Michael J. Mazzone is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law and has tried numerous jury and non-jury cases in both state and federal court.
He is licensed to practice in Texas, Massachusetts and North Dakota, as well as in all of the federal courts in Texas, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court, and he has tried cases in Louisiana and New Mexico in addition to Texas.
Michael frequently represents energy companies in environmental contamination, indemnity, and toxic tort cases. He also represents parties in construction litigation and arbitration as well as real estate development disputes.
Michael is also an arbitrator and an advocate in arbitration matters. He has presided over numerous arbitration matters and, as a member of the American Arbitration Association's National Panel of Arbitrators, is regularly called on to preside over arbitrations.
Michael has given speeches and presented papers on trial advocacy, arbitration, and litigation at oil and gas industry conferences, bar association seminars, the Texas Environmental Superconference, and the University of Texas Law School. Michael has also been a speaker at the AAA's National and Regional Panel Retreats, seminars providing training to AAA arbitrators.
For five years, Michael taught in the trial advocacy program at the University of Houston Law School as an adjunct professor of law, and he has served on the Editorial Board of the Houston Lawyer magazine, a publication of the Houston Bar Association.
Michael was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration in 1977 from the University of South Carolina, and he attended graduate school at the University of Michigan. He obtained his law degree in 1983 from Suffolk University Law School in Boston.
- MMR International, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas: Represented at trial builder of power barges in a lawsuit brought by a subcontractor claiming breach of a contract to supply a labor force in Venezuela.
- Hazel Savoie, 38th Judicial District Court, Cameron Parish, Louisiana: Represented at trial a major energy company in a "legacy" lawsuit brought by a landowner claiming property damages from an oil field pit. Also represented the company in the related “preponderance hearing”, the first preponderance hearing held in Louisiana under Act 312.
- Jesco Operating, LP, 165th Judicial District Court, Harris County, Texas: Represented at trial energy company and pipeline owner in lawsuit by pipeline contractor claiming its business was destroyed by non-payment of invoices. At trial, plaintiff sought to recover the value of its business and other damages.
- Gordon Westergren, 269th Judicial District Court, Harris County, Texas: Represented at trial the developer of the Port Crossing rail-served industrial park in a lawsuit by a plaintiff who claimed an ownership interest in the project.
- Concepcion Acosta, 5th Judicial District, Lea County, New Mexico: Represented at trial a major energy company in lawsuit by approximately 200 plaintiffs who claimed that a tank battery/oil storage facility in their neighborhood caused personal injuries and property damages. At trial, plaintiffs sought over $54 million dollars for nine "trial plaintiffs."
- Conroe Express Concrete, 410th Judicial District Court, Montgomery County, Texas: Represented at trial a national homebuilder in a breach of contract and warranty lawsuit against concrete supplier. Foundations of a number of homes built with the supplied concrete failed.
- EDI Architecture, Inc., International Arbitration Association: Represented architectural firm in dispute with contractor over project in Luanda, Angola.
- Darr Angell, U. S. District Court for the District of New Mexico: Represented at trial a major energy company in lawsuit by a landowner for environmental damages and injunctive relief.
- Jeanie R. Carter, 214th Judicial District Court, Nueces County, Texas: Represented at trial a major energy company in lawsuit brought by approximately 40 families who claimed that a refinery waste disposal pit in their neighborhood caused personal injuries and property damages. Before trial, plaintiffs dropped their personal injury claims. At trial, plaintiffs sought in excess of $170 million dollars for six "trial plaintiff" families.
- “Technology and In-House Counsel,” conference co-chair, Corporate Counsel Institute, Suffolk University Law School, Boston, Massachusetts, October 4, 2013.
- “Comparative Law Forum,” speaker, Shell Global Litigation Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, September 19, 2013.
- “Potential Obstacles to Natural Gas Development,” program co-developer and moderator, The General Counsel Forum, Houston Chapter 2nd Quarterly Event, Houston, Texas, April 17, 2013.
- "American Law and Jurisprudence on Fracing," co-presenter with Andy Weissman, United States Energy Association Policy Series, Membership Briefing, Washington, D.C., January 30, 2013.
- "In-House from the Inside," conference co-chair, Corporate Counsel Institute, Suffolk University Law School, Boston, Massachusetts, September 14, 2012.
- "Too Much at Stake to Shut Down Fracing," Oil & Gas Financial Journal, August 10, 2012.
- "Hydraulic Fracturing Litigation," 58th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute, July 19-21, 2012, Newport Beach, California.
- "Non-Technical Risks in Projects and Other Developments," program developer and moderator, The General Counsel Forum, Houston Chapter 3rd Quarterly Event, June 20, 2012, Houston, Texas.
- "An Analysis of Fracking Developments," panelist, Haynes and Boone Webinar, March 8, 2012.
- "Changing Times Bring Conflict With Surface Owners," The American Oil and Gas Reporter, December 6, 2011.
- "Recent Litigation Related to Oil and Gas Drilling," Better Than Barnett: New Developments in the Legal and Regulatory Issues in the Eagle Ford Shale, October 18, 2011, Houston, Texas.
- "Oilfield Litigation: 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas,'" 23rd Annual Texas Environmental Superconference, August 4-5, 2011, Austin, Texas.
- "American Law and Jurisprudence on Fracing," with Thomas Kurth, Mary Mendoza, and Christopher Kulander, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Journal, Vol. 47, No. 2, 2010.
- "Hydraulic Fracturing – The Legal Issues," Texas Environmental Law Journal’s First Annual Symposium: The Legal and Environmental Impacts of Extracting Gas from Shale, October 29, 2010, Austin, Texas.
- "Hydraulic Fracturing - The Legal Issues," 3rd Annual Unconventional Gas International Conference, October 5-7, 2010, Fort Worth, Texas.
- "Current Operating Regulations and Future Trends," ALM’s 9th Annual Gas Shales Summit, June 2-3, 2010, Houston, Texas.
- "Assessing the Claims Asserted in the Global Warming Debate," presented to the Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church, January 10, 2010.
- "Asserting Contrary Policy Arguments in 'Public Policy' Litigation," co-author, Trials and Tribulations, newsletter of DRI Trial Tactics Committee, Spring 2009.
- "Climate Change Risk," 80th Annual Meeting, New Mexico Oil & Gas Association, Santa Fe, NM, October 2008.
- "Actions Reduce Climate Change Risks," The American Oil & Gas Reporter, September 2008.
- "Climate Change," SPE-Hobbs Section and SPE-Environmental Study Group of Midland, Hobbs, NM, April 2008.
- "Practical Issues in Commercial Arbitration Agreements," Fort Bend County Bar Association, October 2007 and Houston Bar Association, January 2007.
- "Climate Change and the Law," 79th Annual Meeting, New Mexico Oil & Gas Association, Santa Fe, NM, October 2007.
- "Standing in Environmental Property Damage Cases," co-author, Ethical Principles for Corporate Counsel, Houston, January 2006
- Ch. 28 (Torts) of Vol. 46 (Environmental Law) of Texas Practice Series, West, 2005.
- "Prosecute, Never Defend - How to Aggressively Handle Your Company's Matters," ACCA Houston Chapter - Summer Leadership Speaker Series, Houston, June 2003.
- Recognized as a Super Lawyer - Civil Litigation Defense (2009-2013)
- Martindale Hubbell® Law Directory with a Peer Review Rating of AV® Preeminent™
Selected Representative Experience
Jesco Operating, L.P. v. Hess Corporation, 402 S.W.3d 320 (Tex. App.--Houston [14th Dist.] 2013, no pet.)
Successfully defended a take-nothing judgment following a jury trial that defeated a multi-million dollar claim for breach of contract arising out of a pipeline construction dispute.
Pipeline Construction Dispute (2013)
Fully successful defense action against a pipeline contractor that sued for additional payments for services that were required because of the contractor’s own defective work. The plaintiff agreed to drop the case.
Unauthorized Computer Access by Former Employee
Representation of a company victim of a time bomb planted in its computer system by a former employee. The case settled on terms very favorable to our client.
Unauthorized Computer Access - Smart Device
Representation of a company accused of accessing a smart device in a manner that exceeds authorization. The case is litigated in federal court and involves claims under the Stored Communications Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and other common law claims.
M7 Capital LLC, v. Theodore B. Miller Jr. a/k/a Ted B. Miller Jr., 11th District Court, 2007
Represented a developer of an aerospace parts business in fraud and breach of contract trial.
BASF v. Lummus Technology, No. 2012-36085 (190th Dist. Ct., Harris County, Tex.) (2011-12)
Suit to recover damages caused by the catastrophic failure of equipment in a chemical processing plant.
Surface Owner Nuisance Suit
Represent operator in nuisance case brought by surface owner.
Product Liability Claims
Defend packager of compression equipment in product liability claims.
Represent midstream company in benzene exposure personal injury claim of truck driver.
Defended at trial the owner in a pipeline construction dispute with pipeline contractor. Following a two-week jury trial, obtained a favorable verdict for the owner.
Dispute Between Packager and Facility
Contract dispute between compression packager and gas storage facility.
Lentz Engineering, L.C. v. Brown, No. 14-10-00610-CV, 2011 WL 4449655 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Sept. 27, 2011, no pet.) (mem. op.)
Successfully defended on appeal a judgment that a plaintiff take nothing from a real estate investor on plaintiff's breach of contract claim.
Beltway v. Rosenberger, No. 2009-55551 (333rd Dist. Ct., Harris County, Tex.) (2009-11)
Suit to recover damages caused by defective building construction materials. The case settled with terms favorable to our client.
Main v. Royall, 348 S.W.3d 381 (Tex. App.--Dallas 2011, no pet.)
Represented amicus curiae in an interlocutory appeal obtaining reversal of the trial court’s order denying summary judgment on defamation claims against two media defendants regarding the book, Bulldozed: 'Kelo,' Eminent Domain and the American Lust for Land
Indemnity Provision of Purchase and Sale Agreement
Represented seller in arbitration of claims arising out of indemnity provision of purchase and sale agreement for the sale of three oil fields in Mississippi.
Concepcion Acosta, 5th Judicial District, Lea County, New Mexico
Represented a major energy company in a jury trial in Lea County, New Mexico in a suit filed by approximately 200 plaintiffs who claim that a tank battery in their neighborhood caused personal injuries and property damage. In the trial of the first group of plaintiffs, the jury returned a verdict for the company.
Conroe Express Concrete, 410th Judicial District Court, Montgomery County, Texas
Represented at trial a national homebuilder in a breach of contract and warranty lawsuit against concrete supplier. Foundations of a number of homes built with the supplied concrete failed. The jury returned a verdict for the builder against the concrete supplier and the court entered a judgment on the verdict.
Darr Angell, U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico
Represented a major energy company in a trial on behalf of a landowner claiming environmental damages and injunctive relief. Claims against the company were dismissed (with prejudice) after cross-examination of plaintiff's witnesses.
Refinery Waste Disposal Pit
Represented client in lawsuit brought by approximately 40 families who claimed that a refinery waste disposal pit in their neighborhood caused personal injuries and property damages. Before trial, plaintiffs dropped their personal injury claims. At trial, plaintiffs sought in excess of $170 million dollars for six “trial plaintiff” families. The jury returned a verdict for the company, and the untried claims of the remaining plaintiff families were settled for a token sum.
Brooks v. Chevron USA Inc., No. 13-05-00029-CV, 2006 WL 1431227 (Tex. App. - Corpus Christi May 25, 2006, pet. denied) (mem. op.)
Successfully defended a major energy company in a case alleging environmental contamination of a residential neighborhood, and successfully defended the trial court's dismissal order on appeal.
EDI Architecture, Inc., International Arbitration Association
Represented architectural firm in dispute with contractor over project in Luanda, Angola. Resolved by settlement prior to final hearing.
Carter v. Ballard Sand and Gravel et al. (2003)
Represented a major energy company in a jury trial in Nueces County, Texas in a suit brought by approximately 40 families who claimed that a refinery waste disposal pit in their neighborhood caused personal injuries and property damages. The jury returned a verdict for the company following a trial of the claims of the "trial plaintiffs."
Senn v. Texaco, et al. 55 S.W.3d 222, 225 (Tex. App.—Eastland 2001)
Gained a dismissal for our major oil company client in a suit filed by property owners claiming damages from surface and groundwater contamination caused by oil and gas operations. Dismissal granted while case was still in discovery phase without paying any settlement money and without filing any motions.
Multiple Lawsuit Defense - Energy
Represent numerous energy companies in lawsuits alleging personal injuries from benzene exposure.
Harris v. East Texas Salt Water Disposal Co., et al.
Represented major energy companies in proposed class lawsuit brought by property owners claiming water contamination throughout the entire East Texas oil field.
12/21/2012 - American Law and Jurisprudence on Fracing - 2012
Haynes and Boone, LLP energy attorneys have published an update to their comprehensive and highly regarded “American Law and Jurisprudence on Fracking,” a white paper that examines the legal, environmental and regulatory climate in active shale play states.
08/10/2012 - Oil & Gas Financial Journal Guest Article: Too Much at Stake to Shut Down Fracing
Nothing better illustrates the extremes that opponents of hydraulic fracturing will go to than the deception noted by Texas State District Judge Trey Loftin on Feb. 16. His comment came in an order he entered in the Parker County (Texas) case of Steven Lipsky against Range Resources, a Fort Worth-based exploration and production company.
03/08/2012 - Haynes and Boone Webinar: Private Capital Quarterly Energy - An Analysis of Fracking Developments
The Investment Funds and Energy groups of Haynes and Boone, LLP presented the Private Capital Quarterly Energy Webinar, "An Analysis of Fracking Developments."
12/29/2011 - Houston Business Journal Guest Article: 'Claptrap' over Keystone mere political noise
Opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline are making the rounds with specious arguments these days.
12/06/2011 - The American Oil & Gas Reporter Guest Article: Changing Times Bring Conflict With Surface Owners
HOUSTON – For decades, companies drilling for oil and gas had law and history on their side. Drilling was a noisy, dusty and intrusive business, but it was heard and seen primarily by passing motorists on the United States’ sprawling prairies.
10/18/2011 - Recent Litigation Related to Oil and Gas Drilling
This Article provides an overview of recent litigation concerning onshore oil and gas drilling, and explores the validity (or lack thereof) of the surface owner claims.
09/04/2011 - Houston Chronicle Guest Column: Drilling revolution presents problems for landowners
With oil and gas drilling comes the rumbling. First, trucks and equipment arrive to build well pad sites, then fluid used in hydraulic fracturing is hauled away. These sights, sounds and smells have the potential for disrupting residential life - especially as drilling approaches cities and towns.
08/23/2011 - Fracking Legal Landscape Updated in Haynes and Boone White Paper
– Haynes and Boone, LLP energy attorneys have published an update to their comprehensive and highly regarded “American Law and Jurisprudence on Fracking,” a white paper that examines the legal, environmental and regulatory climate in active shale play states.
08/17/2011 - Hart's E&P Guest Article: Texas Adopts Fracing Disclosure Rules -- Stall Off Feds?
One-rule-for-all is what the shale gas industry could face concerning a federal regulation limiting a gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracing.
12/01/2010 - American Law and Jurisprudence on Fracking
The substantial growth of domestic unconventional shale resources in recent years has partially been a result of the increase in the use of hydraulic fracturing. This report deals with hydraulic fracturing and the legal and technical issues associated with it.
07/08/2010 - Law Applicable to Hydraulic Fracturing in the Shale States
The use of hydraulic fracturing has made it economically possible to produce hydrocarbons from reservoirs which previously would have been uneconomical to develop. Now, an extraordinary oil and gas boom is afoot in America, and onshore natural gas production is advancing at an extraordinary pace.
04/01/2009 - Asserting Contrary Policy Arguments in "Public Policy" Litigation
In the last decade or so, lawyers and others have tried to make public policy through litigation. With tort lawsuits about tobacco, guns, fast food, and carbon dioxide emissions, among other things, many are using the courtroom in an attempt to create rules that these self-appointed policymakers have determined are good and necessary.
09/01/2008 - Actions Reduce Climate Change Risks
The American Oil & Gas Reporter
The U.S. Congress this summer considered “climate change” legislation. The Wall Street Journal described the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act as the largest expansion of the federal government since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation and as “easily the largest income redistribution scheme since the income tax.”
09/07/2000 - Litigation - The Measure of Damage in Environmental Contamination Cases
3/26/1997 - Litigation - Arbitration of Environmental Claims - From Agreement to Award