Mike was a founding partner of the firm and much beloved by his family and his colleagues throughout the legal community. Mike loved the practice of law and those of us that occasionally worked on weekends were sure to find Mike studying recent court opinions and lobbing dry, one-liners at us as we passed by his office. But Mike’s first love were his children, Cate and Andy—a deep love that he simply could not contain whenever he spoke about them.
Mike attended law school at the University of Texas at Austin and was a huge Longhorn fan. Mike was also a gifted athlete and, in law school, he was a member of the Legal Eagles, the law school’s intramural football team coached by the legendary UT law professor, Charles Alan Wright, with whom Mike bonded. They were life-long friends.
Mike had a distinguished legal career which he began as counsel to the Texas Senate Natural Resources Committee, later serving as counsel to Texas Railroad Commissioner John Poerner. In 1982, Mike formed the firm with his law school buddy, Brian Sullivan, a partnership that spanned four decades.
Mike has been described as a “lion” of Texas oil and gas law having litigated several important cases including HECI v. Neel, Browning Oil v. Luecke, and Railroad Commission v. Arco, just to name a few.
We all miss Mike but his was a life well lived.
Texas Supreme Court
BP America Production Co. v. Marshall, et al., 342 S.W.3d 59 (Tex. 2011).
Lead trial counsel and co-appellate counsel for co-defendant Wagner Oil Company in oil and gas adverse possession case. Successfully obtained jury verdict in trial court and affirmation by Supreme Court of judgment favorable to Wagner.
HECI Exploration Co. v. Neel, 982 S.W.2d 881 (Tex. 1998).
Trial counsel and co-appellate counsel for HECI in reversing a Court of Appeals decision which would have exposed operator to multi-million dollar claim which was barred by limitations/discovery rule.
Court of Appeals
Interpipe NTRP, Sepco Tubulars, Inc., North American Interpipe, Inc. v. United Resources, LP, No. 13-15-00151-CV, 13th Court of Appeals, Corpus Christi.
Co-trial counsel and co-appellate counsel for plaintiff United in case involving fraud, breach of contract and defective Ukranian casing. Obtained multi-million dollar jury verdict in judgment.
Long v. Rim Operating, Inc., 345 S.W.3d 79 (Tex. App. – Eastland, pet. denied).
Lead trial counsel and co-appellate counsel in Joint Operating Agreement case. Successfully obtained judgment for operator under JOA.
Thompson, et al. v. Clayton, 346 S.W.3d 650 (Tex. App.-El Paso 2009, no pet.).
Co-trial counsel and co-appellate counsel for oil and gas operating companies in dispute over access easement. Successfully obtained reversal of trial court decision and rendition of judgment granting access.
Glover v. Union Pacific RR Co., 187 S.W.3d 201 (Tex. App.–Texarkana 2006, pet. denied).
Vial v. Gas Solutions Ltd., 187 S.W.3d 220 (Tex. App.–Texarkana 2006, pet. denied).
Lead trial counsel and co-appellate counsel for Defendants, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and Chevron Texaco, involving adverse possession of oil and gas leases. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court judgment in favor of defendants, holding that plaintiffs’ claims were barred by limitations and adverse possession.
Browning Oil Co., Inc. v. Luecke, 38 S.W.3d 625 (Tex. App.–Austin 2000, pet. denied).
Lead trial and co-appellate counsel for Browning concerning allocation of production to royalty owners from a horizontal wellbore located on both pooled and unpooled tracts of land.
Railroad Comm’n v. Arco Oil & Gas Co., 876 S.W.2d 473 (Tex. App.—Austin 1994, writ denied).
Co-trial counsel and co-appellate counsel for ARCO Oil & Gas Company invalidating a Railroad Commission rule restricting rates of production in the East Texas Field.
Selected Amicus Representation
Wagner & Brown, Ltd. v. Shepperd, 282 S.W.3d 419 (Tex. 2008) (Tex. Nov. 21, 2008).
Co-appellate counsel for group of some of the largest independent oil and gas producing companies in case interpreting lessee’s pooling authority. Court decided case favorably to lessee.
Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America v. Pool, 124 S.W.3d 188 (Tex. 2003).
Co-appellate counsel for Wagner Oil Company in support of oil and gas lessee seeking to apply Doctrine of Adverse Possession to oil and gas lease. Court’s opinion tracks analysis of amicus brief.
Allocation Wells in the Permian Basin published by the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation in the Proceedings of the 63rd Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute, 2017
Production Allocation: Looking for a Basis for Discrimination, 38 Oil, Gas and Energy Law Resources, L Sec & Rep 47 (2014)
Conventional Thinking Will Not Work in Unconventional Reservoirs: Will Texas Be Forced to Relive the Years Preceding the Conservation Movement of 100 Years Ago? S. Texas College of Law Energy Law Institute, September 1, 2010