Plaintiffs and defendants rely on Mike Oldham’s exceptional ability to explain complicated issues and persuasively tell his clients’ stories to a jury. An industry generalist by choice, Mike has an impressive track record of successfully handling high stakes and contingency fee cases for companies, private equity groups, and entrepreneurs. His clients have included Conoco Phillips, DCP Midstream, ExxonMobil, Texas Children’s Hospital, Magellan, Bessemer Trust, NewQuest Properties, and Avera Companies. Mike’s private equity clients have included The Sterling Group, The Stephens Group, Luxor Capital, and portfolio companies of Quantum Energy Partners, One Stone Energy Partners, Clearlake Capital Group, Riverstone, First Reserve and Cerberus.
Mike is known for his relentless determination and ability to get up to speed quickly. In one particularly noteworthy case, he was hired by a major energy company to try an oil and gas accounting case that had been pending for years. After trying the case to a jury, Mike won all the claims in the client’s favor and so impressed both sides of the dispute that both the plaintiff and the defendant hired Mike to represent them in other major disputes the following year.
After graduating second in his class from The University of Texas School of Law, Mike clerked for Judge Jacques L. Wiener, Jr., on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Mike was a partner at Gibbs & Bruns LLP before co-founding Reynolds Frizzell LLP, which has been recognized as a Top Ten Litigation Boutique in America.
A leader in the legal and civic community, Mike has been honored repeatedly by Benchmark Litigation, Best Lawyers in America, and Super Lawyers. He is a past recipient of the Houston Bar Association President’s Award for Outstanding Committee Chair. Mike is also a member of the University of Texas Development Board and an active member of the University of Texas School of Nursing Advisory Committee.
After trying a lawsuit to a verdict against DCP Midstream, I have been honored to represent DCP Midstream in a number of other disputes. For example, my partner Chris Reynolds and I defended DCP from an arbitration filed by EOG Resources to challenge DCP’s settlement accounting practices under the parties’ gas purchase contract. EOG sought to recover a refund of more than $20 million from DCP and to avoid paying another $50 million to DCP under the contract. The dispute settled amicably on the verge of the final arbitration hearing. (DCP Midstream v. EOG Resources).
We also were hired by DCP to substitute in as Co-Counsel in a large, ongoing lawsuit against Anadarko Petroleum and two of Anadarko’s subsidiaries in Colorado state court. DCP was seeking to recover more than $1 billion. The lawsuit involved a complex set of claims that the defendants were violating the terms of more than 40 different legacy gas purchase, gathering and processing contracts (which, collectively, govern the dedication of gas production from more than 6000 wells). After DCP hired us as Co-Counsel alongside partners in Perkins Coie’s Denver office, we engaged in the intensive discovery, filed new claims, and prevailed on a number of key pre-trial motions. The case settled on confidential terms. (DCP Midstream v. Anadarko Petroleum Company, et al.)
Won a case for Progress Energy (formerly Florida Power Corp.) on summary judgment and collected full damages (plus interest). As Lead Counsel filed a lawsuit on Progress Energy’s behalf to recover more than $1 million in damages after the defendants bought fuel oil from Progress Energy but failed to pay for it. The defendants filed counterclaims and sought to recover $7 million in damages from Progress Energy. After fact discovery, we obtained pre-trial summary judgments establishing affirmative liability against the defendants on Progress Energy’s claims, and dismissing the counterclaims with prejudice. Shortly afterward, the defendants agreed to pay our client full damages plus pre-judgment interest in the amount of approximately $1.3 million. (Florida Power Corp., et al. v. Crest Energy Partners, LP, et al.)
Despite being hired as lead Trial Counsel after the close of discovery and only three months before the jury trial, won a complete victory in defense of ExxonMobil Corporation. Plaintiff Duke Energy Services (now DCP Midstream) had alleged that certain accounting errors and re-allocations by ExxonMobil as an operator in the Conroe Field Unit had caused more than $4 million dollars of overpayments to other working interest owners. (Duke Energy Field Services, LP v. ExxonMobil Corporation)
Tsakos Energy Navigation
Defended major international energy transporters based in Athens, Greece, against a lawsuit filed by a subsidiary of LyondellBasell in which the plaintiff sought to recover more than $100 million in damages for the Tsakos entities’ alleged participation in a multi-year kickback scheme with the plaintiff’s marine chartering manager. As Co-lead Counsel, while challenging personal jurisdiction, prepared a substantive defense to the claims and successfully mediated a quick resolution to the case. Tsakos obtained a confidential settlement on agreeable terms, and then was approached by the plaintiff to discuss the resumption of their business relationship. (Houston Refining, LP v. Jonathan Barnes, et al.)
Assisted in the representation of the plaintiff in a breach of contract case against private-equity firm Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc after the defendant terminated its contract to purchase 51% interest in Coho under a “Material Adverse Change” clause. Case settled favorably before trial. (Coho Energy, Inc. v. Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Equity Fund IV, LP, et al.
Successfully enforced a worldwide noncompetition agreement on behalf of an online auction house against a rival company that had hired away two of its employees (including its chief software architect). As Litigation Counsel proceeded to trial within 2 months of filing the lawsuit and won a worldwide injunction against the defendant. (Network Oil, Inc. v. Petrocosm Corporation, et al.)
CONTRACT & PARTNERSHIP DISPUTES
Private Equity Arbitration
Successfully arbitrated disputes between principals relating to the breakup of a significant private equity firm. After presenting client’s case along with partner Chris Reynolds in a one-week arbitration hearing, followed by significant post-hearing briefing, obtained an award for client worth more than 5 times the amount offered by a former partner in settlement discussions.
Nevada Cogeneration Associates #2
Won an arbitration brought by a public utility company against NCA#2 (a power generation company co-owned by Chevron and Dynegy). Nevada Power Company sought nearly $360 million in refunds under the terms of a 30-year power purchase agreement. Defended NCA#2 through final arbitration in Las Vegas, and obtained the complete victory. (Nevada Power Company v. Nevada Cogeneration Associates #2)
Memorial Clinical Associates
Successfully forced the plaintiff to arbitrate claims against the other partners in his medical practice, despite repeated attempts by the plaintiff (and later, his estate) to file multiple lawsuits and subpoenas in various different courts. As Lead Counsel, successfully argued a motion to abate the original lawsuit and to compel arbitration, and then halted each subsequent attempt by the plaintiff to file new lawsuits and subpoenas in other courts, each time redirecting them to the arbitrator. The parties ultimately reached a confidential settlement and all proceedings were dismissed. (The Estate of Craig Jefferies v. Richard Pohil, et al.)
Successfully defended a lawsuit against Network International arising out of its efforts to sell a division of the company. Plaintiff Icoworks sued for more than $30 million in damages plus injunctive relief after Network International broke off a sale to Icoworks and agreed to sell to a competing purchaser. As Lead Counsel won a temporary injunction hearing and then negotiated a favorable settlement in which Network International paid no damages and was able to sell the division to another buyer for a figure near its original asking price. (Icoworks Holdings, Inc. v. Network International, Inc.)
Successfully defended AIM Management Group, Inc., INVESCO Funds Group, Inc., AIM Advisors, Inc., AIM Distributors, Inc., and certain individual defendants from a class action alleging that mutual fund investors were being charged excessive fees. As Co-Counsel, successfully presented a motion to dismiss the case and obtained a final judgment from the Federal District Court rejecting the plaintiffs’ claims. (Boyce, et al. v. AIM Management Group, Inc., et al.)
In re Enron Corp. Securities Litigation
After the demise of Enron Corporation, served as Litigation Counsel to assist in the defense of Enron’s former outside directors against securities class actions and ERISA class actions and other related litigation. Although the failure of Enron resulted in litigation that lasted more than 10 years, we were able to obtain settlements on behalf of our clients in a relatively short period of time, and we obtained bar orders from the Federal District Court preventing any further litigation claims against them.
In re Friede Goldman Halter, Inc.
Assisted in the representation of former directors of Halter Marine Group, who were named as defendants in securities litigation seeking personal liability in excess of $100 million. The case was resolved favorably.
Waste Resources, Inc.
Despite being hired as substitute Lead Counsel only after an adverse jury verdict finding the defendant guilty of fraud and awarding $1.5 million in damages, successfully prepared and argued post-verdict motions on behalf of the defendant and obtained a judgment notwithstanding the verdict. The trial court disregarded the jury’s verdict and entered a final judgment of no liability. Continued representation as Lead Appellate Counsel and successfully defended the favorable judgment on appeal. (Gray v. Waste Resources, Inc.)
REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION
J.V. Industrial Companies
Obtained payment from the owner for J.V. Industrial’s construction work to repower and expand the Victoria Power Station. The owner withheld final payment for J.V. Industrial’s work and claimed $30 million in damages for alleged delays and cost overruns in arbitration. Represented J.V. Industrial as Lead Counsel in arbitration and obtained settlement payment of $14.7 million from the owner. (J.V. Industrial Companies, Ltd. v. Victoria WLE, LP)
Avera Capital Partners
Argued and won a motion for summary judgment on behalf of Avera Capital Partners in a lawsuit brought against it by the purchaser of a commercial building. The purchaser, La Mirada, filed suit for $4.4 million in lost rents after its tenant breached a long-term lease to move into a new building (also developed by Avera). Following the favorable summary judgment ruling, the Court dismissed all claims against Avera. Afterward, we filed an arbitration claim on Avera’s behalf against its co-investor (a subsidiary of USAA) for reimbursement of Avera’s defense costs incurred in the La Mirada lawsuit. That arbitration dispute was favorably settled. (La Mirada Plaza Investors, Ltd. vs. Jon Deutser, et al.)
Only two weeks after being hired as Co-lead Trial Counsel, won a jury trial against CenterPoint and Sprint for trespass. The jury found that the defendants had no right to place cell tower equipment atop a power pole on client’s commercial property, and the court entered an injunction ordering the defendants to remove the equipment. (Bluebonnet Drive, Ltd., et al. v. SprintCom, Inc., et al.)
Sherwood Forest Neighborhood
Successfully defended a residential neighborhood in the Memorial Area of Houston, Texas when would-be developers filed a lawsuit to invalidate the neighborhood’s deed restrictions so that they could develop a townhome community. During the pendency of the larger lawsuit, developers tried to pressure neighboring homeowner by filing a separate lawsuit claiming neighbor’s home violated setback and other deed restrictions. After substituting in as Co-Lead Trial Counsel for a neighbor, won a jury trial in which the developer’s claims were rejected and the jury found that the developer’s property was a nuisance. After Court entered a permanent injunction ordering the developer to clean up and maintain its property in accordance with neighborhood deed restrictions, all parties reached an amicable settlement that preserved the deed restrictions and compensated homeowner who had been sued individually. (Syma v. Sherwood Forest Homeowners Association; Glover v. Thomas)