Courtney E. Ervin

Partner

Her response is immediate. When you ask Courtney Ervin to describe herself as a lawyer, she says, “I’m a problem-solver.” While it may be true that she is also one of the top up-and-coming trial lawyers in Texas, she finds immense satisfaction when she uses her business acumen to defuse a dispute before it heads to the courtroom, when possible.

“Look, I’m not afraid of a good fight,” says Ervin. “That’s an essential part of a trial lawyer’s make-up. However, I never forget that my clients only call me when they have a problem, which means they’d rather never have to call me. So when they do, it’s my responsibility to find quick and efficient solutions so they can get back to business with the least amount of disruption.”

Ms. Ervin literally grew up in business; her father spent his entire career in the energy industry - as a business executive at a major exploration and production company - based in Houston. Her familiarity and nuanced understanding of complex energy-related issues has made her invaluable in solving disputes within the oil and gas industry. She takes particular pride in the fact that she has worked on important, cutting-edge energy matters involving first-of-its kind business disputes.

Her focus is on high-stakes commercial litigation in state and federal court and in arbitration. While many of her clients are in the energy industry, Ms. Ervin regularly represents those involved in other businesses including insurance, real estate, private equity and information technology. Also, she has a wealth of experience involving insurance coverage litigation.

While she is passionate about serving her clients and eschews personal accolades, she is piling up the honors. Ms. Ervin was profiled as one of the leading Energy Litigation lawyers in the U.S. in 2016 by The Legal 500 and has repeatedly earned a place on the Texas Rising Stars list recognizing up-and-coming lawyers. She earned her law degree from the University of Houston Law Center, magna cum laude, and her bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University. Ms. Ervin is a member of the State Bar of Texas, Houston Bar Association and the Texas Bar Foundation.

Practice Areas/Industries:

  • Biofuels
  • Energy
  • Insurance
  • Oil and gas
  • Private equity
  • Real estate
  • Retail
  • Shareholder disputes

Education

  • JD, 2005, magna cum laude, University of Houston Law Center, Houston Law Review, Publications Editor, Order of the Coif, Order of The Barons
  • BS Psychology, 2000, Honors, Colorado State University

Admissions

  • Texas State Bar (2005)
  • United States Supreme Court
  • US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • US District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, Southern and Western Districts of Texas
  • US District Court for the District of North Dakota

Accomplishments/Honors

  • Texas Rising Star, Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters (published Texas Monthly) (2015-2018)
  • HBA Presidents Award (2017)
  • Top Lawyer in Houston, Houstonia Magazine (2016)
  • Profiled as a Leading Energy Litigation Lawyer, The US Legal 500 (2016)

Professional Associations

  • Houston Bar Association
    • CLE Online Videos Chair (2017-2018)
    • CLE Institutes Co-Chair (2016-2017)
    • Gender Fairness Committee, Member (2012-2014)
    • Professionalism Committee, Member (2012-2013)
  • UH Law Center Gala, Host Committee (2017-2018)
  • UH Law Center 100% Challenge, Co-Chair (2017)
  • The Periwinkle Foundation, Irom Sommelier, Wine Case Chair (2014-present)
  • Awty International School Annual Fund, Member (2013-2016)
  • Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Women's Energy Network, Member
  • United Way Women's Initiative, Member

Representative Cases/Clients

Energy Litigation

  • Trial counsel for an independent exploration and production company in a surface use dispute in district court in Upton and Midland Counties concerning claims of breach of contract, excessive use, trespass and conversion regarding the operator’s right to use the surface and water impacting over half of the client’s oil and gas operations.
  • Co-lead counsel for an independent production company in a seven-figure dispute alleging fraud and breach of a joint operating agreement arising out joint interest billings for oil and gas operations, including saltwater disposal and overhead.
  • Lead counsel for a private equity backed power company in a dispute concerning the interpretation of an operations and maintenance agreement. The three-person arbitration panel unanimously granted summary judgment in favor of Courtney’s client’s interpretation of the agreement, resulting in over $100 million in cost savings.
  • Co-lead counsel for three major international oil and gas exploration companies in an eight-figure dispute concerning the design and fabrication of a state of the art offshore production platform in the Gulf of Mexico. After a full hearing on the merits, the arbitration tribunal unanimously awarded a take-nothing judgment in favor of Courtney's clients.
  • Represented an oil and gas company in a dispute pending in Harris County, Texas concerning a non-working interest owners’ alleged right to pay decks and well runs on producing properties in the Texas Panhandle.
  • Trial counsel for a private equity company, including its directors, officers and a portfolio company, in a breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference and breach of contract dispute concerning the acquisition of oil and gas leases. Obtained a nuisance-value settlement on the eve of arbitration.

Insurance

  • Represented a property and casualty insurer regarding the assignability of insurance policies under an asset purchase agreement.
  • Trial and appellate counsel for a property and casualty insurer in a multimillion-dollar bad faith and coverage dispute regarding defense and indemnity costs incurred in connection with remediating an EPA Superfund site. The case proceeded in federal court in the Southern District of Texas, the Fifth Circuit and in the Texas Supreme Court.
  • Represented a property and casualty insurer in a dispute with co-insurers regarding contribution and subrogation rights relating to an underlying asbestos bodily injury suit.

Shareholder Litigation

  • Represented an exploration and production MLP in a shareholder dispute in Delaware Chancery Court seeking to unwind a multi-million-dollar transaction including claims for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of the unitholder agreement.
  • Represented a methanol company in Delaware Chancery Court regarding claims for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of an oral shareholder agreement.

Other Litigation

  • Lead counsel for an above-ground tank company in a construction dispute alleging faulty welding and asserting claims of subrogation, breach of warranty and breach of contract. Suit was pending in federal court in the Eastern and Middle Districts of Louisiana.
  • Represented a medical equipment company regarding the termination of an exclusive licensing agreement in an adversary proceeding before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas.
  • Trial counsel for a real-estate developer in nuisance lawsuit complaining about the construction of a high-rise apartment complex in Harris County District Court. After defeating plaintiffs’ request for temporary injunction, plaintiff stopped pursuing the lawsuit.

Publications/Speaking Engagements

Publications:

  • Don’t Lose Your Privilege: Best Practices for the In-House Lawyer, Straightline (Fall 2017)
  • Arbitrator’s Manifest Disregard of the Law is No Basis for Vacating Arbitration Award – So Rules the Supreme Court of Texas, Client Alert (June 2016)
  • Guarding the Company Wallet: Trends in Insurance Law, Straightline(October 2015)
  • Texas Supreme Court Expands “Reasonable Certainty” Requirement for Damages, Client Alert (May 20, 2015)
  • Omnicare Clarifies Standards for Liability for Statements of Opinion Under Section 11, Client Alert (March 26, 2015)
  • Texas High Court Extends Limitations Period for Unpaid Partnership Liabilities, Client Alert (March 10, 2015)
  • “Right to Occupy” Surface Estate Bars Coverage for Property Damage,American Bar Association (November 2014)
  • Best Practices: HBA Committee Promotes Gender Fairness,The Houston Lawyer (July 2013)
  • "I’m All Verklempt!" (pdf) Presented at the UT CLE Conference on State and Federal Appeals (June 2, 2006)

Speaking Engagements:

  • Don’t Lose Your Privilege! Best Practices for In-House Counsel, Webinar (November 2016)
  • Drafting Contracts From A Litigator’s Perspective, Association of Corporate Counsel (August 2016)
  • The Co-Insurer’s Wild West: Allocation and Subrogation Rights Under Texas Law, Client Presentation (March 2016)
  • Guarding The Company Wallet: Trends In Insurance Law, Client Event (October 2015)

Email
(713) 547-9163
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