In the News

Haynes and Boone in Law360: Exxon Says Free Speech Right Nixes Worker's Defamation Suit

ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. on Wednesday asked a Texas appellate court to throw out a fired employee’s defamation suit under a state free speech law, arguing that an internal conversation between the man’s supervisors was protected speech. >>

Haynes and Boone in Law360: RSUI Should Pay $8M Post-Hurricane Award, Texas Court Told

Apartment manager The Lynd Co. on Thursday defended in Texas Supreme Court an appellate win that awarded it $7.5 million in coverage from insurer RSUI Indemnity Co. for damage caused during Hurricane Rita in 2005, saying that under the four corners of its policy, the insurers couldn’t avoid paying up. >>

Texas Lawyer Cites $500 million Judgment in Naming Nina Cortell as One of Its Winning Women 2014

After winning a verdict for $319 million in damages against a Houston pipeline company, Energy Transfer Partners turned to a Haynes and Boone, LLP team led by appellate partner Nina Cortell to help convince the judge to enter a judgment in line with the jury's findings.

ETP's confidence in Cortell and her team paid off. On July 29, Judge Emily Tobolowsky of the 298th District Court in Dallas awarded ETP more than $500 million in her final judgment in Energy Transfer Partners v. Enterprise Products Partners, a dispute over whether the parties had entered a partnership to build a pipeline. >>

Seven Haynes and Boone Lawyers Featured as “2015 Lawyers of the Year” by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers® has recognized seven Texas-based Haynes and Boone, LLP attorneys as “2015 Lawyers of the Year,” three more than last year. >>

Nina Cortell



2323 Victory Avenue
Suite 700
Dallas, Texas 75219
T +1 214.651.5579
F +1 214.200.0411

Areas of Practice


  • J.D., University of Texas at Austin School of Law, 1976, cum laude; Associate Editor, Texas Law Review; Teaching Quizmaster
  • B.A., University of Texas at Austin, 1973, summa cum laude, Plan II (liberal arts honors program)

Bar Admissions

  • Texas
Nina Cortell

For more than 38 years, Ms. Cortell has represented corporations, public entities and individuals in cases that have put her at the forefront of Texas litigation practice.  She has achieved significant results in the appellate courts and prior to appeal, securing landmark decisions and reducing verdicts by millions of dollars prior to judgment and on appeal. 

Best Lawyers has named Ms. Cortell its "2015 Dallas Appellate Lawyer of the Year" and "2013 Dallas Bet-the-Company Litigation Lawyer of the Year," Chambers USA Guide ranks her as one of the top appellate lawyers in Texas, and Benchmark Litigation describes her as "renowned throughout the state for her appeals work."  She has also been named one of the top ten lawyers in Texas by Texas Super Lawyers for 2014, and by Texas Lawyer as one of twenty "Winning Women" across Texas who "have achieved significant recent victories as well as a track record of wins in which they prevailed in high-stakes cases."

Ms. Cortell works actively with the judiciary to improve the judicial process and serves on the prestigious Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee, which is comprised of judges and attorneys from across the state and advises the Court in connection with its rule-making authority.

Some of Ms. Cortell's recent representations:

  • Invalidated $29 million liquidated damages provision in renewable energy contract. FPL Energy, LLC v. TXU Portfolio Mgmt. Co., L.P., 426 S.W.3d 59 (Tex. 2014).
  • Reversed venue order. Union Pac. R.R. Co. v. Stouffer, 420 S.W.3d 233 (Tex.App. - Dallas 2013).
  • Obtained dismissal of shareholder derivative suit in the trial court. In re AT&T, Inc. Shareholder Derivative Litigation, Dallas County Court of Law No. 3 (2013).
  • Affirmed order disqualifying counsel. In re RSR Corporation, 2013 WL 242317405 (Tex. App. - Dallas 2013).
  • Obtained $7 million summary judgment on guaranty, overcoming claims that guaranty was fraudulently procured. Texas Capital Bank v. Tri-County Autoplex, 162nd Judicial District Court, Dallas, Texas (2012).
  • Reversed temporary injunction on ground that agreements were not enforceable as a matter of law; after court of appeals' ruling, opponent dismissed its suit. Anland North, L.P., et al v. Center Operating Company, Cause No. 05-12-00128-CV (Tex. App. - Dallas 2012).
  • After filing of opening appellate briefs, opponent agreed to settle commercial dispute for almost $200 million less than its judgment. i2 Technologies, Inc. v. Dillards, Cause No. 05-10-01645-CV (Tex. App. -Dallas 2011).
  • Persuaded the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the appeal of a $3.6 billion bankruptcy plan of reorganization, which was challenged by a competing bidder and the company's union. In the Matter of Asarco L.L.C., Cause No. 09-41259 (5th Cir. 2010).
  • Obtained remittitur in the district court prior to appeal, reducing punitive damages award by $77.6 million. IRCC, et al. v. Harold Simmons, et al., 192nd Judicial District Court, Dallas, Texas (2009).
  • Obtained mandamus review in the Texas Supreme Court on behalf of a large bank group in $26 billion dispute. In re Citigroup, Cause No. 08-0289 (Tex. 2008).
  • Reversed $8.5 million judgment adverse to client and obtained rendition of $2.5 million judgment in favor client. Blockbuster Inc. v. C-Span and Sunil Dharod, 276 S.W.3d 482 (Tex. Civ. App. – Dallas 2008, pet. granted and judgm't vacated pursuant to settlement).

Selected Professional and Community Service Activities

  • Fellow, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers
  • President (2005-2007) and Master, Patrick E. Higginbotham Inn of Court
  • Member, Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee
  • Member, American Law Institute
  • President (2008-2009), University of Texas School of Law Alumni Association
  • President, Board of Directors of the Texas Law Review Association (2012-2013)
  • Founder and President, Center for Women in Law at the University of Texas School of Law
  • Trustee, University of Texas Law School Foundation 
  • Trustee, Dallas Bar Foundation (2011-2014)
  • Advisory Board Member, Dallas Women Lawyers Association (2000-2009)
  • Chair, State Bar Task Force on Hiring, Retention and Promotion of Women and Minorities in Law Firms and Corporations (2006)


  • Named by Texas Lawyer as one of twenty "Winning Women" in the state (2014)
  • Chosen by the Texas Center for Legal Ethics (TCLE) to receive one of two 2013 Jack Pope Professionalism Awards, which annually recognize one lawyer and one judge who personify the highest standards of professionalism and integrity in the field of law
  • Best Lawyers' 2015 Dallas Appellate Lawyer of the Year and 2013 Dallas Bet-the-Company Litigation Lawyer of the Year, with other recognitions in both categories 2006-2015.
  • Recognized in Chambers USA Guide - America's Leading Lawyers for Business (Appellate, Band 1) (2008-2014)
  • Top 10 "Texas Super Lawyers" (2010-2014) and Top 100 "Texas Super Lawyers," Top 100 "Super Lawyers in the Dallas/Fort Worth Region," and "Top 50 Female Texas Super Lawyers" (2003-2014)
  • Named "Top Notch Appellate Lawyer" in Texas Lawyer's Go-To Guide (2012)
  • Recognized as one of the Top 250 Women in Litigation, Benchmark Litigation, Legal Media Group, Euromoney Institutional Investor (2012-2014)
  • Selected by Dallas Bar Association as "Outstanding Lawyer of the Year" (2009)
  • One of the top appellate lawyers in Dallas, D Magazine (every year list published, 2003-2014)
  • University of Texas School of Law Distinguished Alumnus Award for Community Service (2012)
  • Higginbotham Inn of Court's 2012 selection to Honorary Serjeant's Inn, in recognition of significant contributions to the profession and community
  • State Bar of Texas Presidential Citation for leadership in furthering the Bar's diversity initiatives (2007)
  • Louise B. Raggio Award for significant contributions toward the advancement of women in the legal profession (1999)
  • Martindale Hubbell® Law Directory with a Peer Review Rating of AV® Preeminent™

Selected Representative Experience

Stouffer v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., 420 S.W.3d 233 (Tex. App.--Dallas 2014, pet. dismissed)
In an interlocutory appeal in a case involving an accident at a railroad crossing, won the reversal of the trial court’s order denying the defendants’ motion to transfer venue and obtained the issuance of the appellate mandate before the venue issue was appealed to the Texas Supreme Court, resulting in the case being transferred to a proper venue.

In re AT&T, Inc. Shareholder Derivative Litigation
Represented the directors of AT&T, Inc. in a shareholder derivative lawsuit filed in Dallas County Court at Law, asserting breaches of fiduciary duty under Delaware law. Obtained dismissal of petition for failure by plaintiff to adequately plead futility of a pre-suit demand to the board.

Argo Data Res. Corp. v. Shagrithaya, 380 S.W.3d 249 (Tex. App.—Dallas Aug. 29, 2012, pet. denied)
Obtained reversal and rendition of take-nothing judgment in favor of corporate client on appeal of alleged shareholder oppression claim in which trial court had ordered that corporation be caused to issue an $85 million dividend.

Rouse v. Texas Capital Bank, N.A., 394 S.W.3d 1 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2011, no pet.)
Obtained $7 million summary judgment for client bank on guaranty claim.

Anland North, L.P., Anland North Commercial, L.P., Anland 10, L.P., and Anland South, L.P. v. Center Operating Company; No. 05-12-00128-CV, 2012 WL 2045371 (Tex. App.—Dallas, no pet.) (mem. op.)
Reversed temporary injunction on ground that agreements concerning parking lot rights were not enforceable as a matter of law, after court of appeals' ruling, opponent dismissed its suit.

i2 Technologies, Inc. v. Dillards, Cause No. 05-10-01645-CV, 2011 WL 6250787 (Tex. App.—Dallas, Dec. 14, 2011, no pet.) (mem.op.)
After opening appellate briefs were filed, obtained a settlement of a commercial dispute in which the opposing party agreed to accept almost $200 million less than its judgment.

In the Matter of Asarco L.L.C., 401 Fed. App'x 914 (5th Cir. 2010)
Persuaded the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the appeal of a $3.6 billion bankruptcy plan of reorganization, which was challenged by a competing bidder and the company's union.

Amber Wilson v. Baylor Medical Center Irving, et al, No. 08-12603 (162nd Dist. Ct., Dallas County, Tex.)
Obtained dismissal of medical malpractice claims against Baylor Medical Center at Irving on the basis of immunity conferred by new Texas Health & Safety Code provisions. Secured dismissal of all claims against hospital on the basis of lack of actual notice and no waiver of immunity by use of tangible personal property under the Texas Tort Claims Act, and dismissal of hospital employees on the basis of the Act's “election of remedies” provision.

Max Duncan Family Investments, Ltd. v. NTFN Inc., 267 S.W.3d 447 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2008, pet. denied)
In a case involving a real estate lien against company property, successfully defended a summary judgment on appeal and obtained a full award of attorneys’ fees.

Duncan v. NTFN Inc. and Morningside Property Co., No. 05-07-00430-CV (Tex. App. - Dallas Aug. 26, 2008, no pet. h.)
Won a complete victory for its clients, NTFN Inc. and Morningside Property Company, in an appeal of a summary judgment involving a real estate lien against company property. The Dallas Court of Appeals affirmed the summary judgment in our clients' favor and held that they were entitled to the full amount of their attorneys' fees.

Thomas Michael Wilson v. Baylor Health Care System, et al, No. 07-01018-E (101st Dist. Ct., Dallas County, Tex.)
Obtained dismissal of medical malpractice claims against Baylor Health Care System and Baylor Medical Center at Irving on the basis of immunity conferred by new Texas Health & Safety Code provisions, and asserted “election of remedies” defenses under the Texas Tort Claims Act on behalf of hospital employees, leading to their dismissal.

In re Citigroup Global Markets, Inc., No. 08-0289 (Tex. May 13, 2008)
Obtained a favorable settlement after persuading the Texas Supreme Court to grant oral argument in this mandamus proceeding involving the application of a forum selection clause to a nonsignatory under the direct benefits estoppel doctrine.

Blockbuster Inc. v. C-Span Entertainment, Inc., 276 S.W.3d 482 (Tex. App. - Dallas 2008, pet. granted, judgm't vacated w.r.m.)
In a suit brought by a franchisee, obtained reversal of an adverse $8.5 million judgment and secured an award of $2.5 million for attorneys’ fees and costs.

Kent v. Baylor Medical Center Irving, No. 04-08723-D (95th Dist. Ct., Dallas County, Tex.)
Represented a health care client asserting Texas Tort Claims Act defenses and defended against constitutional challenges to statutes designating the client as a governmental unit.

Hollar v. Brackenridge Hospital, No. GN502643 (200th Dist. Ct., Travis County, Tex.)
As lead appellate counsel, led the trial team’s efforts that resulted in the pre-trial dismissal of medical malpractice claims against a health care provider on the basis of governmental immunity conferred by new Texas Health & Safety Code provisions, and successfully defended against a constitutional challenge to statutory immunity provisions.

Neeley v. West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District, 176 S.W.3d 746 (Tex. 2005)
Persuaded the Texas Supreme Court to strike down the Texas public school finance system on constitutional grounds; this decision was the culmination of a four- and-a-half year effort, including a previous successful appeal to the Texas Supreme Court and a successful five-week bench trial.

United States ex rel. Williams v. Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., 417 F.3d 450 (5th Cir. 2005)
Obtained a judgment affirming the dismissal of qui tam action under the False Claims Act.

Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Co. v. City of Houston, 171 S.W.3d 240 (Tex. App. - Houston [14th Dist.] 2005, no pet.)
Obtained reversal of a judgment denying a railroad's right to condemn property for a proposed rail line, resulting in rendition of a judgment confirming the railroad's right to condemn under the doctrine of federal preemption.

In re C-Span Entertainment, Inc., 162 S.W.3d 422 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2005, orig. proceeding)
Upheld a contractual jury waiver provision in mandamus proceedings.

Tenet Healthcare Corp. v. Texas Health Choice, No. 3:02-CV-1940-N (N.D. Tex. 2003); No. 03-10545 (5th Cir. 2004)
Successfully represented a health care client in the Fifth Circuit in a case that involved a question of first impression: whether the Medicare Act and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Act preempt a state court lawsuit concerning insurance reimbursement contracts between private parties, warranting removal to federal court.

Texas First National Bank v. Wu, 347 F. Supp. 2d 389 (S.D. Tex. 2004)
Obtained remand from federal district court to state court in a case involving a dispute by bank officers over control of the bank.

Millichamp v. Baylor Univ. Med. Center, No. 01-01793-E (101st Dist. Ct., Dallas County, Tex.)
Persuaded the trial court to set aside a $7.5 million punitive damages award in a case that involved complex jury charge issues including the submission of settling co-defendants and complex judgment formation issues involving settlement credits.

Greenpeace, Inc. v. Exxon Mobil Corp., 133 S.W.3d 804 (Tex. App. —Dallas 2004, pet. denied)
Upheld a nationwide temporary injunction preventing illegal and tortious conduct by Greenpeace against ExxonMobil facilities following an unlawful entry by Greenpeace activists at ExxonMobil headquarters.

CIGNA Healthcare of Texas, Inc. v. Pybas, 127 S.W.3d 400 (Tex. App. - Dallas 2004, no pet.)
Successfully defended on appeal a $13 million jury verdict in a wrongful death case.

Kondos v. Lincoln Property Co., 110 S.W.3d 716 (Tex. App. - Dallas 2003, no pet.)
In a case of first impression under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, obtained reversal of an order certifying a class of more than 60,000 members who alleged “junk faxing” by a company that owns apartment complexes.

Anderson v. Siemens Corp., 335 F.3d 466 (5th Cir. 2003)
Obtained a reversal of a $7.5 million judgment in a products liability case.

Bolle, Inc. v. American Greetings Corp., 109 S.W.3d 827 (Tex. App. - Dallas 2003, pet. denied)
Successfully defended a judgment setting aside an agreement on the basis of mutual mistake, in a case challenging the application of a contractual release given in one case to unrelated litigation pending in another state.

West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District v. Alanis, 107 S.W.3d 558 (Tex. 2003)
Obtained a ruling reinstating a constitutional challenge to Texas’ public school finance system, following the lower courts’ dismissal of the case on ripeness grounds.

Panda Energy Corp. v. Allstate Insurance Co., 91 S.W.3d 29 (Tex. App. - Dallas 2002, pet. dism’d by agr.)
In an opinion that created new law with respect to anti-suit injunctions, obtained reversal of an anti-suit injunction that prevented an energy company from enforcing a $450 million judgment it won in another Texas court.

In re Pepsico, Inc., 87 S.W.3d 787 (Tex. App. - Texarkana 2002, orig. proceeding)
Obtained a conditional writ of mandamus ordering a trial court to reinstate a motion to transfer venue.

In the Matter of Liljeberg Enterprises, Inc., 304 F.3d 410 (5th Cir. 2002)
Obtained reversal of a $12 million award in a contract dispute involving severability and cross-default issues implicating the power to assume an executory contract.

Exxon Corp. v. Breezevale Ltd., 82 S.W.3d 429 (Tex. App. - Dallas 2002, pet. denied)
Obtained reversal of a $34.3 million judgment based on a jury verdict against an oil company in a suit involving a claimed oral agreement that was held to be barred by the statute of frauds.

McCutchin v. Addison Texas Tumbleweed, Inc., No. 05-98-01918-CV, 2001 WL 910940 (Tex. App. - Dallas Aug. 13, 2001, pet. denied) (mem. op.)
Obtained reversal of an adverse $1.2 million judgment in a wrongful eviction case and obtained a $100,000 judgment in favor of our client.

George Grubbs Enters. v. Bien, 900 S.W.2d 337 (Tex. 1995)
Obtained reversal of a $5.8 million judgment in a case involving an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim against an automobile dealer based on a faulty jury instruction in the exemplary damage question; the case made clear that exemplary damages cannot be awarded against one defendant according to the wealth of a separate entity based upon deficient corporate disregard instructions.

Southwest-Tex Leasing Co. v. Denise, No. 11-99-00127-CV, 2000 WL 34235126 (Tex. App. - Eastland 2000, no pet.) (mem. op.)
Reversed a jury verdict on claims of negligence and gross negligence arising from an automobile accident.

Texas Farmers Insurance Co. v. Cameron, 24 S.W.3d 386 (Tex. App. - Dallas 2007, pet. denied)
Upheld on appeal a multi-million jury verdict based on claims of bad faith and insurance code violations.

Soliman v. American Airlines, Inc., No. 94 08428 C, (68th Dist. Ct., Dallas County, Tex.)
Persuaded the trial court to grant a $10 million remittitur from a $28 million verdict, after which the case settled.

Debt Restructure and Collections
Represented Southwest Savings Association, Bonnet Resources, Amresco, and Sunbelt Savings Association in connection with the collection of hundreds of loans including, real property foreclosures, personal property foreclosures, litigation, demands for payment, restructurings, and bankruptcies. These loans covered all industries and involved many novel factual and legal issues.

Panda Energy Corp. v. Heard Energy Corp., No. 05-96-01301-CV, 1998 WL 549032 (Tex. App. - Dallas Aug. 31, 1998, pet denied) (mem. op.)
Won reversal of a summary judgment disposing of a power plant developer’s claims against former affiliates for misappropriation of corporate opportunities.

National Medical Enterprises, Inc. v. Godbey, 924 S.W.2d 123 (Tex. 1996, orig. proceeding)
Obtained a writ of mandamus from the Texas Supreme Court disqualifying opposing counsel in a case against a hospital corporation and a former hospital administrator.

Federal Savings & Loan Insurance Corp. v. T.F. Stone-Liberty Land Associates, 787 S.W.2d 475 (Tex. App. -Dallas 1990, writ dism'd by agr.)
Won reversal of an $80 million judgment in a lawsuit against a savings institution and its wholly-owned service corporation for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, usury, punitive damages and attorneys' fees.

City of Dallas v. Continental Airlines, Inc., 735 S.W.2d 496 (Tex. App. - Dallas 1987, writ denied)
Obtained summary judgment entitling Continental Airlines to fly out of Dallas Love Field and successfully defended that judgment on appeal.

Zuffa, LLC v. HDNet MMA 2008 LLC, 262 S.W.3d 446 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2008, orig. proceeding)
Persuaded the Dallas Court of Appeals to grant mandamus relief directing the trial court to stay litigation pending the outcome of Nevada arbitration proceedings between The Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial arts fight promoter and fighter Randy Couture.

Doe v. Brookhaven Country Club, No. 04-10591-D (95th Dist. Ct., Dallas County, Tex.)
Argued a jury charge involving issues of negligence and punitive damages, resulting in a favorable take-nothing judgment.

Online Publications

02/19/2013 - New Texas State Court Rules Become Effective March 1, 2013
For the first time, Texas rules permit a motion to dismiss. On February 12, the Texas Supreme Court released the final version of Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 91a, which (1) establishes procedures for dismissal of civil claims, and (2) provides for the mandatory award of attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party.

06/04/2009 - Invisible Ink: What You Didn’t Sign (Binding Non-Signatories to Arbitration Clauses, Jury Waivers, and Forum Selection Clauses)
Increasingly, sophisticated parties are agreeing to mandatory arbitration provisions, jury waivers, or forum selection clauses in order to control any future litigation. This paper gives an overview of how the Texas Supreme Court has addressed issues that arise, and attempts to predict how it might resolve similar questions in the future.

07/20/2006 - Analysis of Texas Supreme Court's opinion in Neeley et al. v. West Orange-Cove et al., 176 S.W.3d 74

11/28/2005 - Analysis of Texas Supreme Court’s opinion in Neeley et al. v. West Orange-Cove et al.

06/23/2005 - The Charge: Top Five Things You Need to Know
State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting: Litigation Section (June 23, 2005)

04/01/2005 - Mark Twain's Guide for Young Lawyers (and Older Lawyers Seeking a Review)

09/10/2004 - Post-Verdict Landmines: A Survival Guide
This paper attempts to provide a guide for handling that intense period of time between verdict and the expiration of jurisdiction in the trial court, from the perspective of the losing defendant.

05/13/2003 - The Court's Charge
Dallas Bar Association Business Litigation Section (May 13, 2003)

01/11/2002 - Court's Charge - Minefield Approach
When Do You Draft? It is never too early to start drafting your charge. Knowledge of how your charge will look will assist with the pleading, discovery, and proof aspects of your case. Indeed, advance knowledge of your charge will ensure that you not prove up the wrong case! The first big bad mistake of charge practice is waiting too long to draft the charge. A draft should be prepared at the outset of the case and updated throughout the pretrial process. You should avoid the temptation of waiting until the eve before charge conference! By that point, it may well be too late.