Charles Fowler is a Principal in McKool Smith’s Austin office and a former federal prosecutor. His practice focuses on appeals, trials, and critical motions in complex commercial, intellectual property, and criminal cases. An experienced appellate advocate, Charles has handled more than 75 federal appeals as lead counsel and has presented 21 appellate oral arguments spanning the First, Fifth, and Ninth Circuits. Charles also has substantial trial experience in state and federal courts across the country.
Charles rejoined McKool Smith in 2023 after three and one half years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of California (Los Angeles) and Western District of Texas (Austin). In both districts, Charles was a member of the appellate section, where he handled appeals often raising novel statutory or constitutional issues.
Charles clerked for the Honorable Harris Hartz of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. At the University of Texas School of Law, Charles was named Grand Chancellor for holding the top class rank at the end of his second year, the only time students are ranked. Charles participated in the law school’s Supreme Court Clinic. He was also a member of the Texas Law Review and Chairperson of the Legal Research Board.
- Centego II LLC v. MetroSplash Systems Group Inc., et al. Represented minority owner of fuel-rewards business through jury trial of lawsuit involving claims and counterclaims for fraud, breach of representations and warranties, and breach of fiduciary duties.
- Schermerhorn, et al. v. CenturyLink, et al. Represented CenturyLink through jury trial in defense of lawsuit involving securities-fraud and related claims brought by 64 investor plaintiffs in five discrete groups.
- Canyon Ridge Resort LLC, et al. v. Sterne Agee & Leach Inc., et al. Represented hotel development firm through jury trial of lawsuit involving claims against investment bank for fraud, breach of fiduciary duties, and breach of contract.
- United States v. Quiroz, No. 22-50834 (5th Cir.) (argued Feb. 8, 2023). In case of first impression, defended statute prohibiting receipt of a firearm while under felony indictment against a Second Amendment challenge under New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n, Inc. v. Bruen, 142 S. Ct. 2111 (2022).
- United States v. Olsen, 995 F.3d 683 (9th Cir. 2021). In case of first impression, secured reversal of order dismissing indictment under the Speedy Trial Act while trials were suspended due to COVID-19.
- United States v. Canada, No. 20-50188, 2021 WL 3630230 (9th Cir. Aug. 17, 2021). Secured affirmance of wire-fraud and false-statement convictions following a three-week jury trial arising from a scheme to steal funds from charter schools.
- United States v. Aloba, No. 19-50343, 2022 WL 808208 (9th Cir. Mar. 16, 2022). Secured affirmance of wire-fraud and identity-theft convictions following a three-day jury trial arising from a phishing attack on the Los Angeles Superior Court.
- United States v. Armendariz, --- F.4th ---- (5th Cir. 2023). Secured affirmance in case resolving unsettled questions concerning defense counsel’s duty to advise a defendant on the immigration consequences of a guilty plea.
- United States v. Choulat, 75 F.4th 489 (5th Cir. 2023). Secured affirmance in case raising unsettled question of when courts must defer to the Sentencing Commission’s interpretations of the Sentencing Guidelines.
- United States v. Valencia, 66 F.4th 1032 (5th Cir. 2023). Secured affirmance in case raising unsettled question whether a sentence under Armed Career Criminal Act requires that the defendant admit, or a jury find, that the defendant’s prior crimes were committed on different occasions.
- United States v. Saini, 23 F.4th 1155 (9th Cir. 2022). Secured affirmance in case raising novel question of statutory interpretation concerning credit-card fraud.
- United States v. Davalos, No. 22-50763, 2023 WL 453395 (5th Cir. July 13, 2023). Secured affirmance of forfeiture order in case raising novel question of whether the criminal-forfeiture statute limits recovery to the defendant’s net profits from an illegal scheme.
- United States v. Song, No. 21-51229, 2023 WL 4906646 (5th Cir. Aug. 1, 2023). Secured affirmance of child-pornography conviction in case raising unsettled questions concerning the permissible breadth and procedures for cellphone searches.
- United States v. Flint, 848 F. App’x 313 (9th Cir. 2021). Secured affirmance in case raising novel questions of statutory interpretation and venue concerning prosecution for evading TSA security requirements.
- United States v. Castellanos, No. 19-50342, 2022 WL 153187 (9th Cir. Jan. 18, 2022). Successfully urged novel theory to deny the defendant Fourth Amendment standing to challenge a warrantless seizure.
- United States v. Melendez, 57 F.4th 505 (5th Cir. 2023). Successfully urged per se rule applying sentencing enhancement for “reckless endangerment” whenever the defendant threw drugs from a moving vehicle.
- Soaring Wind Energy, L.L.C. v. Catic USA Inc., 946 F.3d 742 (5th Cir. 2020). Wrote brief successfully defending $63 million arbitral award against complex jurisdictional and due-process challenges.
- Photographic Illustrators Corp. v. Orgill, Inc., 953 F.3d 56 (1st Cir. 2020). Briefed and argued “case of first impression in the circuit courts” concerning implied sublicensing of copyrights.
- Henry Schein, Inc. v. Archer & White Sales, Inc., 139 S. Ct. 524 (2019). Helped brief case concerning an arbitrator’s power to decide whether a dispute is arbitrable.
Media & Events
- Bloomberg report: "Canyon Ridge lawsuit ends after four years and millions in payments to developer"07.07.2015
- "The Interplay of PTO Review & District Court Litigation," TexasBarCLE,10th Annual Advanced Patent Litigation Course, ch. 14 Co-author, STATE BAR OF TEXAS, NEWS FOR THE BAR (July 2014)
- "The Economic Loss Rule and its Application to the Tort of Negligent Misrepresentation in Texas" 18 TEX. WESLEYAN L. REV. 893 (2012)
- "The New Gift Tax Audits: A Look at the Recent IRS Initiative to Identify Nonfilers Using State Property Records," Co-author, J. TAX PRAC. & PROC. (August-September 2011), at 39
- "The Collateral Civil Tax Consequences of a Criminal Tax Conviction," Co-author, J. TAX PRAC. & PROC. (August-September 2010), at 15.
J.D., with highest honors, The University of Texas, 2012
- Order of the Coif
- Grand Chancellor
- Texas Law Review
B.B.A, magna cum laude, Texas A&M University, 2009
- Hon. Harris Hartz, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
- United States Courts of Appeals for the First, Fifth, and Ninth Circuits
- United States District Court for the Central District of California
- United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western District of Texas