has investigated alleged violations of federal law threatened against Texas hospitals and medical practices, represented businesses and 501(c)(3) organizations facing False Claims Act allegations, and proactively advised businesses and 501(c)(3) organizations about compliance issues.
As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Craig successfully represented the United States in five appeals before the U.S. Courts of Appeals. These included complex Fourth Amendment and trial evidence issues.
In 2007, during his service as a Naval Judge Advocate, Craig volunteered for deployment to Fallujah, Iraq with Regimental Combat Team – 6, United States Marine Corps. Later, Craig continued his military service with the Texas Army National Guard, reaching the rank of Major and serving as the Brigade Judge Advocate for the 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Fort Worth, Texas. He was a qualified Airborne Paratrooper who contributed to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts throughout Texas and conducted a three-week military exercise with dozens of African and European militaries as part of Special Operations Detachment-Africa (Airborne) in 2017.
Personal Life & Community Involvement
Craig is an active member of the St. Thomas More Society and of Christ the King Catholic Church in Dallas. He serves as co-president of the Christ the King Kingsmen, which is closely involved in the support of Christ the King Catholic School. He serves on the Board of Carecenter Ministries, a charity serving the poor in urban Dallas.
Craig lives in Dallas with his wife, Heidi, and their three children.