T: (832) 509-2564
M: (713) 376-4902
- Commercial Transactions
- Compliance Counseling
- Energy/Oil & Gas Law
- General Corporate
- Intellectual Property
- Litigation – Civil Pretrial and Trial Services
- Litigation & Risk Management
- Regulatory Law & Government Contracts
- Securities & Private Equity
- White Collar Litigation and Investigations
- South Texas College of Law, J.D., 1983
- Yale University, B.A., 1974
Large Law Firm Experience:
- Burleson LLP
- Harris County District Attorney’s Office
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.
Over the course of his career, Mr. Burton has also handled a wide array of environmental matters and worked closely with a variety of federal, state, and local enforcement offices, including the Environmental Crimes Division of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
A major emphasis of Mr. Burton’s work involves the litigation of warranty and indemnity claims for and against numerous manufacturers. Mr. Burton has developed, negotiated and defended contractual indemnities, including those covered by the Texas and Louisiana Anti-Indemnity Statutes, on behalf of equipment manufacturers for the onshore and offshore oil and gas drilling and production industry.
Mr. Burton has appeared on ABC News’ 20/20, ABC’s Good Morning America, ABC News’ PrimeTime Live, Donahue (3/96), HBO’s America Undercover series (“Women on Trial”)(11/93), CNN’s Nancy Grace Show (1/2008), BBC World News, Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine, and numerous other local and national TV, radio, and printed media as an expert on child abuse, child advocacy, and children’s legal issues.
He is an internationally recognized expert on child abuse and neglect and is the founder of Justice for Children, a national child advocacy organization that provides pro bono legal services and social services to victims of abuse and neglect across the United States. He was the Keynote speaker at the International Conference on Children’s Rights in Wales in 2012 attended by representatives from the 192 signatories to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and is a charter member of the International Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People. He is a frequent author and lecturer on child abuse and criminal justice issues and has testified before Congress and numerous state legislative committees over the past 27 years.
2014 Representative Transactions Include
- Represented Major E&P Company in dispute arising out of 20-year old gas gathering agreement against owner of gas gathering system pertaining to the under-allocation of Natural Gas Liquids resulting in $18 Million Settlement for Client.
- Represented Energy Service Client with avoiding claim of Misappropriation of Trade Secrets claim against major competitor.
- Assisted E&P client with successful reverse merger into NYSE-traded E&P Company resulting in combined entity with several hundred million dollars in total value.
- In Oil & Gas Lease dispute between Lessor and client where $500,000 in damages were claimed, obtained dismissal and lease extension and avoided payment of any damages.
- Assisted Energy Service Company with emergency due diligence and replacement of expiring employment agreements for its European Operations with employees in multiple countries.
- Recipient of Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Swansea University (Wales) for work in the establishment of the International Observatory of the Rights of Children and Youth.
- Obtained Agreed Injunction against company that wrongfully withheld oilfield equipment belonging to Client.
- Assisted Houston client in Virginia Will contest resulting in the discovery of $500,000 in hidden assets belonging to heirs.
- Represented clients in $40 million securities fraud adversarial proceeding in bankruptcy court.
- Obtained $1.3 Million Judgment against Securities Fraud case against E&P Company on behalf of investor group.
- Assisted with the recapitalization of national graphic design firm.
- Successfully defended environmental recycling client against both state and federal civil claims asserted by a competitor for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act, the unauthorized disposal of hazardous waste, and a claim under the Anti-SLAPP Act. Obtained complete dismissal of federal and state claims, obtained requisite permits in a contested case before the TCEQ, and negotiated long-term settlement agreement avoiding injunction and avoiding payment of any damages.
- Represented owner of oilfield services companies with divorce, asset protection, and succession planning.
2013 Representative Transactions Include
- Represented Defendant in suit for approximately $1,250,000 in damages plus attorneys’ fees for alleged breach of Stock Purchase Agreement and Employment Agreement. Case settled for $325,000 paid to Plaintiff over time.
- Represented publicly-traded company, former management and board members in various disputes with former shareholders and internal fraud investigation against certain former employees and advisors. Referral of criminal securities fraud cases to Justice Department.
- Represented start-up E&P company in capitalization, creation of new credit facility, and agreements associated with the contribution of producing properties and funding from major energy private equity firm; Total size of deal roughly $300,000,000.
- Represented oil tools company in conversion case against repair facility; obtained TRO and settlement whereby equipment was returned to Client; Defendant had requested $150,000 to return the goods; Defendant settled for $5,000.
2012 Representative Transactions Include
- Represented heavy crude terminal in the creation of a joint venture and subsequent sale of a mobile rail trans-loading facility and terminal for $90 million.
- Represented Energy Service Company with the buy-out and settlement with key executive in charge with development of proprietary formulas for Company.
- Represented President of Energy Service Company in sale of company and negotiation of Employment Agreements and retention bonuses for management team resulting in receipt of significant improvement in offers.
- Conducted seminars on: (1) oil & gas indemnity agreements; (2) International Anti-Bribery/Anti-Corruption Compliance; and International Commercial Terms.
- Keynote Speaker at the International Conference on Children’s Rights held in Wales.
2011 Representative Transactions Include
- Represented Seller in $25 million sale of two (2) oilfield service companies to Private Equity firm.
- Represented Seller in subsequent litigation resulting in $4.4 million additional cash settlement for Seller pertaining to allegations of securities fraud, shareholder oppression, fraud by omission, and breach of an asset purchase agreement arising out of Private Equity firm/Purchaser’s attempt to conceal information concerning an Earnout event. The resulting $4.4 million settlement represents over 95% of the theoretical maximum recovery on the case.
- Represented parents of child expelled for alleged bullying from a Catholic School. The Archdiocese refunded the entire school tuition for 1 year, paid most of the parents’ legal fees, issued a written apology to the parents and child, agreed to expunge the record of the disciplinary action, and agreed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident for procedural changes in Archdiocese schools.
- Represented wife of high net-worth individual involved in international, securities fraud scandal. Successfully negotiated a variety of disputes arising out of the fraud claims from the SEC including a global settlement with the SEC Receiver and Investors’ Committee whereby they agreed not to seek any funds or take any assets held by the wife, our client, entered a finding that she was an “innocent spouse,” released her from any claims of wrongdoing in the matters arising out of the SEC suit, and help obtain a settlement on her behalf against a former attorney.
- Represented Owner of a successful, national graphic design firm in the planning, negotiation, and implementation of an ownership transition and related legal documents.
- Represented E&P company in a royalty fee dispute in East Texas pertaining to alleged reversionary interests claimed by the Plaintiffs. Client, the former operator of the subject properties, was initially sued for its share of approximately $20 million in damages. Through a variety of successful challenges in court on key legal issues, reduced client’s exposure from $20 million to its share of $2.5 million.
- 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)
- 1st Annual Giving Campaign Chair, Cornerstone Recovery
- Pro Bono College, State Bar of Texas (Business Law Section)
- Houston Bar Association (Oil and Gas and Environmental Law Sections)
- Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation
- Charter member, Texas Child Fatality Review Team Project, State Committee
- Policy Advisory Board, National Association to Protect Children
Publications & Presentations
- Quoted in “Pipeline Cos. See Easier Takings Route In Texas With Denbury,” Law 360, January 9, 2017
- 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