Mr. Burton is a senior member of the FisherBroyles Legal Team. Since 1987, Mr. Burton has litigated a wide variety of disputes, with a primary focus in the oil and gas industry where he represents numerous US and International E&P and Energy Service clients. He is a frequent author-lecturer on Commercial Agreements, International Contracts, the Oilfield Anti-Indemnity Acts, and the Protection of Trade Secrets. He began his legal career as a successful prosecutor at the Harris County DA’s Office. He has been chosen for inclusion in the Who’s Who in Energy from 2011-2014. He has received international recognition for his pro bono work on behalf of abused children and was previously named, “Outstanding Young Lawyer of Houston,” by the Houston Young Lawyers Association.
In addition to his upstream litigation experience, Mr. Burton has extensive experience handling disputes over midstream energy contracts including processing agreements and NGL allocation disputes. He has represented pipeline construction and maintenance companies, as well as E&P companies with TENORM litigation arising out of the radioactive contamination of pipelines and processing facilities.
- Reported Cases
- Blackstone v. A.H.L. Properties Number One, 1990 Tex. App. LEXIS 1076; 1990 WL 59503 (Tex. App.-Houston [14thDist.] 1990, writ denied, judgment aff’d.) (successful suit to remove cloud from title, to quiet title, and for declaratory judgment against judgment creditor);
- Virginia Indonesia Co. v. Harris County Appraisal District, 910 S.W.2d 905 (Tex. 1995) (successful constitutional appeal of complex property tax case invalidating application of a nondiscriminatory ad valorem property tax to goods in export transit); opinion cited in United States v. IBM, 517 U.S. 843, 116 S. Ct. 1793 (1996)
- Burd v. Armistead, 982 S.W.2d 31 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1998, pet. denied) (successful suit to remove cloud on title);
- Martin Apparatus & Equipment v. Harris County Appraisal District, 44 S.W.3d 190 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2001), pet. denied) (successful constitutional appeal of complex property tax case involving unlawful assessment ofvehicle inventory tax against fire truck representative who was not a dealer/owner of the trucks);
- Enterprise Field Services, LLC v. TOC-Rocky Mountain, Inc. (BP America Production Co.), 405 S.W.3d 767 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2013, pet. denied) (successful settlement of $60 million dispute over under-allocation of NGLs; successful trial court decision on applicability of arbitration provision in separate contract not upheld on appeal)
- Representative Transactions
- Represented defendant in bankruptcy fraud case involving the alleged unauthorized practice of law by providing legal advice concerning mortgage foreclosures.
- Advised President of various Oil Service companies in large property divorce concerning the protection of his assets and preservation of ongoing operations.
- Represented Oil & Gas client in dispute under Joint Operating Agreement, Participation Agreement, and de facto forced pooling.
- Defended Oil & Gas client in suit brought by landowners over alleged release or abandonment of oil & gas leases, trespass, ownership rights in wells, and whether shutting in wells “washed out” non-operating working interests.
- Assisted investor group in acquisition of Oil & Gas interests including creation of Term Sheet, Joint Operating Agreement, special purpose vehicle for the investment, and Assignment of working interests in existing wells.
- Defended importer of certain Chinese goods in civil forfeiture actions by the Customs & Border Patrol and Anti-Dumping/Countervailing Duties claims alleged by the Department of Justice.
- Advised non-profit with winding-up activities and conversion to for-profit entity.
- Assisted design studio with completion of succession plan, cancellation of promissory notes, and updating corporate records re stock ownership.
- Represented Energy Service client in dispute with shareholder over whether certain license and joint venture agreements were enforceable under a Memorandum of Understanding.
- Represented E&P company in its breach of contract and fraudulent concealment suit against the contractor for gas gathering and gas processing / fractionation services involving the under-allocation of Natural Gas Liquids.
- Ongoing representation of crane and heavy equipment sales clients with preparation of their felony fraud and theft cases for prosecution by District Attorney’s Office.
- Successfully represented maritime equipment manufacturer with preferential transfer case in Alabama Bankruptcy Court.
- Assisted University of Houston with the analysis and licensing of various intellectual property developed by its science and engineering faculty.
- Assisted drum and tote manufacturing /reconditioning operation in Odessa with business plan, ownership structure, and set up of new manufacturing businesses. Engaged in contract negotiations with lenders, vendors and customers.
- Founder & President, Justice for Children (1987-present)
- Oilfield Helping Hands – pro bono General Counsel
- Founding International Partner, International Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People (Wales, UK) (2012-present)
- Co-Chair, 1st Annual Giving Campaign, Cornerstone Recovery
- Pro Bono College, State Bar of Texas
- Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation
- Charter member, Texas Child Fatality Review Team Project, State Committee
- Houston Bar Association (Oil and Gas Law Section)
- Policy Advisory Board, National Association to Protect Children
- Publications & Presentations
- Speaker at International Symposium on Oil & Gas Law in London, Lex Petrolea, June 21, 2016
- Quoted in “Texas Trade Secrets Law Gets Business-Friendly Upgrade,” Law 360, May 10, 2013
- Quoted in “Eagle Ford Worker Shortage Prompts Spike in Noncompetes,” Law 360, April 11, 2013
- Quoted in “5 Tips for Out-Of-Towners Litigating in Texas,” Law 360, April 4, 2013
- “International Corporate Compliance Overview,” presented at Burleson LLP and FittsRoberts & Co.’s International Corporate Compliance Issues Seminar, Houston, Texas, November 15, 2012
- “Indemnities and Non-Competes,” presented at the Burleson LLP In-house Seminar, Houston, February 8, 2012
- Co-authored with Sam Johnson, Esq., and Cara Burton, Esq., “The Sound of Inevitability: The Doctrine of Inevitable Disclosure of Trade Secrets Comes to Texas,” Texas Journal of Business Law, Spring 2012
- Quoted in “Shale Plays Have Created Unprecedented Demand for Legal Representation,” Well Servicing Magazine, June/July 2012
- “The Sound Of Inevitability: The Doctrine of Inevitable Disclosure of Trade Secrets Comes to Texas,” co-authored with Sam Johnson, Esq., and Cara Burton, April 1, 2011
- “International Contracts for the Sale and Purchase of Goods,” Well Servicing Magazine, May/June 2009
- “International Terms and Conditions of Service,” Burleson Cooke Continuing Education Series, March 31, 2009
- “Legacy by Design,” Executive Legal Adviser, January/February 2009
- “Due Diligence for Acquisitions of Oil and Gas Properties,” presented to the Houston Bar Association Oil and Gas Section Luncheon, November 18, 2008
- “How to Protect Your Company in Contracts for the Sale and Purchase of Goods,” presented to the Association of Energy Service Companies (AESC) 2008 Annual Summer Meeting, Monterey, California, July 9, 2008
- Awards and Recognitions
Lead Counsel Verification in Business Law, Thomson Reuters, LawInfo
The State Bar of Texas (1983 – Present)
Supreme Court of the United States of America (1996 – Present)
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (2009 – Present)
United States Court of Federal Claims (2015 – Present)
United States District Courts of the Southern District of Texas (1983 – Present)
United States District Courts of the Western District of Texas (1990 – Present)
United States District Courts of the Eastern District of Texas (2001 – Present)
United States District Courts for the Northern District of Texas (2015 – Present)
The Pro Bono College of the State Bar of Texas (1995 – Present)
South Texas College of Law, J.D., 1983
Yale University, B.A., 1974
Prior Law Firm Experience
Harris County District Attorney’s Office
- Commercial Transactions
- Compliance Counseling
- Energy/Oil & Gas Law
- Environmental Health & Safety
- General Corporate
- Civil Pretrial & Trial Services
- Litigation & Risk Management
- Professional & Management Liability
- Regulatory Law & Government Contracts
- Securities & Private Equity
- White Collar Litigation & Investigations
- Intellectual Property Litigation