Daniel D. Pipitone

Houston

Shareholder

700 Milam Street
Suite 2700
Houston, TX 77002-2806

O: 713.222.1470
D: 713.222.4060
E: dpipitone@munsch.com

Dan is a Shareholder in the Energy, Maritime and Environment Section of the Houston Office of Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr. Before joining Munsch Hardt, Dan served as the Chairman of the Energy Maritime Section of another major Houston Law Firm.

Dan brings to the Firm more than thirty (30) years of maritime law experience during which time he has represented numerous vessel owners engaged in both 'blue water' and 'brown water' transportation, crew and supply boat services and dredging activities. Dan has additionally represented various offshore drilling contractors. He is very familiar with the maritime industry and has provided representation with respect to a wide variety of issues ranging from personal injury defense to maritime contract disputes, collisions, allisions and environmental episodes.

During the course of the past five (5) years, Dan has broadened his practice to include the representation of both individuals and companies charged with violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. As a result of a rather significant victory in Gate Guard Services, L.P. v. U.S. Department of Labor, Dan has been asked to provide representation when either a class of individuals or the DOL initiates litigation alleging that independent contractors should have been properly classified as employees. Allegations that employees should have been considered non-exempt, as opposed to exempt, have also arisen in other types of litigation Dan has been asked to handle.

Dan's knowledge of the Energy Industry has led him to serve in an outside General Counsel capacity for many companies in the industry . In this regard, Dan directly reviews Master Service Agreements and other types of similar agreements which are commonplace in both the Energy and Maritime Industries. He is also indirectly involved with various other matters including those of a corporate, real estate, intellectual property and environmental nature concerning which he utilizes the many other attorneys in the Firm who are more directly involved in these areas of practice.

AREAS OF PRACTICE

EDUCATION

  • Bachelor of Arts from Edinboro State University
  • Juris Doctor from Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law
    • Law Review – Articles Editor; Author

AWARDS & HONORS

  • Law Clerk – The Honorable John B. Hannum (United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania)

BAR ADMISSIONS

  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • U.S. Supreme Court Supreme Court of the State of Texas
  • Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

  • Prevailed in a case presented to the U.S. Supreme Court involving an international choice of law issue, as well as issues pertaining to venue and forum non conveniens. The ultimate resolution resulted in the dismissal of numerous personal injury and death claims collectively valued at approximately $25 million, a resolution which ultimately permitted Dan' s client to remain viable.
  • Successfully presented a case to the Texas Supreme Court resulting in the adoption of the Search and Rescue Doctrine, and the application of this maritime doctrine in a manner requiring the reversal and rendering of a judgment. The client Dan represented earlier had had a substantial judgment entered against it when the client was represented by predecessor counsel.
  • Prevailed in a case presented to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit resulting in the adoption of the Primary Duty Doctrine Defense. The application of this maritime doctrine allowed Dan to maintain an extraordinarily minimal judgment of less than $10,000.00 which had earlier been awarded against his client by the trial court with respect to a wrongful death claim.
  • Successfully litigated a property damage and lost profit claim on behalf of a client whose offshore, semi-submersible drilling rig sustained structural damage, which litigation efforts resulted in a settlement of $6.7 million.
  • Successfully presented a creative issue of first impression to a U.S. District Court which allowed a business entity to initiate litigation against the U.S. Department of Labor when an alleged violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act had been lodged. The successful presentation afforded the company Dan represented an opportunity to proactively pursue the adjudication of issues in a venue of its selection. Ultimately, the energy-related service company obtained an entirely favorable judgment against the DOL, thereby defeating allegations of misclassification. Moreover, Dan was successful in subsequently obtaining a $565,000.00 award in attorneys' fees against the DOL pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act.
  • Successfully litigated on behalf of a Houston-based Thoroughbred Horse owner a breach of fiduciary duty and fraud matter against bloodstock agents, a noted trainer, and several consignors which resulted in a seven (7)-figure settlement. Notably, publicity from the litigation and efforts exerted by Dan and his client after its settlement assisted the modification of legislation governing bloodstock agents in both Kentucky and Florida.
  • Successfully marshaled through the Texas Legislature a Bill modifying the venue statutes so as to substantially limit the reliance upon a plaintiff's residence as a basis for venue. The statutory amendments significantly reduced the volume of litigation experienced by Dan's clients engaged in the dredging industry particularly and the Maritime Industry generally.

  • American Bar Association
  • Proctor in Admiralty, Maritime Law Association of the United States
  • National Association of Defense Counsel
  • Texas Bar Association
  • Texas Association of Defense Counsel
  • Houston Bar Association
  • Corpus Christi Bar Association

ARTICLES

May 2013
BIC Magazine

"Enery Company wins Against DOL"

April 2013
Offshore Magazine

"The Right Time to know Rules": What the Energy Sector Needs To Know"

February 2013
Offshore Magazine

"Premiums and Risk Management in the post-Macondo Era"

January 2013
Oil and Gas Investor

"Anti-Corruption Measures"

SPEECHES

April 2013
Texas Lawyer In-House Council Sumit, Houston, Texas "An Introduction to Indepdendent Contractor Classification: Why you should be concerned"
October 2012
IADC Contracts & Risk Management Conference “Foreign Corrupt Practices Act”, Omni Houston Hotel Westside
April 2012
Texas Lawyer In-House Council Summit, Houston, Texas "A Brief Overview of Indemnity Provisions and Allocation of Risk in Energy Agreements"; "An introduction to Employment Law: Why You Should Be Concerned";"Why You Should Care About the FCPA"; "Introduction to Environmental Law": "What Energy Companies Need to Know"