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Michael A. Heidler
Michael A. Heidler
Partner — Appellate
Partner — Appellate

Michael A. Heidler

Michael A. Heidler

200 West 6th Street
Suite 2500
Austin, Texas 78701

start quote symbolMy goal is to win complex cases through collaboration and hard work. I love getting to share in the celebration of a victory with a client.end quote symbol
Michael A. Heidler

Texas Supreme Court Highlights

  • (Tex.) – Obtained ruling that plaintiffs failed to plead a viable negligent-undertaking claim against private equity investors in suit arising out of explosions on a portfolio company’s premises

  • (Tex.) – Obtained 8-0 ruling that local taxing unit did not have statutory authority to retain private attorney on contingent fee to pursue a taxpayer for an alleged $60 million in unpaid property taxes

  • (Tex.) – Obtained unanimous ruling that Kinder Morgan timely filed a motion to dismiss under the Texas Citizens Participation Act

  • (Tex.); (Tex. App. – Corpus Christi) – Obtained affirmance of unanimous intermediate appeals court ruling that Texas Central is classified as an interurban electric railway company with eminent-domain authority to build the high-speed train between Houston and Dallas—a ruling that reversed the trial court’s judgment, which had held that Texas Central did not qualify as such

  • (Tex.) — Obtained ruling that Anadarko Petroleum Corp. is entitled to recover its multimillion dollar defense costs, from Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London, arising out of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident

  • (Tex.) – Obtained reversal of court of appeals’ and trial court’s decisions against MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, Inc., a New York entity, in a special appearance proceeding challenging Texas courts’ jurisdiction over a $300 million asbestos settlement

  • (Tex.) — Obtained ruling that a CO2 pipeline owned by Denbury Green Pipeline-Texas qualifies for “common carrier” status with the power of eminent domain; an important win for the pipeline industry in Texas, this decision significantly clarifies how “common carrier” pipeline status may be established under state law

  • (Tex.); (Tex. App. − Eastland) — Obtained affirmance of jury verdict reversal that an oil and gas company could properly charge royalty owners with share of post-production expenses in CO2 tertiary recovery operations

  • (Tex.) — Obtained reversal and rendition of judgment for a leading oil and gas producer in a gas royalty dispute involving the legal standard for fraudulent concealment to toll the statute of limitations on mineral interest owners’ claims

  • (5th Cir.) – Obtained affirmance of $12 million judgment in breach of fiduciary duty case

  • (5th Cir.) – Obtained affirmance of summary judgment dismissing claims for $14 billion in damages under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Copyright Act

  • (5th Cir.) – Won vacatur of a preliminary injunction issued under the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act that prevented operation of Lydia Ann Channel Moorings LLC’s barge facility

  • (5th Cir.) — Obtained affirmance of district court’s dismissal of garnishment brought under Supplemental Admiralty Rule B

  • (5th Cir.) – Secured partial reversal of Anti-Kickback Act judgment against government contractor

  • (5th Cir.) – On behalf of a construction company, obtained dismissal of cross-appeal for lack of jurisdiction in a case alleging breach of a guaranty

  • (5th Cir.) – Represented an optical disk drive manufacturer in an antitrust case

  • (5th Cir.) – Represented a cattle ranch in a tax appeal involving the allocation of income between corporate agent and principals

  • (Tex. App. – Austin) – Obtained a complete victory for telecommunications clients in a decision holding that, by failing to fund the Texas Universal Service Fund, the Public Utility Commission acted outside its statutory authority, violated state rulemaking procedures, and took private property without providing just compensation

  • (Tex. App. – Houston [14th Dist.]) — Obtained reversal on behalf of oil and gas company in breach of contract dispute against pipeline owner relating to shipment of natural gas liquids on intra-state pipeline

  • (Tex. App. − Houston [1st. Dist.]) — Obtained affirmance of summary judgment for client in case alleging breach of restrictive covenant

  • (Tex. App. − Austin) — Obtained reversal of sanctions order entered against client in suit affecting the parent-child relationship

  • (Tex. App. − Amarillo) — Obtained affirmance of summary judgment in a breach-of-contract case

  • (Tex. App. − Houston [14th Dist.]) — Obtained reversal and rendition of judgment in a dispute alleging breach of a construction contract

  • (Tex. App. − Austin) — Obtained affirmance of summary judgment for a defense contractor in an employment dispute

  • (La.) — Obtained reversal and rendition of judgment for a U.S. exploration and production company in the Louisiana Supreme Court in a $70 million oil and gas dispute dealing with whether a joint operating agreement (JOA), written on the AAPL model form, covers future-acquired leases in the absence, from the JOA, of an area of mutual interest provision

  • (S.D. Tex.) – In jury trial, drafted and argued JMOL motions, drafted and argued jury charge, and handled evidentiary error-preservation issues

  • (Tex. Dist. − Hidalgo Cnty.) – In jury trial, drafted jury charge and charge objections in connection with successful defense of a magazine publisher against $16 million claims for fraud, breach-of-contract, and antitrust violations

  • (Tex. Dist. − McLennan Cnty.) — Drafted jury charge in a breach-of-contract suit against an energy company

  • (Tex. Dist. − Harris Cnty.) — Drafted pretrial motions in a wrongful death case against an oil and gas company

  • (W.D. Okla.) — Drafted pretrial motions in a mass-tort case against a mining company

  • (Tex. Dist. − Harris Cnty.) — Drafted pleadings and obtained TRO in breach of contract and fraud suit

  • (S.D. Tex.) – Obtained dismissal of claims that client’s business created a public nuisance under Texas common law

  • (W.D. Tex.) — Drafted summary judgment motions for workers’ compensation suit against mining company

  • (E.D. La.) — Drafted summary judgment briefing in a case alleging a tort claim against a pipeline company

  • (E.D. Tex.) — Successfully opposed motion to strike technical experts in a patent-infringement lawsuit

  • (E.D. Tex.) — Successfully opposing motion to compel production of documents in a patent-infringement lawsuit

  • (N.D. Tex.) — Drafted summary judgment papers in a trademark infringement lawsuit against a communications provider


  • Yale Law School, J.D., 2007 (Editor, The Yale Law Journal; Chair of the Pocket Part Committee; Managing Editor, Yale Law & Policy Review)
  • The University of Texas, B.B.A., 2000 (First in class)
  • Judicial clerk to Judge Priscilla R. Owen, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 2007–2008
  • Law Clerk to Sen. John Cornyn, U.S. Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Summer 2006
  • Chambers USA, Litigation: Appellate (Texas), 2020–2023; “Up and Coming” in Litigation: Appellate (Texas), 2021
  • Selected to the Texas Super Lawyers list, Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters), 2021–2023; Selected to the Texas Rising Stars list, Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters), 2016−2018
  • Legal 500 U.S., Dispute Resolution: Appellate (Supreme Court), 2017–2020; Energy: Litigation, 2016; Dispute Resolution: Appellate, 2021–2023
  • Selected to the 500 Leading Litigators in America, Lawdragon, 2023 and 2024
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (BL Rankings, LLC), Appellate Practice (Austin), 2021–2024
  • Board Trustee: ZACH Theatre, 2014–2023
  • Board of Directors: Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas, 2016–2017
  • Chair: Austin Bar Association, Civil Appellate Section, 2017-2018 (Chair Elect: 2017-2017; Secretary/Treasurer: 2015–2016)
  • Life Fellow: Texas Bar Foundation
  • Fellow: Austin Bar Foundation
  • Member: Third Court of Appeals Pro Bono Screening Committee, 2015
  • Member: Austin Bar Association, Litigation and Oil, and Gas & Mineral Law Sections
  • Member: Planning Committee, Advanced Evidence and Discovery CLE Course, State Bar of Texas, 2011–2012
  • Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, Southern, and Western Districts of Texas
  • “Who Is Responsible for Cleaning up the Mess?: Indemnities in the Oil Patch,” Texas Journal of Oil & Gas and Energy Law (TJOGEL) Symposium, February 1, 2018 (speaker)
  • “Interlocutory Appeals, Summary Judgments, and the Impact of Early Dismissals on Appellate Dockets,” UT Law 2017 Conference on State and Federal Appeals, June 2, 2017 (speaker)
  • “A Profile of V&E’s Energy Appellate Practice,” August 31, 2016 (presenter)
  • “Preservation of Error,” V&E Continuing Legal Education Program, Houston, Texas, January 28, 2015 (presenter)
  • “Petitions for Review,” Civil Appellate 101 Practice, State Bar of Texas, September 2012 (presenter)
  • “Preservation of Error, Advanced Evidence and Discovery,” State Bar of Texas, May 2011 and May 2012 (presenter)
  • Case Update, Austin Bar Association, Civil Appellate Section, January 2010 (presenter)
  • “Appellate Jurisdiction,” Nuts and Bolts of Appellate Practice, State Bar of Texas, September 2009 (co-author with Matthew Ploeger)