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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

Fifth Circuit Highlights

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

  • (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

  • (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. 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), 2020–2022; “Up and Coming” in Litigation: Appellate (Texas), 2021
  • Selected to the Texas Super Lawyers list, Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters), 2022; 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 and 2022
  • Lawdragon, 500 Leading Litigators in America, 2023
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (BL Rankings, LLC), Appellate Practice (Austin), 2021–2023
  • Board Trustee: ZACH Theatre, 2014–present
  • 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)