Daniel C. Bitting

Attorney / Shareholder

Dan’s practice focuses on complex business litigation, including fiduciary duty litigation, securities violations, professional malpractice claims, intellectual property disputes, shareholder claims, property disputes, and oil, gas and energy litigation. He handles cases with millions of dollars at stake yet also represents businesses and individuals in smaller disputes. He has decades of trial and appellate experience in both state and federal courts, including serving as lead counsel in jury trials and appellate arguments. Dan understands that the best resolution of many disputes is a satisfactory settlement, but he believes that the best settlements come from being fully prepared and able to try the case if necessary.

Articles and Presentations

  • “Privilege Issues for In-House Counsel,” PowerSchool legal team, February 2022
  • “Fiduciary Duty Claims Litigation: Demystifying Trends, Developments, and Legal Challenges,” The Knowledge Group, September 2021
  • “Ethics in Contracting: Intentional Drafting & Unintentional Creation,” 17th Annual Course – Advanced In-House Counsel, Business Law and Corporate Counsel Sections of the State Bar of Texas, August 2018.
  • “Recovery of Attorney’s Fees in Probate Litigation,” 32nd Annual Estate Planning & Probate Section CLE, Austin Bar Association, May 2018.
  • “Navigating the World of Probate and Fiduciary Litigation,” Civil Litigation Section of the Austin Bar Association, May 2018.
  • “The Texas Oil and Gas Industry: Its Present Shape and Future Outlook” – Panel Moderator, Texas Aggie Bar Association Annual Conference, March 2018.
  • “Drafting Wills and Trusts for Efficient Administration” – Panel Moderator, Estate Planning, Guardianship and Elder Law Conference, August 2017.
  • “Liability Risks in Trust and Estate Planning and Administration” – Annual Estate Planning and Probate Section CLE, Austin Bar Association, May 2017.
  • “Litigation Strategies for In-House Counsel,” Corporate Counsel Review—volume XXXVI – May 2017, Number 1.
  • “Litigation 101: You’ve Been Sued. Now What?” – In-House Counsel 101, August 10, 2016 San Antonio, TX
  • “Ethical Issues That Can Get Lawyers Sued” – 2016 Hays County Bench Bar Conference
  • “Common Ethical Problems That Can Get lawyers Sued” – 11th Annual Conference of the Texas Aggie Bar Association, March 2010
  • “So You’ve Been Sued: What Now?” – 38th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute, Houston, April 7-8, 2016 and Dallas, May 5, 2016
  • Ethical Issues for the Non-Litigator in Litigation, 16th Annual Conference of the Texas Aggie Bar Association, March 7, 2015.
  • Guest Lecturer on Computer Evidence in Litigation, Elements of Computing in Society class at the University of Texas at Austin, 2014 – 2015.

Representative Matters

COMMERCIAL LITIGATION

  • As lead counsel, prevailed in arbitration over departing law firm shareholder’s entitlement to additional compensation.
  • As lead counsel, obtained successful settlement of founder and former officer’s indemnification claim against high tech company.
  • Won summary judgment on interpretation of partnership agreement in law firm divorce resulting in Dan’s client receiving all accounts receivables.
  • Negotiated settlement of multi-million dollar fraud and breach of contract claims arising out of supply contract dispute.
  • Defeated claims for lost profits and other consequential damages in arbitration over allegedly defective software and hardware, leading to favorable settlement.
  • Obtained temporary injunction and negotiated settlement of dispute over ownership of intellectual property in technology company.
  • Negotiated resolutions of numerous “business divorces.”
  • Negotiated successful settlement in partnership dispute.
  • Negotiated settlements of numerous contract disputes, both before and after litigation.

OIL AND GAS AND ENERGY LITIGATION

  • As lead counsel on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, obtained reversal of the trial court’s judgment and rendition of judgment in favor of Dan’s client on the interpretation of an area of mutual interest agreement. The judgment allowed client to retain valuable oil and gas interests in the prolific DuBose field.
  • Represented the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (“ERCOT”) in one of the first protocol disputes after ERCOT moved into competitive market.
  • As lead counsel prevailed in jury trial on property remediation claims against oil and gas lessee.
  • As lead counsel obtained dismissal of claims for violation of Safe Drinking Water Act and claims under orphan well regulations against oil and gas company.
  • Represented lessor in suit for underpayment of royalties, including royalties on carbon dioxide.
  • Represented lessee in defending lease termination claims brought by top lease holder.
  • Represented various operators in defending illegal drainage suits.
  • Represented operator in suit for well damage.
  • Represented lessee in suit for royalty underpayment and lease termination.
  • Represented lessee in suit for failure to protect against drainage and failure to develop.
  • Represented non-operating working interest owner in suit under gas balancing agreement.
  • Represented various lessees in suits for underpayment of royalties.
  • Represented plaintiff in successful suit for theft of oil production.
  • Represented pipeline in litigation with other pipeline over gas sales contract.
  • Represented operator/seller in suits against pipeline/buyer for breaches of “take or pay” gas purchase contracts.
  • Assisted in representation of plaintiff-operator in winning jury trial on illegal drainage and damages claims.

FIDUCIARY DUTY AND PROFESSIONAL MALPRACTICE LITIGATION

  • As lead counsel won judgment removing executor, based on findings of misappropriation of fiduciary property.
  • Negotiated successful settlement for spouse in contentious guardianship estate.
  • Won judgment against breach of fiduciary duty claims against executor and obtained affirmance on appeal.
  • Won judgment that trustee breached its fiduciary duties as a matter of law.
  • Obtained defense judgment for attorney against securities fraud and legal malpractice claims.
  • Successfully defended fiduciary duty, conspiracy, deceptive trade practices and fraud claims arising from survival and wrongful death settlements.
  • Defended and negotiated settlement of securities fraud class action.
  • As lead counsel won multiple summary judgments against medical malpractice claims against county doctor.
  • As lead counsel obtained defense judgment for attorney against securities fraud and legal malpractice claims.
  • As lead counsel successfully defended fiduciary duty, conspiracy, deceptive trade practices and fraud claims arising from survival and wrongful death settlements.
  • As lead counsel won defense judgment on legal malpractice claims arising out of divorce.
  • Won jury trial in defense of legal malpractice claims.
  • As lead counsel won bench trial in defense of medical malpractice claims against county doctor.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LITIGATION

  • Obtained favorable settlement of patent infringement and Lanham Act claims through pre-suit mediation.
  • Negotiated settlement of trade secret dispute.
  • Obtained temporary injunction and negotiated settlement of dispute over ownership of intellectual property in technology company.
  • Tried trademark ownership claim to jury.

REAL ESTATE LITIGATION

  • As lead counsel won jury trial in property rights dispute, including award of all attorneys’ fees requested for client.
  • As lead counsel negotiated settlement of land use dispute involving Lake Travis Marina.
  • As lead counsel won lawsuit over land use restrictions, allowing development of marina on Lake Travis and won subsequent appeal.

EMPLOYMENT LITIGATION

  • Won jury trial in defense of sex discrimination claims.
  • Won defense judgment in employee’s slander case against employer.
  • Negotiated severance package for manager accused of sexual harassment.
  • Defended sexual harassment suits.

Practice Areas

Commercial Litigation

Admitted to Practice

States:
State Bar of Texas
United States District Courts:
Eastern District of Texas
Northern District of Texas
Southern District of Texas
Western District of Texas
United States Courts of Appeals:
Fifth and Federal Circuits
Other Admissions:
United States Supreme Court

Education

Texas A & M University, B.A., summa cum laude, 1985
University of Texas School of Law, J.D. with high honors, 1988

Recognition, Honors, and Achievements

Selected for The Best Lawyers in America® in Commercial Litigation, Litigation-Trusts an Estates, by BL Rankings, 2023-2024
Order of the Coif
Chancellor
West Publishing Award for highest average in class, 1988
Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship, 1985-86
Texas Law Review, 1986-88

Professional Associations & Memberships

Member, Litigation Section, State Bar of Texas
Member, Austin Bar Association
Member, Senior Aggie Leadership Council
Director, Texas Aggie Bar Association