Michael L. Beatty
- Chairman Emeritus
Mike Beatty has represented energy clients since deregulation hit the natural gas industry in the late 1970s and threw it into a tailspin of take-or-pay litigation. He successfully handled cases for both plaintiffs and defendants, including a $549 million antitrust verdict, the only successful commercial impracticability case and most of the successful force majeure cases for the pipeline industry.
Along the way, Mike handled other matters as well, including Donald J. Willy v. Coastal Corporation, a favorable 9-0 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the power of courts to sanction litigants even where there was no jurisdictional basis for the merits of the case.
Mike, a Harvard Law School graduate, began his career with the energy industry as in-house counsel for Colorado Interstate Gas Company, and ultimately became Executive Vice President, General Counsel and a Director of The Coastal Corporation. He also served as Chief of Staff to Colorado Governor Roy Romer from 1993 to 1995. His in-house management with major energy companies and first-chair litigation experience in big industry cases, combined with a hands-on understanding of the political and administrative process, provide Mike with uncommon insights into the oil and gas business, and the regulatory environment in which his clients operate.
Perhaps most indicative of the respect held for Beatty & Wozniak by the energy industry was the selection of Mike as lead counsel by a majority of defendants in a qui tam action alleging mismeasurement of natural gas on federal and Indian lands. Dozens of actions were brought in multiple federal districts against virtually the entire natural gas pipeline industry alleging billions of dollars in damages. The Panel on Multi-District Litigation consolidated the actions in the District of Wyoming. With Mike acting as lead counsel, the actions were ultimately dismissed and a significant award of attorney fees was awarded to the prevailing defendants.
Fundamental to Mike's success on behalf of his clients is a true passion for the nation's energy. He is fond of saying, "The history of the world can be defined as the history of energy," and he can cite much of that history. He can trace lines between oil production and Pearl Harbor, oil and the fall of the Berlin Wall, oil and Star Wars, oil and the collapse of communism in Russia. "East Texas oil fields were the source of America's might in the first World War. It was our oil reserves that won the war."
The importance of climate change, cap and trade legislation and drilling access are critical issues for America's future. The role of natural gas as a meaningful bridge to the New Energy Economy is an important topic.
Mike is ready for it. As he says, "This is a fascinating industry at a fascinating juncture!"
- Harvard University Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
- J.D. - 1972
- Honors: Winner, Ames Moot Court Competition, 1972
- University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California
- B.A. - 1969
- Columbia Law School
- Summer Fellowship and Certificate, at the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law - 1981
- National Institute of Trial Advocacy
- National Program, 1975; Advanced Program, 1982
- Colorado, 1980
- Texas, 1972
- U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Texas
- U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas
- U.S. District Court Western District of Texas
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Oklahoma
- U.S. District Court Western District of Oklahoma
- U.S. District Court District of Idaho
- U.S. District Court District of Colorado
- U.S. District Court District of Wyoming
- U.S. Supreme Court
- The Beatty Law Firm, P.C., Owner, 1998 to 2005
- Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP, Of Counsel, 1995 to 1997
- Colorado Governor Roy Romer, Chief of Staff, 1993 to 1995
- The Coastal Corporation, Executive Vice President (1987-1993), Member of Board of Directors (1986-1993), General Counsel (1985-1993)
- Colorado Interstate Gas Company, General Counsel (1984), Senior Attorney (1982-1984), Attorney (1981-1982)
- Colorado Interstate Gas Company, Attorney, 1979 to 1980
- Vinson & Elkins, Associate, 1972 to 1974
- United States Army, Air Defense Artillery, Second Lieutenant, Honorable Discharge, 1972
- Colorado Bar Association, Member, Section of Mineral Law
- Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation
- Colorado Democratic Party, Chairman, 1995
- State Bar of Texas, Member
Classes & Seminars
- Re-Engineering Law Practice, with Ronald Martin, Law Practice Management, May/June, 1994
- Special Considerations Litigating Oil and Gas Supply Agreements, Natural Resources and Environmental Litigation: Seminar Proceedings, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation 9-7(7), 1989
- Visiting Professor of Law, University of Wyoming, 1980 to 1981
- Tenured Professor of Law, University of Moscow, Idaho, 1974 to 1979
- Playing the Jurisdictional Game in a Deregulated Environment: Who Has the Ball?, Fifty-Second Annual Institute on Oil and Gas Law and Taxation, Publication 640, Release 52
- The Ability to Suppress Exculpatory Evidence: Let’s Cut Off the Prosecutor’s Hand, Idaho Law Review, 1979