Michael L. Burnett focuses his practice on commercial litigation as well as all aspects of construction law. His has a concentration in the representation of owners, general contractors, subcontractors and others in the construction industry. He assists clients through all stages of construction projects, including preparing and negotiating construction contracts, advising owners and contractors during the project so as to avoid and resolve disputes during projects, and litigating disputes subsequent to project completion. Michael has tried lawsuits to verdict in state and federal courts, both in Texas and outside of the state. In addition, he has tried a number of domestic and international arbitrations.
Areas of Concentration
· Commercial litigation
· Construction litigation
Professional & Community Involvement
· Advisory Board Member, Institute of Transnational Arbitration
· Member, American Bar Association
· Member, Houston Bar Association
· Member, London Court of International Arbitration
· Member, State Bar of Texas, Construction Section
Awards & Recognition
· Listed, The Best Lawyers in America, Construction Law, 2014
· Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Texas Super Lawyers, 2013
· Listed, The Legal 500 United States, 2011-2012
· Rated, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5
· Represented EPC contractor in dispute with owner regarding delay and extra work claims regarding two power plants located in former Soviet Union. The contract in dispute involved a contract price in excess of €250 million. After five weeks of arbitration hearings, obtained a net damages award for client in excess of €11 million. Following a hearing on costs, obtained an award in favor of client for approximately €3.83 million plus £189,000.
· Represented a US company against Spanish company in ICC arbitration involving the construction and application of a number of agreements related to a large EPC project in Latin America. The arbitration was tried in 2011. Obtained an award voiding an agreement that otherwise would have divested the client of its interest in a company and its interest in a large EPC project in Latin America, while still exposing the client to very large contingent liabilities. The award also rejected the respondent's claim that the client was in breach for having failed to post significant performance bonds.
· Represented technology owner in action involving contract and fraud claims by transferee under a technology transfer agreement and breach of contract claims under a licensing agreement for a separate technology. English and Indian law governed various claims. Effectively stayed district court action (in which claimant sought $580 million) and compelled arbitration of claims against all parties (including non-signatories) before the ICC. Obtained a take-nothing award as against transferee's claims, and obtained an approximately $2.5 million affirmative award against transferee.
· Represented EPC client in defense of approximately $60 million of claims by owner against client regarding a power plant designed and supplied by the client. Contract involved a contract price in excess of $55 million. Obtained release of those claims following week long mediation with no payment being made by client.
· Represented Chilean company/owner against claims for breach of contract and for payment of additional contractor fee asserted by general contractor regarding construction of chemical production facility. Obtained a take-nothing award in favor of client.
· Represented Chilean company/owner of chemical production facility against claims asserted for breach of operating agreement by operator. Arbitrators' award rejected the asserted claims.
Domestic Arbitrations Tried to Award:
· Represented general contractor and MEP subcontractor in defense of approximately $1.5 million in breach of contract and wrongful termination claims brought by insulation subcontractor. Obtained an award dismissing the subcontractor's claim and obtained an affirmative judgment on behalf of client for approximately $600,000.
· Represented EPC contractor against breach of contract, acceleration, fraud and other claims by erection subcontractor. Asserted counterclaim for breach of contract. Obtained a $5.5 million award on behalf of EPC contractor. Defended appeal/attempt to vacate award, and the award was upheld
· Represented general contractor in arbitration, pursuing claims against municipality pursuing claims for out of scope work. Obtained affirmative award for client.
State and Federal Trials to Verdict/Judgment:
· Represented Program Managing Contractor in several week trial (Colorado State district court) against approximately $13 million in breach of contract and differing site conditions claims brought by demolition/excavation subcontractor. Obtained favorable judgment for client including a take-nothing judgment dismissing subcontractor's $11 million differing site conditions claim. Retried case for two weeks following remand from Colorado Court of Appeals after which the trial court issued a take nothing judgment for client rejecting all of the subcontractor's claims.
· Represented Construction Manager in 9 day trial with excavation subcontractor and numerous lower tier subcontractors and suppliers. Obtained summary judgments dismissing trust fund and payment bond claims in advance of trial, and obtained affirmative verdict and judgment on contract claims.
· Represented owner in ten day federal court trial against general contractor's claims in excess of $40 million relating to construction of petrochemical facility. Disputes involved claims for breach of contract and fraud. Resolved the matter during appeal process.
· Represented contractor in drafting and negotiating a $53 million contract for gas processing plant. Has represented owners and contractors in negotiating contracts for various types of facilities (pipeline projects, wind farms, various petrochemical/aromatics related units/projects) located in the United States and abroad.