"My job is communication. Good writing is more than correct grammar and punctuation. It requires cutting to the heart of the issue and persuasively articulating how the law and the facts support your position."
Litigation is sometimes a sprint, but more often a marathon. Lyndon Bittle begins every case prepared for the long haul, but is always alert for the fact or legal theory that can achieve the client’s ends as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. Over many years as a trial and appellate lawyer, and before that as a small business owner and manager, Lyndon has developed the keen eye and steady hand necessary to scale or circumvent seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Policyholder clients have for 25 years counted on Lyndon’s ability to handle their most complex coverage issues. He is a Fellow in the American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel (ACCEC), a past chair of the Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee of the ABA’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Sections (TIPS), and a Texas Super Lawyer in insurance coverage.
In the appellate realm, Lyndon is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 2016. Clients have trusted Lyndon with complex, high-profile matters, including shareholder disputes, insurance coverage, governmental immunity, divorce, and other issues.
Lyndon’s advice has also helped countless clients avoid potentially expensive litigation. Business clients are drawn to an attorney who has the experience and judgment to know when a courthouse fight is appropriate and when it’s not the best course.
For most of Lyndon’s clients, results are counted in dollars. But some cases are a matter of life or death. He is especially proud of leading a team of pro bono attorneys that helped secure the release of Manuel Velez, a man wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death, by convincing the trial and appellate courts that the client’s previous attorneys had not adequately investigated or presented evidence of innocence. The firm’s work in that case was chronicled in Texas Monthly and honored by an Exceptional Service Award from the ABA Death Penalty Representation Project and the ABA-TIPS Law in Public Service Honor Roll Award.
“What we did for Mr. Velez is exactly what we do for every client: whatever it takes to get the job done,” he said. ”We didn’t cut corners because it was pro bono. Ultimately, it was the same energy and attention to detail we give to clients with $10 million at stake. It’s that same passion.”
Lyndon has been named a Texas Super Lawyer in Insurance Coverage since 2012. In 2014, he was elected a Fellow in the American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel, an exclusive organization comprised of preeminent coverage counsel committed to improving the quality of insurance practice and promoting professionalism in the field. He was the 2012-13 chair of the ABA-TIPS Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee and remains active as a vice chair of that committee. He contributes Expert Commentary to the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI), and is a frequent speaker and writer on coverage issues. He is the lead editor (and author of four chapters) of a book published by the ABA in 2016 – Reasonable Expectations: Interpreting Insurance Policies in Common Law Jurisdictions.
He leads Carrington Coleman’s insurance practice, which encompasses policy review and claims-handling assistance as well as litigation involving declaratory judgment, contract, and bad faith claims.
Lyndon’s policyholder clients include manufacturers, real estate owners and developers, energy companies, governmental entities, bankruptcy trustees, insurance brokers, and individuals. Significant policyholder representations resulting in published opinions include:
Lyndon obtained summary judgment in federal court for a local chamber of commerce, requiring an insurer to defend it against personal injury claims arising out of a community bikethon. He served as lead counsel for a consumer product manufacturer in litigation with its primary insurer concerning the parties’ respective rights and obligations under a self-insured retention in connection with product liability claims pending in several states. He also represented that manufacturer in coverage and claims-handling disputes with an umbrella insurer.
He is currently representing a national construction materials company in litigation arising from contractual indemnity and insurance requirements.
Other representations in coverage matters outside of litigation include:
Lyndon is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 2016 for appellate practice.
He has presented briefs and oral argument to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the Texas Supreme Court, and appellate courts in Austin, Dallas, Eastland, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Waco.
Lyndon regularly assists other attorneys with preparation of or challenges to expert testimony, dispositive motions, jury submissions, and post-judgment matters. He handles appeals of final judgments, interlocutory appeals, and mandamus actions.
In addition to the cases cited in connection with his insurance coverage practice, Lyndon was lead counsel on appeal in two cases in which the Texas Supreme Court rejected claims of shareholder oppression: ARGO Data Resource Corp. v. Shagrithaya, 380 S.W.3d 249 (Tex. App.–Dallas 2012, pet. denied June 27, 2014); and Cardiac Perfusion Services, Inc. v. Hughes, 380 S.W.3d 198 (Tex. App.–Dallas 2012), rev’d, 2014 Tex. LEXIS 532 (June 27, 2014). He was lead briefing attorney for the appellant in RBC Capital Markets, LLC v. Highland Capital Management, L.P., 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 12364 (Dallas), reversing a $21 million judgment for breach of an alleged oral agreement to sell promissory notes. He is currently lead counsel on appeal of a divorce decree dividing a $25 million marital estate, and recently obtained reversal of a judgment awarding attorney’s fees under the Texas Theft Liability Act.
Lyndon previously obtained affirmance of summary judgment for an LLC against a former member and officer who sought to rescind a self-dealing transaction with the company on several grounds, including alleged securities fraud. Winn v. EPG Partners, LLC, 2010 Tex. App. LEXIS 10059 (Dallas, pet. denied).
He represented the City of Dallas in parallel state and federal appeals that clarified the complex relationships between federal, state, and municipal authorities controlling air traffic at Dallas Love Field Airport: American Airlines, Inc. v. DOT, 202 F.3d 788 (5th Cir. 2000); Legend Airlines, Inc. v. City of Fort Worth, 23 S.W.3d 83 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2000, no pet).
The foundation of Lyndon’s appellate and insurance coverage practice is business litigation. Lyndon represents businesses and individuals in lawsuits and arbitrations concerning product-manufacturing or construction-related liability, business governance and fiduciary obligations, disputes between shareholders, unfair competition, and other business disputes. He represents parties at virtually every stage of construction, including governmental entities, commercial real estate owners, developers, and contractors, a heavy construction material supplier, an international equipment manufacturer and power-plant construction company, a major telecommunications company, and a national plumbing manufacturer. Lyndon also has represented oil and gas clients, including exploration companies, operators, refineries, and property owners, in lawsuits involving insurance coverage as well as claims of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, securities fraud, and antitrust violations.
Lyndon represents local governments and officials in matters involving construction contracts, environmental regulation, construction zoning, intergovernmental relations, insurance coverage, aviation law, and sovereign or official immunity. For example, he recently represented a local municipality in a federal lawsuit in which the plaintiff alleged a zoning ordinance was invalid under Texas law and the U.S. Constitution. The court granted the City’s motion to dismiss, and the Fifth Circuit affirmed. Lyndon has also represented the City of Dallas in environmental litigation, including a successful post-judgment effort to modify a federal court injunction concerning two unregulated landfills near the Trinity River, which resulted in construction of the Trinity River Audubon Center.
Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Named in The Best Lawyers in America 2016 and 2017 for Appellate Practice
Fellow, American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel
Texas Super Lawyer, 2012-2017
ABA-TIPS Law in Public Service Honor Roll (August 2014)
ABA Death Penalty Representation Project Exceptional Service Award (September 2013)
AV Preeminent® rating from Martindale Hubbell (5.0 out of 5.0)
Lead editor and chapter author, REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS: INTERPRETING INSURANCE POLICIES IN COMMON LAW JURISDICTIONS (ABA-TIPS 2016).
Regular contributor to Sua Sponte, Carrington Coleman’s Dallas Appellate Blog.
Does Cooperation Mean Capitulation? IRMI Expert Commentary (December 2016).
Have You Been Stowerized? The Duty to Settle in Texas, Collin County Bar Ass’n Corporate Counsel Section (September 2016).
No Home Run If You Don’t Touch All the Bases: Collecting Judgments Against Nonsettling Insurers, IRMI Expert Commentary (August 2016).
Duty to Defend or Pay the Defense? It Matters, IRMI Expert Commentary (May 2016).
Co-author, Market Watch: Shifting Tides in Commercial Alternative Litigation Finance, Tex. Bar J. (November 2015).
Have You Been Stowerized? The Duty to Settle in Texas, Carrington Coleman Webinar (January 2016).
Co-author, Direct or Derivative Right? Exploring the Primary-Excess Insurer Relationship, ABA-TIPS The Brief (Fall 2015).
Interpreting Insurance Policies in Texas: It’s Not That Hard, State Bar Litigation Section The Advocate (Fall 2015).
Co-author (with Kelli Hinson), Texas Turns A Corner: Resolving Shareholder Disputes After Ritchie v. Rupe, 67:2 Baylor L. Rev. 339 (2015).
Real Estate Leasing: Contractual Indemnities, Additional Insured Endorsements, and Waivers of Subrogation, Strafford Webinar (June 2015).
Shifting Risk: Indemnity and Additional Insureds, Carrington Coleman Webinar (April 2015).
Co-author, Recent Developments in Insurance Coverage Law, 50 TIPS L. J. 439 (Winter 2015).
Panel Moderator, Excess and Primary Coverage in Construction Defect Claims, TIPS-ICLC Mid-Year Program (February 2015).
Co-author, Direct or Derivative Right? Exploring the Primary/Excess Insurer Relationship, TIPS-ICLC Mid-Year Program Paper (February 2015).
Program Co-chair, Third Annual Insurance in the Construction Industry; Author and Presenter, Insurers’ Rights and Responsibilities in Construction Claims, The Seminar Group (Dallas, October 2014).
Principal Exclusions – Personal and Advertising Injury (Coverage B), Chapter 10 of the ABA REFERENCE HANDBOOK ON THE COMMERCIAL GENERAL LIABILITY POLICY (2d ed. 2014).
Co-Author, Shifting Tides In Commercial Alternative Litigation Finance, TIPS-ICLC Newsletter (Summer 2014).
Texas Supreme Court Clarifies Contractual Exclusion, CCSB Capital Newsletter (Winter 2014).
Shareholder Oppression: Texas Supreme Court to Weigh in on National Debate, ABA Section of Litigation Commercial & Business Litigation Newsletter (February 2014).
Maintaining Confidentiality While Cooperating with an Insurer, Dallas Bar Association Headnotes (October 2013).
Evolving Rules Governing a Policyholder’s Tender of Defense, ABA-TIPS TortSource (Summer 2013).
Program Co-chair, Second Annual Insurance in the Construction Industry; Author and Presenter, Indemnity and Additional Insureds, The Seminar Group (Dallas, May 2013).
Co-author, Does the Punishment Fit the Crime? The Struggle to Craft Remedies in Shareholder Oppression Cases, Texas Bar CLE, Damages in Civil Litigation (March 2013).
Defining the Precise Point of Risk Transfer: Self-Insured Retentions and Large Deductibles, TIPS-ICLC Mid-Year Program Panelist (February 2013).
Making the Hand-Off: Transitioning from the SIR to Primary Coverage, TIPS-ICLC Mid-Year Program Paper (February 2013).
Challenging Expert Testimony on Appeal – Is It Too Late? North Dallas Bar Ass’n (March 2012).
Insurance and Indemnification of Directors and Officers: Avoiding Pitfalls 2011, Corp. Counsel Review (February 2012).
ABA HANDBOOK ON ADDITIONAL INSUREDS, Author of Chapters 2, 15A, 15C, 15G (2012).
Program Co-chair, Insurance in the Construction Industry, The Seminar Group (Dallas, 2012).
Recent Changes in Texas Insurance Law Affecting Businesses, Dallas Bar Ass’n North Dallas Clinic (December 2011).
An Overview of Insurance Coverage Issues in Construction Defect Disputes: Are You Covered?, National Business Institute Seminar, Construction Defect Litigation: From A to Z (October 2011).
Ethical Dilemmas in the Coverage Context, TIPS-ICLC Mid-Year Program Panel Moderator (February 2011).
Assisting Editor, ABA REFERENCE HANDBOOK ON THE COMPREHENSIVE GENERAL LIABILITY POLICY (2010).
A Practical Guide to Insurance and Indemnification of Directors and Officers, The University of Texas School of Law, 29th Annual Jay L. Westbrook Bankruptcy Conference (November 2010).
D&O Insurance When the Company Goes Broke, Dallas Bar Ass’n Headnotes (August 2010).
What Every Young Lawyer Should Know About Depositions, DAYL Lunch and Learn Panelist (May 2010).
Panel Moderator, Wrap It Up, I’ll Take It? Advantages and Risks of OCIP Policies, TIPS-ICLC Mid-Year Program (February 2010).
OCIP and Professional Liability: Where the Policyholder Is Not the Insured, TIPS-ICLC Mid-Year Program Paper (February 2010).
A Late Notice Must Be Prejudicial to Deny Coverage, Dallas Bar Ass’n Headnotes (January 2010).
Texas Supreme Court Contributes to the Evolution of the Notice-Prejudice Rule as Applied to Claims-Made Policies, TIPS-ICLC Newsletter (Summer 2009).
Expert Objections segment of Appellate Lawyers at Trial, Before You Think You Need Them, panel presentation to the Dallas Bar Ass’n Solo and Small Firm Section (July 2009) and Kaufman County Bar Ass’n (October 2009).
Effective Use of Witnesses and Exhibits, Institute for Paralegal Education Seminar, A Litigation Paralegal’s Guide to Case Management (June 2009).
From Dump to Diamond: History of the Trinity River Audubon Center, presentation at the Center (June 2009).
Tensions: Pleading for Liability and Pleading for Coverage, Dallas Bar Ass’n Headnotes (December 2008).
An Overview of Insurance Coverage Disputes, National Business Institute, Insurance Coverage Litigation Seminar (August 2008).
Co-Author, Are D&O Policies At Risk of Climate Change? TIPS-ICLC Newsletter (Summer 2008).
Severability Clauses: Protecting Policyholders from Rescission, Dallas Bar Ass’n Headnotes (December 2007).
Emerging Issues Raised by Derivative Shareholder Actions Involving Foreign Corporations Headquartered in Texas: Making Sense of the Interaction Between Texas Procedures and Substantive Law, 39 Tex. Tech. L. Rev. 1 (2006) (Awarded Outstanding Lead Article).
Protecting White Hats from the Sins of Dark Hats: The Effect of Severability Clauses on Policy Rescission and Coverage Exclusions, TIPS-ICLC Mid-Year Program (February 2007).
Contributing Editor, CGL Reporter, Int’l Risk Management Institute (2005-2009).
Punitive Damages and the Eighth Amendment: An Analytical Framework for Determining Excessiveness, 75 Cal. L. Rev. 1433 (1987).
U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
U.S. Court of Federal Claims
U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Federal Circuit
University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law
Senior Executive Editor, 1987-88, California Law Review
Associate Editor, 1986-87, Industrial Relations Law Journal
Order of the Coif
University of California, Santa Barbara
American Bar Association
Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section: Chair 2012-2013, Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee; Member, Ethics & Professionalism Standing Committee
ABA Section of Litigation
State Bar of Texas Sections: Appellate, Insurance, Litigation
Dallas Bar Association Sections: Tort & Insurance Practice, Appellate Law
Bar Association of the 5th Federal Circuit
American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel: Fellow
Texas Bar Foundation: Fellow
Dallas Bar Foundation: Fellow
Dallas Theater Center: Board of Trustees (2005-2011)