SDM Wins Fifth Circuit Appeal in Oil and Gas Case
On June 12, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed an adverse summary judgment and rendered judgment in favor of our client, EnerQuest Oil & Gas, L.L.C., in a lawsuit over an area of mutual interest agreement.
The plaintiffs claimed that EnerQuest acquired various interests that were subject to the area of mutual interest provision; EnerQuest argued that they were not.
After the district court ruled against EnerQuest on cross-motions for summary judgment, SDM appealed the case to the Fifth Circuit. The Fifth Circuit issued a published opinion agreeing with EnerQuest’s interpretation of the agreement, reversing the district court’s summary judgment order and rendering judgment and costs for EnerQuest.
SDM Lawyers Dan Bitting, Santosh Aravind, and Willie Cochran handled the appeal, with Dan Bitting arguing the appeal to the Fifth Circuit.
Copies of the SDM briefs can be found here and here. A recording of the oral argument can be found here.
Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter prevail on appeal
Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter recently obtained a complete victory on appeal, preserving their trial court victory for their client.
Bitting and Saiter represented an attorney who served as an executor for a probate estate. The beneficiaries of that estate sued the attorney, asserting claims for legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duties among other things.
In March 2017 Bitting and Saiter won summary judgment, persuading the trial court that the statute of limitations barred all of the Plaintiffs’ claims. The Plaintiffs appealed. After full briefing, on December 20, 2018 the Houston Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas affirmed the judgment in favor of Bitting and Saiter’s client in all respects.
Dan Bitting Presents Fiduciary Litigation CLE
Dan Bitting will co-present at the Austin Bar Association's May Civil Litigation Section CLE on the topic Navigating the World of Contested Probate Proceedings and Fiduciary Litigation: A Guide for Litigators on the Ins and Outs of Probate Court and Fiduciary Litigation.
Dan Bitting to Speak on Preventing Malpractice Claims
Dan Bitting will present on Preventing Malpractice Claims at the March meeting of Solos Supporting Solos Austin. Solos Supporting Solos Austin is modeled after a group started in Houston some twenty years ago by noted probate Attorney Jimmy Brill. The format of the group allows lawyers with a solo practice the opportunity for education, networking and sharing ideas for problem-solving.
Dan Bitting and Olga Kobzar Speak at Aggie Bar Conference
Dan Bitting and Olga Kobzar will speak on a panel at the Texas Aggie Bar Association’s annual conference. Olga is one of the panelists and Dan will moderate the discussion entitled, “The Texas Oil and Gas Industry: Its Present Shape and Future Outlook.”
The Texas Aggie Bar Association is an association of lawyers and law students who attended Texas A&M University or Texas A&M University School of Law. Additional information about the Association and the annual conference is available here.
Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter Publish Article in Corporate Counsel Review
Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter have had their article “Litigation Strategies for In-House Counsel” published in the Corporate Counsel Review—volume XXXVI – May 2017, Number 1. The article provides practical advice to in-house counsel whose company is facing litigation.
Dan Bitting elected to Senior Aggie Leadership Council
Dan Bitting was recently elected to the Senior Aggie Leadership Council (SALC), a group of Aggie executives in the Austin area who meet regularly to exchange ideas about leadership challenges and solutions. The group hosts guest speakers who talk candidly about their roles as leaders in Texas A&M academics, administration and sports; Texas state and U.S. government; and both large and small business enterprises.
Dan Bitting to Discuss Estate Disputes
Dan Bitting will moderate a panel of corporate trustees discussing “Drafting Wills and Trusts for Efficient Administration” at the Estate Planning, Guardianship and Elder Law Conference. Dan will offer the perspective of one who litigates disputes over trusts and wills. The conference takes place on August 3-4, 2017 in Galveston, Texas.
Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter Defeat Breach of Fiduciary Duties Claim
SD&M attorneys Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter recently defeated claims against the independent administrator of an estate for breach of fiduciary duty, legal malpractice and fraud. The Court found that the claims were barred by the statute of limitations, granted summary judgment for the administrator and denied plaintiffs’ motion for a new trial.
Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter Win Summary Judgment Against Trustee for Breach of Fiduciary Duties
As trial counsel for an attorney ad litem appointed to represent the interests of certain beneficiaries of an oil and gas royalty trust, Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter recently obtained a summary judgment finding that the corporate trustee had breached its fiduciary duties as a matter of law in the manner in which it compensated itself. The Court further found that the breach was a clear and serious breach of fiduciary duty. The case subsequently settled.
Dan Bitting to Speak on Avoiding Legal Malpractice at Estate Planning Seminar
SDM's Dan Bitting will speak at the Austin Bar Association’s 31st Annual Estate Planning & Probate Section All-Day CLE in Austin, Texas on Thursday May 11, 2017 at the Austin Bar Association’s Seminar Room. Dan’s presentation, "Avoiding Legal Malpractice” will be one of multiple topics covered during the all-day seminar. More information on the seminar can be found here.
SDM's Dan Bitting and Olga Kobzar Prevailed in 5th Circuit Appeal
SDM’s Dan Bitting and Olga Kobzar recently defeated claims against Anadarko Petroleum Corporation in an appeal before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Lee Perry sued Anadarko, along with four other oil and gas companies and the Railroad Commission of Texas for negligence, discrimination, Safe Drinking Water Act violations, and a number of additional claims. Dan and Olga first obtained dismissal of all claims against Anadarko in the federal district court for the Western District of Texas. On appeal to the Fifth Circuit, they led the joint briefing efforts for the non-governmental appellees and secured a unanimous Fifth Circuit opinion affirming the dismissal of Perry’s suit.
SDM's Dan Bitting to Speak at Hays County Bench Bar Conference
SDM’s Dan Bitting will speak on common ethical problems that can get lawyers sued at the upcoming Hays County Bench Bar Conference at Camp Lucy in Dripping Springs on October 25, 2016. The event, sponsored by several county bar associations, will feature various judges among other speakers. Attendees will have the opportunity to network and participate in a silent auction in addition to receiving CLE credit. More information on the conference can be found here.
Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter to Speak at In-House Counsel Course
SDM’s Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter will speak at the upcoming TexasBarCLE’s 15th Annual Course on Advanced In-House Counsel. Held in San Antonio August 11-12, this two-day course will cover a variety of legal issues that in-house counsel may encounter in their business and practice. Prior to the course, Dan will address steps in-house counsel should consider upon being sued at the In-House Counsel 101 seminar held on August 10. Cindy will also address litigation strategies for in-house counsel as part of the main conference. Additional information about the course, including registration information, can be found here.
Dan Bitting and Anthony Arguijo defeat $7 million oil and gas lease remediation claim.
After a week-long jury trial in Federal Court for the Southern District of Texas, SDM attorneys Daniel Bitting and Anthony Arguijo— working with former SDM partner Joe T. Sanders (now with Sanders Bajwa, LLP)—defeated a claim against their client for close to $7 million in damages for an alleged failure to remediate property used for oil and gas operations. Bitting, Arguijo and Sanders obtained summary judgment against some of the claims and then convinced the jury to award only slightly over $100,000 for restoration that their client agreed still needed to be done. A final judgment has not yet been entered.
UT Law 38th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute Features Daniel Bitting and Cindy Saiter
SDM attorneys Daniel Bitting and Cindy Saiter will be featured speakers at the UT Law 38th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute—held this year in Houston, April 7-8, and in Dallas, May 5-6. Their topic will be “So You’ve Been Sued: What Do You Need to Do Now?”—and will examine steps to take immediately after being sued to minimize the damage and maximize the chances for a favorable outcome. The Institute is presented by the Corporate Counsel Section of the State Bar of Texas and offers in-depth, practical discussions on legal issues for in-house counsel and outside counsel who represent companies of all sizes. Additional information, including registration information, is available here.
Paige Amstutz and Dan Bitting to Speak at the 17th Annual Texas Aggie Bar Association Annual Conference
Paige Amstutz and Dan Bitting will be featured speakers at the upcoming 17th Annual Texas Aggie Bar Association Annual Conference on March 4-5 in College Station. Dan Bitting will moderate a panel of state court judges on the topic: "Everything You Wanted to Know About State Court But Were Afraid to Ask." Paige Amstutz will speak on state bar advertising rules: "State Bar Advertising Rules - Can You Say That?" More information about the Conference and the Texas Aggie Bar Association can be found here.
Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter Prevail in Property Rights Dispute
Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter recently defeated a lawsuit against their client in a long-running property rights dispute. The court found that the suit—that attempted to limit Bitting and Saiter’s client’s use of its property—was barred by a prior lawsuit that Bitting and Saiter had won. The court also awarded their client attorneys’ fees.
SDM Attorneys Serve in Diverse Legal Leadership Roles
Each year, SDM attorneys dedicate significant time serving in a variety of legal leadership roles. This year, these SDM attorneys will serve on the following diverse local and state-wide boards and committees:
Anthony Arguijo is the President-Elect of the Hispanic Bar Association of Austin and serves as the Association’s representative to the Austin Young Lawyers Association.
Dan Bitting serves on the Board of the Texas Aggie Bar Association.
Sara Clark serves on the Board of the Litigation Section of the Austin Bar Association, the Board of Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas, and the Downtown Austin Community Court Advisory Committee.
Cindy Saiter serves on the Board of the Austin Bar Association and is Co-Chair of its Membership Committee. She also serves on the Nominating Committee for District 9 of the Texas Bar Foundation, the State Bar Committee on Women in the Profession, and the Board of the Travis County Women Lawyers Scholarship Fund, and is Chair of the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Foundation.
John Ellis serves on the Board of the Texas Young Lawyers Association where he is Co-Chair of the Marketing and Technology Committee, serves on the Outreach and Public Service Committees, and serves as the Association’s representative to the Austin Young Lawyers Association.
Asher Griffin serves on the Steering Committee for the Texas Minority Counsel Program of the State Bar Office of Minority Affairs.
Olga Kobzar is the President of the Texas Energy Law Association and Treasurer for the Oil, Gas and Energy Law Section of the Austin Bar Association.
Ray Langenberg serves on the Comptroller’s Taxpayer Advisory Group, which advises the Comptroller on tax policy matters.
Carroll Martin serves on the Council for the Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Law Section of the State Bar.
Ryan Squires is Co-Chair of the Austin Bar Association’s 2016 Leadership Academy Committee.
Jane Webre serves on the Board of the Austin Bar Foundation.
Kennon Wooten serves as a member of the Board of the Austin Bar Association, the Board for the Texas Legal Services Center, and the Editorial Board for The Advocate, a quarterly publication of the Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas. Kennon is also Vice Chair of the State Bar of Texas Court Rules Committee, Chair of the Austin Bar Association's Publications Committee, and Editor-in-Chief of Austin Lawyer, an Austin Bar Association publication.
To learn more about the missions of these organizations, visit their websites:
Austin Bar Association
Austin Young Lawyers Association
Downtown Austin Community Court Advisory Committee
Hispanic Bar Association of Austin
State Bar of Texas
Texas Aggie Bar Association
Texas Energy Law Association
Texas Young Lawyers Association
Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association
Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas
Dan Bitting to Speak at the Texas Aggie Bar Association Annual Conference
Dan Bitting will be a featured speaker at the 16th Annual Conference of the Texas Aggie Bar Association in College Station on Saturday, March 7, 2015. Dan’s topic is “Civil Litigation for the Non-Litigator.” Additional Information about the Aggie Bar Association and its Annual Conference can be found here.