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

Michael A. Heidler

Michael A. Heidler
Austin

2801 Via Fortuna
Suite 100
Austin, TX 78746

start quote symbolAppellate work is like solving a puzzle. The puzzle pieces are typically contracts, testimony and other trial evidence, cases, statutes, regulations, and rules. The skilled appellate lawyer will arrange the pieces in a way that achieves the client’s objective.end quote symbol
Michael A. Heidler

Michael Heidler is an accomplished appellate litigator who frequently practices before the Texas Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the Texas intermediate appellate courts. Mike is involved in every aspect of the appellate process, from drafting briefs and motions to arguing cases in appellate courts. In addition, he counsels clients on litigation strategy.

Mike is highly experienced in the energy sector, particularly oil and gas matters, but his appellate practice extends to other areas as well. Mike has worked on breach of contract, fiduciary duty, antitrust, securities, condemnation, environmental, construction, tax, class-action, admiralty and tort cases. His energy-related cases include disputes over royalty payments, implied covenants, joint operating agreements, surface use agreements, indemnification, insurance coverage, and well permitting.

Experience Highlights

  • (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. 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

  • (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

  • (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.); (Tex. App. – Beaumont) — Following two oral arguments before the Texas Supreme Court, 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.) — Obtained affirmance of court of appeals’ decision rendering judgment for oil and gas client in case alleging breach of oil and gas lease

  • (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

  • (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 (lead drafter)

  • (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

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

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

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

  • (Tex. App. − Eastland) — Obtained reversal and rendition of judgment for oil and gas client in gas royalty case

  • (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

  • (S.D. Tex.) – Obtained dismissal of claims that Lydia Ann Channel Moorings LLC’s barge fleeting and mooring facility created a public nuisance under Texas common law

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

  • (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

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

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

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

  • (Tex. Dist. − Hidalgo Cnty.) — Provided trial support in successful defense of a magazine publisher against $16 million claims for fraud, breach-of-contract, and antitrust violations

Credentials

  • 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
  • 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
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (BL Rankings, LLC), 2021
  • 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)