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Bracewell LLP

Work +1 713 223 2300
Fax +1 800 404 3970

Christopher Dodson

Work +1.713.221.1373
Bracewell LLP

Work Department



Christopher L. Dodson divides his trial practice between complex commercial litigation and environmental litigation. He maintains an active commercial trial docket and also chairs Bracewell’s environmental litigation practice. In that capacity, Chris works with and helps lead approximately 20 other partners in five different offices in the United States. Chris has particular experience handling high-stakes, high-profile disputes for clients in oilfield services, offshore drilling, financial services, waste disposal services, commercial real estate, construction, grocery services, technology, telecommunications, software, and manufacturing. He represents both plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal courts across the country. Chris’ clients range from Fortune 500 businesses to high net-worth individuals, including well-known companies such as Waste Management, Inc., Baker Hughes, Concho Resources, Ursa Resources, Vopak North America, and Wortham Insurance.


J.D., The University of Texas School of Law, 2005; B.A., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Southern Methodist University, 2002

United States: Dispute resolution

General commercial disputes

Within: General commercial disputes

Texas is Bracewell LLP’s main stomping ground, and the firm has a prominent energy litigation practice. Beyond the energy sector, the dispute resolution team has broad experience acting for both plaintiffs and defendants. Department chair Stephen Crain has vast jury and bench trial and arbitration experience. He often works alongside Christopher Dodson and Sean Gorman, all of which are based in the Houston office.

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United States: Industry focus

Energy litigation: conventional power

Within: Energy litigation: conventional power

Conventional energy litigation is handled by the wider litigation department at Bracewell LLP, which is led by Stephen Crain. Recent highlights include Bryan Dumesnil and Bradley Benoit representing the board of directors of Southern Copper Corporation in a commercial dispute arising from three transactions involving power plants owned by a subsidiary of the client. The plaintiffs are shareholders in Southern Copper Corporation and claim that the transactions unfairly deprived the company of valuable assets. In the administrative litigation space, Catherine McCarthy (DC) and others are representing Central Maine Power Company and The United Illuminating Company in multiple FERC complaint proceedings in which the counterparties seek a reduction in the return on equity granted to the clients. Additionally, the group represents clients in contested rate cases and FERC enforcement matters. Deanna King (Austin), Christopher Dodson and J Clifford Gunter are also highly recommended. Named attorneys are based in Houston, unless otherwise noted.

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Energy litigation: oil and gas

Within: Energy litigation: oil and gas

Key areas of focus for team at Bracewell LLP include disputes arising from JOAs and surface use agreements, royalty disputes and title disputes. In a standout matter, Mark Lewis, Kirk Morgan (both based in Washington DC) and others represented Enterprise Products in contested proceedings at FERC pertaining to the way in which oil pipelines conduct business with their marketing affiliates. Houston-based Andrew Zeve specializes in IP-related oil and gas matters, such as patents and trade secret disputes. The firm also has a  highly varied client base, featuring exploration and production companies, suppliers and pipelines, as well as investors in the oil and gas industry. Also in Houston, firmwide chair of litigation Stephen Crain is a key contact; also recommended are Christopher Dodson, Bradley Benoit and Sean Gorman.

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Environment: litigation

Within: Environment: litigation

Anchored in Washington DC and Texas, Bracewell LLP represents clients in contested case proceedings, project development, investigations, enforcement defence, and mass torts, covering CAA, CWA, CERCLA, and climate change, with a particular focus on the energy sector. It continued its assistance to key client Valero Energy in a lawsuit against the EPA concerning the client being defined as an obligated party under the Renewable Fuel Standard of the CAA and clarification of the regulated parties under the program. It also assisted Venoco in aspects relating to its bankruptcy, namely in terms of developing and implementing a strategy for addressing oil and gas assets with millions of dollars in liabilities related to plugging and abandonment of wells, closure or decommissioning of production and transportation facilities, and the environmental restoration of operations sites. In Washington DC, Jason Hutt leads the environmental practice; Kevin Ewing is an expert in midstream, upstream and offshore energy development; Jeffrey Holmstead is a leading CAA and climate change lawyer; and Lisa Jaeger previously worked as acting general counsel and deputy general counsel at the EPA. Houston-based Christopher Dodson co-chairs environmental litigation practice. In Austin, managing partner Timothy Wilkins is the other environmental litigation practice co-chair; Kevin Collins is a former assistant US attorney for the Eastern District of Texas; and associate Brittany Pemberton advises energy, oil and gas, and industrial clients in environmental regulatory compliance and enforcement matters.

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Environment: regulatory

Within: Environment: regulatory

Focused on oil and gas, Bracewell LLP advises on climate change regulation, LNG development, pipeline and other infrastructure development, and major environmental incidents. The team advises Cheniere on all environmental regulatory, permitting and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration compliance matters; it also acted for the Williams Companies in the development and implementation of a strategic plan for federal engagement on the permitting, construction and operation of pipeline infrastructure. In Washington DC, Jason Hutt is the chair of the firm’s environmental and natural resources department; Jeffrey Holmstead is a CAA and climate change specialist; and Kevin Ewing is another standout name. In Austin, Sara Burgin is a specialist on water issues; Kevin Collins is a former Assistant US Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas; and Timothy Wilkins is the office managing partner. Houston-based Christopher Dodson co-chairs the environmental litigation practice.

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