Administrative & Regulatory Litigation
GDHM’s attorneys represent clients from a variety of industries
in cutting-edge legal issues at the PUC, TCEQ, TDI, TABC, SOAH,
other state and federal agencies, and the courts.
GDHM’s attorneys represent clients in cutting-edge legal issues in front of regulators at the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC), the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), Texas Railroad Commission (RRC), State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH), other state and federal agencies, and the courts. Our lawyers represent and advise Texas and national clients from a variety of business sectors (including electric utility, water utility, homeowners insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, oil & gas, alcoholic beverage) in complex transactions, traditional litigation and regulatory matters including rate regulation, Certificates of Convenience and Necessity (CCN), open records matters, environmental issues, and licensing, in proceedings that include rulemakings, applications, declaratory relief, enforcement, and compliance issues.
Being located in Austin allows our attorneys to facilitate access to state regulators headquartered here. GDHM attorneys also appear on behalf of clients in matters in district and appellate courts across the State, including the Texas Supreme Court. Our lawyers also file amicus curiae briefs on behalf of clients on regulatory issues in many of these forums.
Representative matters include:
- Representing electric and water utilities at the PUC in a variety of rate proceedings;
- Representing electric utilities at the PUC in numerous applications and approvals for CCNs to construct electric transmission lines and generation facilities;
- Representing utilities in a variety of rulemakings at the PUC;
Representing a municipal water utility in CCN proceedings and wholesale water disputes;
- Acting as outside general counsel for a water supply corporation and a ground water district;
- Representing mineral and royalty owners in the courts. See e.g. Hysaw v. Dawkins, 483 S.W.3d 1 (Tex. Jan. 29, 2016); Adams v. Murphy Exploration & Prod. Co., ___ S.W.3d ___ (Tex. App.—San Antonio June 15, 2016, no pet. h.)
- Advising and representing an oil and gas producer in negotiating an agreement to construct a privately owned transmission line;
Representing entities before SOAH in matters relating to TABC regulation and enforcement;
- Counseling alcoholic beverage manufacturers, retailers, and intellectual property owners, representing them in enforcement matters at SOAH, and representing them in in state and federal court in challenges to the proper scope and constitutionality of TABC regulation;
- Representing the state’s largest workers’ compensation insurer in a wide array of other public policy litigation;
- Representing the nation’s largest homeowners’ insurer in billion dollar rate regulatory litigation;
- Representing clients in open records disputes;
- Representing landowners in cleanups pursuant to TCEQ and RRC requirements; and
- Representing an oil and gas company in obtaining drilling permits and regulatory approvals from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the RRC for the development of oil and gas wells in east Texas.
The firm’s attorneys frequently represent clients at the PUC and SOAH, as well as advise and assist clients with matters at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Our attorneys have represented clients in different sectors of the electric industry in Texas – from fully integrated utilities in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), to transmission and distribution utilities, wholesale power generators and retail electric providers within ERCOT. This cross-market perspective makes the firm’s attorneys uniquely situated to effectively represent clients in the electric industry.
Our lawyers have handled a variety of cases for electric utilities including: transmission line CCN applications, generation CCN applications, base rate proceedings, fuel reconciliation proceedings, complaint dockets, rulemakings, and energy efficiency proceedings.
Oil & Gas:
Our attorneys regularly represent independent energy companies and families with productive oil and gas acreage, handling leasing, production, regulation, environmental issues, taxation, and pipeline and other transportation. The firm has been involved in many significant decisions on oil and gas law. See e.g. Hysaw v. Dawkins, 483 S.W.3d 1 (Tex. Jan. 29, 2016); Adams v. Murphy Exploration & Prod. Co., ___ S.W.3d ___ (Tex. App.—San Antonio June 15, 2016, no pet. h.)
Environment and Natural Resources:
GDHM attorneys help clients manage or allocate environmental risk, in permitting, compliance, cleanup or contractual arrangements. The firm frequently assists clients seeking clearance from the Voluntary Cleanup Program or Innocent Owner Program, compliance with the Endangered Species Act, and assists clients with environmental aspects, including diligence issues, related to sales, leases and acquisitions. Our lawyers have also handled numerous lawsuits involving interests in natural resources and has represented clients before the RRC and TCEQ.
GDHM lawyers are active in a variety of water litigation, and regularly represents clients, including utilities and ground water districts, on issues of water rights, utility service areas, wholesale water disputes, water and sewer rate issues, and infrastructure development. The firm also acts as outside general counsel to a ground water district and water supply corporation.
GDHM attorneys represent a major workers’ compensation carrier in a wide array of medical cost control, exclusive remedy, abolishing the bad-faith cause of action in workers’ compensation, and other public policy litigation in the Texas intermediate appellate courts and the Texas Supreme Court. See, e.g., Texas Mutual Ins. Co. v. Ruttiger, 381 S.W.3d 430 (Tex. 2012); Texas Mutual Ins. Co. v. Vista Med. Ctr. Hosp., 275 S.W.3d 538 (Tex. App. – Austin, Nov. 13, 2008, pet. denied).
Our lawyers have also represented the nation’s largest home owner’s insurance carrier in rate regulation cases in front of the TDI and the courts. See, e.g. Geeslin v. State Farm Lloyds, 255 S.W.3d 786 (Tex. App. – Austin 2008, no pet.); State Farm Lloyds v. Geeslin, 267 S.W.3d 438 (Tex. App. – Austin 2008, no pet.); Tex. Dep’t of Ins. v. State Farm Lloyds, 260, S.W.3d 233 (Tex. App. – Austin 2008, no pet.)
Additionally, GDHM attorneys are active both in direct litigation and in representing amici in the courts regarding coverage under the workers’ compensation act, the extent to which the workers’ compensation act precludes other causes of action, and the subrogation rights of carriers under the act. See, e.g., State Office of Risk Management v. Carty, 436 S.W.3d 298 (Tex. 2014) (amicus); Port Elevator-Brownsville v. Casados, 358 S.W.3d 238 (Tex. 2012).