Lyndon F. Bittle
Lyndon Bittle is a trial and appellate lawyer with a strong track record in insurance coverage and other business disputes. He is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has an AV Preeminent® rating from Martindale Hubbell (5.0 out of 5.0).
Mr. Bittle has been named a Texas “Super Lawyer” in Insurance Coverage, and is the 2012-13 Chair of the Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section. He leads Carrington Coleman’s insurance practice, which encompasses policy review and claims-handling assistance as well as litigation matters involving declaratory judgment, contract, and bad faith claims. Lyndon’s policyholder clients include manufacturers, real estate owners and developers, energy companies, governmental entities, insurance brokers, and individuals.
Significant policyholder representations resulting in published opinions include:
- Evanston Ins. Co. v. Keeway America, LLC, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66072 (N.D. Texas) (dismissing insurer’s declaratory action for failure to plead facts indicating any prejudice caused by alleged late notice on claims-made policy)
- Kirby Co. v. Hartford Cas. Ins. Co., 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31675 (N.D. Tex.) (insurer’s unreasonable delay in tendering defense breached policy and triggered additional insured’s right to select and control independent counsel)
- Mid-Continent Cas. Co. v. Safe Tire Disp. Co., 16 S.W.3d 418 (Tex. App.—Waco 2000, pet. denied) (pollution exclusion did not bar coverage of damage caused by fire at tire recycling plant)
- Int’l Ins. Co. v. Dresser Indus., Inc., 841 S.W.2d 437 (Tex. App.—Dallas 1992, writ denied) (manufacturer that retained control of liability litigation did not owe settlement obligation to excess insurer)
Mr. Bittle is currently representing an energy company in litigation with its general liability insurer concerning the duties to defend and indemnify against personal injury claims asserted in Oklahoma. 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. Other recent representations in coverage matters that did not result in litigation include:
- Advising national finance company concerning insurance coverage issues in connection with a wrongful death claim arising out of an attempted repossession.
- Advising national construction company presented with a demand for defense and indemnification against personal injury claim.
- Advised multiple commercial property and business owners in connection with insurance claims for losses incurred as a result of vandalism, fire, windstorm, hail, and other hazards.
- Advised governmental entity concerning the rights and obligations of the parties under an OCIP (Owner Controlled Insurance Program) developed in conjunction with a major construction project involving multiple design professionals and construction contractors.
- Advised real estate owner and developer concerning contract, indemnity, coverage, and subrogation issues arising in connection with Builders Risk policies following destruction by fire of an apartment complex shortly before construction was completed, and represented the company in successful negotiations with insurers and other parties to resolve claims without litigation. Also represented developer in connection with general liability policies triggered by a personal injury lawsuit.
- Advised officers and directors of several companies concerning scope and effect of D&O policies in connection with securities actions, shareholder derivative suits, and bankruptcy proceedings.
- Provided written opinion letter to governmental construction contractor analyzing asserted indemnity obligations and coverage issues arising from personal injuries alleged by subcontractor’s employee.
As noted above, Mr. Bittle is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law. He has presented briefs and oral argument to the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Texas Supreme Court, and intermediate appellate courts in Austin, Dallas, Eastland, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Waco. In addition to the cases cited in the paragraph describing his insurance coverage practice, he has played a leading role in several other significant appeals, including the Dallas Court of Appeals’ recent opinion in ARGO Data Resource Corp. v. Shagrithaya, 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 7272 (reversing and rendering judgment for defendants in shareholder oppression case involving $85 million dividend). He is currently lead counsel on another appeal of a shareholder oppression judgment before the Texas Supreme Court. In another case, Lyndon successfully 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. See Winn v. EPG Partners, LLC, 2010 Tex. App. LEXIS 10059 (Dallas, pet. denied). He previously 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.)
Mr. Bittle regularly assists other attorneys with preparation of or challenges to expert testimony, dispositive motions, jury submissions, and appeals. In addition to appeals of final judgments, he also handles interlocutory appeals and mandamus actions.
Mr. Bittle represents businesses and individuals in lawsuits and arbitrations concerning business governance and fiduciary obligations, claims of shareholder oppression, unfair competition, product manufacturing or construction-related liability, and other business disputes. On many of the appellate matters described above, he also represented the clients in the trial court.
Mr. Bittle has also represented local governments and officials in matters involving aviation law, environmental regulation, intergovernmental relations, insurance coverage, and sovereign or official immunity. For example, in addition to the Love Field litigation described above, he represented the City of Dallas in its successful post-judgment effort to modify a federal court injunction concerning two unregulated landfills near the Trinity River, which ultimately resulted in construction of the new Trinity River Audubon Center.
In addition to business litigation and appeals, Lyndon is proud of his pro bono representation of individuals unable to afford a lawyer. Most significantly,he is leading a team of lawyers presenting an application for writ of habeas corpus in Texas state court on behalf of an innocent man wrongfully convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. [Click here for the full story from Texas Monthly]. Those efforts resulted in the district court's recommendation that our client receive a new trial because of the ineffective representation of his previous lawyers. Our work on behalf of this client was recognized by the Exceptional Service Award given by the ABA’s Death Penalty Representation Project in September 2013. Other pro bono representations come from federal court appointments through the Civil Rights Panel of the Northern District of Texas.
Before embarking on his legal career, Lyndon owned and managed small businesses, including Sacramento California’s first natural food restaurant.