Mike Stafford brings 22 years of public service to his public law practice at Haynes and Boone. As County Attorney from 2001-2008, he oversaw significant public sector and commercial disputes. He supervised more than 90 attorneys handling cases in all areas of government law including administrative, appellate, regulatory compliance, real property, trial, appeals, and legislative relations.
While serving as Harris County Attorney, Mike personally handled several high-profile disputes, including successfully defending against challenges to the public display of a King James Bible outside of the Harris County courthouse, which he argued to the en banc Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Mike also defeated an attempt by the EPA to implement a reduced 55 miles-per-hour speed limit in Harris County and secured a tobacco settlement award of $2.3 billion for Texas counties.
In addition, Mike oversaw all eminent domain and condemnation matters for Harris County and its related entities at the state and federal level.
Mike currently focuses his practice on resolving government-related disputes, including condemnation matters, regulatory compliance issues, and administrative matters. For example, in a recent condemnation matter before a panel of special commissioners, Mike obtained more than $2 million over what the Texas Department of Transportation was offering a private landowner. And Mike is currently assisting a local community college in its effort to secure building permits.
Selected Client Representations
Currently representing a landowner in condemnation actions brought by the Texas Department of Transportation.
Represented a hospital district in a condemnation action acquiring property for a hospital expansion project.
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of the City of Houston in wrongful death civil rights suit alleging failure to train and supervise with regards to high risk vehicle approaches and use of force.
In a mandamus proceeding involving a dispute over the construction of the Texas Election Code, successfully defended the trial court's removal from the ballot of a candidate for Harris County District Clerk.
Served as lead counsel for a county government against a challenge to the constitutionality of a monument containing an open Bible on the grounds of a county courthouse, including personally arguing the case in Fifth circuit en banc hearing.
Represented a county government before the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission to successfully challenge a mandatory 55 miles-per-hour speed limit in a limited and specific geographic district.
Honors and Awards
- Numerous governmental service awards
Speeches and Publications
- Hosted, Harris County Eminent Domain Conference (2004, 2006, 2008).
- Speaker, Public Nuisances Caused by Criminal Activities.
- Speaker, Deed Restrictions.
- Speaker, Pollution Problems.
- Speaker, Public Health Nuisances.
- Speaker, Senior Citizen Issues.
- Commissioned by Governor Perry as an Admiral in the Texas Navy (2010)
Selected Representative Experience
In re David Buren Wilson, No. 14-10-00045-CV, (Tex. App. -Houston[14th Dist.] Jan. 20, 2010) (orig. proceeding) (mem. op.)
Before the trial court and in a mandamus proceeding involving a dispute over the construction of the Texas Election Code, successfully defeated a potential opponent's attempt to have his name placed on the primary ballot.
In re Dorman, No. 14-10-00024-CV, (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Jan. 12, 2010], orig. proceeding)(mem. op.)
In a mandamus proceeding involving a dispute over the construction of the Texas Election Code, successfully defended the trial court’s removal from the ballot of a candidate for Harris County District Clerk.
Eminent Domain and Inverse Condemnation
Represent and counsel public and private entities in eminent domain and inverse condemnation actions including right-of-way acquisition, regulatory takings, valuation determinations, and utilities relocation.
Carnaby v. City of Houston, Cause No. 4:08-cv-1366 in the Southern District of Texas
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of City of Houston in wrongful death civil rights suit alleging failure to train and supervise with regards to high risk vehicle approaches and use of force.
Infrastructure - Highways and Toll Roads
Represent finance, engineering, and construction companies in all aspects of the bid, design, build, and operations process for toll road projects in Hidalgo, Dallas, and Harris County.
Oilfield Services Trade Secret Dispute
Defended start-up oilfield service company and former employees of rival oilfield service company in trade secret/fiduciary duty dispute and achieved "walk-away" after filing counterclaims against the former employer.
Public Information and Open Meetings
Represent public and private entities in responding to public information requests to state and local governmental entities. We have also advised our public entity clients regarding compliance with open meeting requirements.
07/01/2012 - Eminent Domain Trends in the Texas Supreme Court
In the past year, the Texas Supreme Court has issued five significant opinions that could be characterized as expanding landowner rights at the expense of condemnors.
09/01/2011 - New Requirements Under Texas Eminent Domain Laws
The 2011 Texas Legislature adopted broad changes to eminent domain laws that take effect on September 1, 2011. Under the new law, public and private entities that hold condemnation power face important new requirements and deadlines.
06/17/2010 - New Barriers to Campaign Spending? Schumer-Van Hollen Campaign Finance Bill
A new campaign finance bill sponsored by Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Chris Van Hollen would impose new spending restrictions and disclosure requirements.
05/17/2010 - Texas Ethics Commission Reacts to Citizens United
The Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) recently adopted an advisory opinion that gives all corporations and unions some degree of certainty if they choose to make direct campaign expenditures, the Texas equivalent of the “independent expenditures” the U.S. Supreme Court addressed in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
02/09/2010 - Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
On January 21, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the restrictions on corporate expenditures encompassed in the Bi-Partisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (commonly known as the McCain-Feingold Act).
02/09/2009 - Eminent Domain and 2009 Texas Legislature
Sparked by challenges like the Supreme Court’s landmark Kelo decision and public outcry against projects like the now-defunct Trans-Texas Corridor, the 2009 Texas Legislature is debating issues surrounding eminent domain. Currently, legislators have proposed two constitutional amendments and five statutory changes regarding eminent domain, each seeking to limit the state’s power to take private property for public use. The adoption of any of these laws will result in significant changes to the condemnation process in Texas.