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With over two decades of general commercial litigation experience in trial and appellate courts across the country, Tom focuses on large, complex, and high-stakes cases. Although his broad practice encompasses nearly all forms of contentious business disputes, Tom frequently advocates on behalf of operators and service companies in oil-and-gas litigation.

When royalties and other mineral interests are hotly contested, Tom is known for his thoughtful treatment—in the courtroom and on the papers—of the many intricacies that drive title controversies and deed-construction cases to successful conclusions.  He represents clients in matters involving allegations of the underpayment and miscalculation of royalties; violations of continuous drilling and development obligations; and improper deductions for transportation, processing, and other post-production expenses.  His diverse industry background also includes advising E&Ps and pipeline companies in mineral trespass and surface-use disputes, and in related proceedings for emergency and preliminary injunctive relief.

In addition, Tom often assists operators and oilfield service providers navigate disputes surrounding the breach of supply, service, and confidentiality agreements and the theft and misappropriation of trade secrets.  When mineral owners are impossible to find, or when they finally emerge after long absences, he helps oil-and-gas companies establish, administer, and wind down mineral receiverships to ensure that time-sensitive operations are never impeded by missing or emerging interest owners.  And, in the event business relationships sour, Tom has earned a reputation for diplomatically—and, when push comes to shove, aggressively—resolving disagreements among joint interest partners and other collaborators in the oil patch.

Tom brings to his practice both broad and deep practical experience in the energy sector, which encompasses helping clients with title issues, seismic-related disputes, drilling operations and surface damages, royalty underpayments, offset drilling and development, bad-faith pooling, cessation of production, and lease termination.

Beyond oil and gas, Tom has played a significant role in litigating and ultimately settling many nationwide class actions, including matters involving allegations of securities and consumer fraud at Big Four auditing and accounting firms and at a wide range of prominent publicly traded companies. He previously worked at a large New England law firm and a New York class-action boutique, where he gained a wealth of courtroom experience and faced off against tenacious litigators from some of the largest and best-known firms in the country.

Always operating with an eye toward the business objectives of his clients and their bottom lines, Tom makes it a top priority to formulate creative, cost-effective strategies for defusing his clients’ legal problems outside the courtroom. In this way, he helps his clients avoid or abbreviate litigation, conserve resources, and preserve valuable business relationships.

Tom and his team are frequently told by judges, opposing counsel, and colleagues that their brief writing skills are exceptional, and Tom believes that they rank among those of the very best appellate practices in the country.

Every week, you can listen to Tom’s podcast, available at www.energylawroundup.com, which is devoted exclusively to breaking legal news and developments in the energy industry.

Away from the Office

Outside of his practice, Tom reads extensively and stays in shape by running and playing tennis. He’s also busy keeping up with his three kids and their activities.

Bar Admissions

  • State Bar of Texas (2011)
  • United States District Courts for the Western, Southern, Eastern, and Northern Districts of Texas
  • State Bar of Connecticut (2001)
  • United States District Court for the District of Connecticut
  • State Bar of New York (2002)
  • United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
  • District of Columbia (2002)
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Education

  • Cornell University Law School, J.D., 2001
  • New York University, B.A., magna cum laude, 1998
    • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Following a week-long federal jury trial, secured a take-nothing judgment for an international oil field services company accused of breaching a multimillion-dollar sales and supply agreement
  • Obtained summary judgment, in a challenging South Texas venue, for a leading Texas operator facing the loss of dozens of producing wells and mineral leases covering 15,000 acres
  • Defended a major operator against a seismic broker and processor’s allegations of breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets
  • Represented multiple operators in jurisdictions across Texas with respect to the formation, administration, and full and partial dissolution of mineral receiverships
  • Defended an Eagle Ford operator in subsurface trespass litigation involving salt water disposal and injection wells
  • Represented an Oklahoma-based gas gatherer and processor in a high-profile gas allocation arbitration against a multinational energy conglomerate
  • Represented the seller of an oil field services company in a multimillion-dollar “earn-out” dispute with a private equity firm
  • Defended a large Canadian operator in several breach-of-contract actions brought by transportation and water-supply service companies
  • Represented an oil field supply company in a contract dispute with a wholesale equipment seller
  • Advised an exploration and production (E&P) company on various insurance-related issues stemming from a well blowout
  • Advised a regional E&P in connection with purported breaches of an oil-and-gas lease purchase agreement and related failures to maintain mineral leases
  • Advised an E&P in a force majeure dispute with a gas processor
  • Prosecuted online defamation claims on behalf of a Fortune 500 technology company in one of the nation’s first ever “cybersmear” cases
  • Represented high net-worth European investors in a dispute with an overseas hedge fund, recovering their entire initial subscription
  • Defended a prominent advertising agency and its executive officers in a partnership dispute, settling the case on terms highly favorable to the agency and its executives
  • Defended a startup software firm in bet-the-company trade secret litigation brought by a multinational competitor
  • Represented thousands of investors in the first ever securities fraud action in which a class was certified against a foreign sovereign under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
  • Arbitrated a nationwide class action involving allegations of fraudulent tax assessments by a major online travel website
  • Represented members of a Texas limited liability company in a long-running partnership dispute and related buyout negotiations
  • Litigated in state trial and appellate courts groundbreaking lawsuits challenging structured settlement practices in the insurance industry
  • Closely involved in approximately a dozen lawsuits against feeder funds, investment managers, and outside auditors and administrators seeking the recovery of monies lost in the multibillion-dollar Bernard Madoff and Thomas Petters Ponzi schemes
  • Litigated several cases involving purported violations of the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by S&P 500 member companies and their executive officers
  • Litigated a wide variety of product design and manufacturing defect mass actions, including cases involving motor vehicles, software, computers and other business machines, health and beauty aids, cellular telephones and other handheld devices, and component electronic parts
  • Litigated several related lawsuits involving allegations of fraud, conspiracy, and conflicts of interest between the underwriting and research divisions of a large Wall Street investment bank
  • Litigated dozens of class actions involving violations of the federal securities laws and their state law equivalents
  • Texas Rising Stars, Thomson Reuters (2015-2016)
  • Best Lawyers in America©, U.S. News & World Report
  • “Who’s Who in Energy,” San Antonio Business Journal, 2014
  • Top Lawyers, Houstonia Magazine (2019)
  • State Bar of Texas
  • American Bar Association Energy Litigation Journal, Board of Editors
  • Houston Bar Association
  • Dallas Bar Association
  • Cornell International Law Journal, Former Member of Board of Editors
  • "Cessation of Production and Production in Paying Quantities: A Primer for Operators," presented speaker at Dallas Bar Association Energy Section Meeting (December 2021)
  • "Mineral Receiverships in Texas," presented as faculty at Half Moon Seminars, Agreements and Disputes in Oil-and-Gas Production, Midland, Texas (July 2012)
  • "Legal Challenges to Traditional Structured Settlement Business Practices," presented as speaker-panelist at Society of Settlement Planners Fourth Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C. (March 2006)