Michael Merriman

Mike has tried jury trials and arbitrated disputes all over the country.  He often represents technology companies, governmental entities, oil and gas companies and government contractors.

Clients appreciate Mike’s extensive experience in the courtroom along with his common sense approach. They know he is not afraid to go to trial, and trust that he makes judgement calls and recommendations based on the client’s best interest. Mike enjoys working on a variety of matters and is adept at getting up to speed quickly on complex topics.

Growing up in Dallas, Mike knew he wanted to either be a sports broadcaster or a lawyer. Both professions require sharp skills of analyzation, thinking on your feet, and intimately understanding the rules and procedures of the game.

Some of those skills were honed during college at Boston University where he studied History and Broadcast Journalism and covered the hockey team for the school paper. His broadcast experience would come in handy later when, as an Assistant United States Attorney, Mike conducted press conferences for television and print media, and appeared on NBC’s “Today” show and the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s “As It Happens” radio show.

After graduating from Stanford Law School, Mike served as a law clerk at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for the Honorable Susan Y. Illston.  He then joined Bartlit Beck, a national litigation boutique in Chicago, where he participated in two jury trials and an arbitration during his first three years in private practice.

From there, Mike went on to serve as an Assistant United States Attorney (“AUSA”) at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California in the Major Frauds and Special Prosecutions Section. Appearing in court on a weekly basis, he prosecuted a wide range of complex matters, including public corruption, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations (related to a Fortune 500 Company), wire fraud and mortgage fraud. Mike also tried five cases to verdict and argued in front of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Mike joined SDM in 2013 where he continually grows his trial practice and serves in firm management.

Representative Matters 

Successfully defended oil and gas company against claims related to midstream charges in multi-week AAA arbitration brought by working interest owner.

Defended Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority in an APA/NEPA challenge to State Highway 45 Southwest and MoPac South.

Represented several Texas River Authorities in a variety of matters, including wastewater contracts, wholesale electricity contracts and water rights.

Successfully arbitrated breach of contract claims brought by medical industry business process outsourcing company against a customer. After a multi-day hearing, arbitrator awarded all damages sought by client and attorney’s fees.

Represented retired professional athlete responding to third-party subpoena in federal defamation lawsuit.

Represented oilfield services company in Delaware state court in breach of multi-year contract for fracking services against producer.

Received full defense arbitration award for oil and gas company in dispute with surface use owner after a contested arbitration hearing.

Represented an oil and gas company in federal court disputes with working interest owners, which included claims related to gas gathering agreements and fees.

Represented general partner and limited partnership in lawsuit involving fiduciary duty claims brought by limited partners regarding real estate investments.

Represented Managed Care Organization (MCO) related to Requests for Proposals issued by Texas Health and Human Services.

Represented IT services company in contract dispute with international IT services company and state agency.

Represented a California software company in breach of contract disputes.

Obtained temporary restraining order and temporary injunction for Austin-area manufacturer in dispute with partner.

Defended an oil and gas company in various royalty disputes, including disputes involving unique lease language.

Represented an international employment-related search engine in third-party proceedings in federal courts across the country.

Served as the lead prosecutor for one of the largest public corruption cases in the Southern District of California, which involved complex investigative techniques, such as Title III wiretap interceptions, numerous undercover operations, video surveillance, trap and trace devices, and eight search warrants (U.S. v. Bean et al., 12CR1852-CAB).

Successfully prosecuted two attorneys—including an internationally-renowned surrogacy attorney—for creating an international baby-selling ring and deceiving San Diego County judges with false pleadings (U.S. v. Erickson, 11CR3372-AJB; U.S. v. Neiman, 11CR3247-AJB).

Prior to joining SDM, defended Ernst & Young in multi-week AAA arbitration hearing that resulted in complete defense verdict.

Prior to joining SDM, defended Federal Signal Corporation in multi-week jury trial for mass tort claims that resulted in complete defense verdict.

Prior to joining SDM, represented Bayer Corporation in lawsuit involving patent infringement and breach of contract claims.

Bar Admissions & Activities

Admitted to the State Bar of Texas, State Bar of California, the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Northern, Southern, and Western Districts of Texas, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of California, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Member, Civil Litigation Section, Austin Bar Association

Education & Experience

Stanford Law School, J.D. (with distinction) 2004

Boston University, B.A. (European History) and B.S. (Broadcast Journalism) (summa cum laude) 2000

Assistant United States Attorney (“AUSA”) at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California in the Major Frauds and Special Prosecutions Section, 2008-2013

Associate, Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott, 2005-2008

Law Clerk to the Honorable Susan Y. Illston, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, 2004-2005