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Cathy Altman


"The best advice I ever received from a client was to appreciate the importance of getting to know a client’s business and its people. When I begin work on a case, it’s the first thing I do."

Cathy Altman knows that business disputes, like a game of chess, require deliberate moves with an eye to the end game. That’s why she always studies the entire board, looking several moves ahead in order to anticipate problems and keep the game in front of her. To accomplish that, Cathy brings an uncanny ability to combine the strategic with the practical. Her experience in construction and real estate disputes brings another dimension to clients in those industries.

A fifth-generation farmer, she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty, to dig in, go onsite, and work through what may seem to be the smallest details of complicated cases. If there’s one key thing that will move the case toward resolution, she’ll often spot it. Whether a controversy arises out of contract disputes, project performance, or business torts, clients trust Cathy to guide them through the project, across discovery, and to the trial or arbitration hearing.

Cathy is hands-on with business issues in the real world, serving on boards that promote economic development in her home town of Midlothian and elsewhere in North Texas, as well as in a leadership position with a national construction law organization. She’ll tell you that being connected to the business community and to industry leaders makes her a better attorney. It helps her grasp what businesses want and need.

In a similar way, her dedication to each case can probably be attributed to her extraordinary empathy for her clients and understanding of their issues. For Cathy, when talking about clients, it’s a matter of “us,” not “them.” She really does feel their pain—and enjoys making it go away.

Construction Experience

Successfully resolved dispute relating to cost over-runs and delay issues relating to road project.

Represented Dallas County in connection with delay claims resolution for jail project

Lead counsel in complex construction disputes involving water treatment plants, airport facilities, energy projects, and public projects.

Represented major airline in various contract and construction disputes involving fuel farms.

Regularly represent manufacturer and installer of baggage handling systems in construction and payment disputes.

Represented a large international client defending over $80 million in claims brought by a foreign governmental entity arising from a gas turbine failure. The case involved protracted jurisdictional challenges and international discovery in three countries over several years.

Represented the owner in arbitration and lawsuits arising out of design and construction defects, breach of warranties, schedule delays and cost overruns encountered in an $80 million airport project in New York.

Represented the owner of a $50 million performing arts center in a lawsuit against the architect for errors and omissions and schedule delays. Represented a specialty supplier/subcontractor in various projects including water treatment facilities, hospitals, airports, and other government buildings.

Represented the owner of a department store damaged by soil movement in a complex case involving claims against the geotechnical engineer, the civil engineers, and the general contractor.

Represented a general contractor in a lawsuit filed by a condominium developer alleging schedule delays and warranty claims relating to water infiltration and other alleged construction defects.

Represented a restaurant equipment supplier in various matters, including a dispute regarding cost overruns and delays in connection with a large commercial kitchen facility. Represented an MEP subcontractor in multiple lawsuits involving public and private owners, general contractors and other trades.

Business Litigation Experience

Lead appellate lawyer on a successful reversal of class certification in an oil & gas matter.

Representative clients include large insurance brokerage firms, reinsurers, equipment and device manufacturers, and others.

Represented a regional hospital system in a complex antitrust lawsuit brought against a group of specialty physicians and its affiliated entities.

Represented an investment company in $50 million dispute arising out of the financing and acquisition of three high-rise office towers in New Orleans. The dispute involved litigation in two states and included numerous parties and counterclaims relating to the financing and performance of dozens of other commercial investments.

Represented an investor in litigation regarding enforceability of excess tax payment agreements involving numerous high-rise office towers in Las Colinas.

Represented a national insurance company in a multi-week arbitration against a hospital involving failure to transfer an HMO license and reimbursement of insurance proceeds. Represented a Delaware limited liability company in a multi-week AAA arbitration arising out of a dispute with a former partner and claims for dissolution.

Represented a lender in federal court and AAA arbitration proceedings involving breach of contract and tortuous interference claims arising out of a tri-party agreement for interim and permanent financing for commercial project.

Represented the former officers and directors of a dot.com in defense of claims for breach of fiduciary duty brought in an adversary proceeding by a Chapter 7 trustee.

Experience counseling and litigating on behalf of clients seeking to enforce or to defend against enforcement of covenants not to compete and nondisclosure agreements.

Represented owner of hotel properties in suits for accounting and breach of fiduciary duty.

Represented manufacturer in contract and product liability dispute involving specialized medical equipment.

Represented various clients defending and enforcing covenants not to compete and trade secret disputes.

Honors and Distinctions

National Diversity Council Award, Dallas Top Women in Legal, 2019

D Magazine Best Lawyers in Dallas, 2019

Board Certified in Construction Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, 2017

D Magazine Best Lawyers in Dallas, 2015, 2017 and 2018, Construction Litigation

D Magazine Best Lawyers in Dallas, 2016, Business Litigation

Best Lawyers in America, 2013-2021, Construction Litigation

Named to the Texas Super Lawyers list, as published in Texas Monthly magazine, 2014-2020

Texas Super Lawyers – Rising Stars, 2005-2010, Thomson Reuters


Author, A Sea-change for Texas Construction Projects, Carrington Coleman Capital Newsletter, 2021 Issue Three – Legislative Update Issue (August 2021).

Co-Editor, Construction Trial Desk Book, ABA Forum on Construction Law (September 2021).

Co-Author, Candidates Represent Very Different Options for Construction Industry, Texas Lawyer (November 2020).

Author, Attracting the Best Design and Construction Firms in a Construction Boom, Carrington Coleman Capital Newsletter (2019 Real Estate and Construction Issue).

Co-Author of chapter on Miscellaneous Provisions in the ABA book The 2017 A201 Deskbook.

Co-Author of chapter on Achievable Energy Performance in the ABA book Green Building and the Construction Lawyer.

Author, Texas Supreme Court Rules That Some Common Law Exceptions Apply to the “No Damages for Delay” Clause in your Construction Contract, Carrington Coleman Capital Newsletter (2014 Issue Three).

Author, Common Law Exceptions May Not Apply to the “No Damages for Delay” Clause in your Construction Contract, Carrington Coleman Capital Newsletter (Winter 2013).

Speaker December 2019: Construction Super Conference: Termination for Convenience.

Speaker March 2019:  Texas State Bar Construction Annual Meeting: A Speedy Defense.

Speaker and Author: ABA Forum on Construction on Construction Law, 2016 Fall Meeting: Steps to Avoid Disaster.

Speaker January 2012: Insurance in the Construction Industry: Front End Risk Management for Construction Projects.

Moderator Fall 2011: University of Texas Construction Conference: Construction Litigation: Identifying the Players and Pressure Points with an Eye Toward the End Game.

Co-Program Chair and article author: More than Nuts and Bolts: How to Construct and Deconstruct Expert Testimony, sponsored by ABA Section of Litigation, Construction Litigation and Expert Witness Committees and Section of Public Contract Law.

Speaker: Lending Goes Green – What Non-Energy-Sector Borrowers Can Expect in the Future, sponsored by the SMU Corporate Counsel Symposium.

Speaker and Author: ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, 2008 Annual Conference, The Legislative Impact of Alternative Energy, Climate Change, and Sustainability in the Construction Industry.

Speaker Fall 2010: University of Texas Construction Conference: Green Building Litigation.

Court Admissions

Texas, 1995

U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of Texas


University of Kentucky
J.D., cum laude, 1995
Phi Delta Phi. Associate Editor, Kentucky Law Review, 1994-95.

Vanderbilt University
B.A., 1992


Board of Directors, Trinity River Authority

Regional Advisory Board, First Financial Bank

Member of the Construction Law Exam Commission for the Texas Board of Legal Specialization

Governing Committee Member and Membership Chair, ABA Forum on the Construction Industry

ABA Forum on Construction Trial Academy (Former Chair and Faculty Member)

Former Chair, Owners and Lenders Division, ABA Forum on the Construction Industry

Founding Member and Secretary, Ellis County Women in Business

Member of the Board Executive Committee and Chair of Governance Committee, North Texas Commission

Board Member Waxahachie Symphony Association (Co-Chair of Beaus & Belles)

Former Chair, Midlothian Chamber of Commerce

Former Chair, Midlothian ISD Growth Management Committee

Former member Ellis County Bond Oversight Committee (design/construction of new courthouse and jail)

Former Board Member, Dallas Women Lawyers Association

Former Board Member, Midlothian Economic Development Committee

Former Secretary, Midlothian Independent School District 2011 Bond Oversight Committee

Former Board Member, Meals on Wheels of Johnson & Ellis County

Former Associate, Patrick E. Higginbotham American Inn of Court, 2001-2002