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Wainwright, Dale
Dale Wainwright
Managing Partner, Austin
P: +1.512.494.3610
F: +1.800.404.3970

Thao Nguyen


Justice Dale Wainwright represents clients in complex disputes in state and federal trial and appellate courts. He handles briefing and oral argument at trial and appellate courts, structures appeals and mandamus proceedings for success and counsels clients on litigation strategy, error preservation at trial, jury charge preparation, post-verdict proceedings, and analysis of the trial record for appellate potential.

Prior to joining Bracewell, Justice Wainwright served on the Texas Supreme Court for 10 years, authoring more than 125 opinions. Elected to the Supreme Court in 2002, he was the third-longest-serving member of the court at the time of his resignation. Justice Wainwright began his judicial career in 1999 when he was appointed by Governor George W. Bush to preside over the 334th Civil Judicial District Court in Houston, Texas. As judge of the 334th District Court, he resolved 3,000 cases and presided over more than 100 trials. Prior to becoming a jurist, he represented clients at trial and in appeals for more than a decade.

Representative Matters

Represented investor-owned hospital at the Texas Supreme Court that had been held liable at the court of appeals for the alleged negligence of a credentialed physician.  The issue of first impression was whether the hospital was vicariously liable on the basis that the physician was a passive investor in the limited partnership that owned and operated the hospital.  Obtained reversal of the court of appeals and successfully thwarted what would have been a dramatic expansion of hospital liability.  

Represented a municipality in obtaining dissolution of a trial court injunction that essentially denied the city’s rights pursuant to a groundwater deed to produce the groundwater under the ranch.  The Texas Supreme Court upheld dissolution of the injunction vindicating the client’s position.

Represented large, private utility company at the Supreme Court of Texas and successfully vindicated its statutory right to recover costs of relocation of equipment necessitated by public works projects.

Represented large energy corporation in dispute over executive compensation agreement in appeal at the Texas Supreme Court.  Succeeded in upholding enforcement of the agreement and rebutting the argument that the Covenants Not to Compete Act voided the agreement.

Represented large gas company in appeal to Texas Supreme Court to clarify the Texas accommodation doctrine and vindicated corporation’s property rights to reasonable use of surface lands to drill wells under the terms of the lease.

Represented oil and gas royalty owners at the Texas Supreme Court in reversing an appeals court ruling that barred their claim under the most favored nations clause and other claims on statute of limitations grounds.

Identified and argued key legal and fact issues to obtain judgment notwithstanding the verdict overturning multi-million dollar verdict after a month-long jury trial.

Represented large energy company in appeal to Texas Supreme Court over whether legislature delegated authority to Texas Railroad Commission to authorize interim natural gas rate adjustments.  Successfully obtained decision affirming the Railroad Commission's decision benefitting our client.

Represented insurance entity against thousands of plaintiffs in which trial court disqualified client's managing trial counsel.  Obtained reversal of trial court decision at Court of Appeals, and no further appeal ensued.

Publications and Speeches

"Making 31 Flavors of Opinions: Who’s Eating What You’re Serving?" Appellate Judges Education Institute Summit, Philadelphia, November 11, 2016

"Texas Holdings: 2016 Case Update on Construction Defect Claims in Texas," West Coast Casualty’s Construction Defect Seminar, May 13, 2016

"Regulatory overreach of Texas agencies and overview of Texas litigation," U.S. Chamber of Commerce Conference - Austin, April 14, 2015

"Denied Rule Petitions in Texas Will Have No Day in Court," Law 360, July 30, 2014

"2012 Year in Review: Appellate Law" Texas Bar Journal, 2012

"Mandamus Trends," 35th Annual Advanced Civil Trial Course sponsored by TexasBarCLE and the State Bar of Texas, July 2012

"Deciding Where Patent Malpractice Actions Belong," Law360, October 2012


J.D., The University of Chicago Law School, 1988
B.A., summa cum laude, Howard University, 1983

Bar Admissions


Court Admissions

U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Southern and Western Districts of Texas


American Law Institute, elected member
Center for American and International Law, Trustee
Robert W. Calvert American Inn of Court, Master
Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow
Houston Bar Foundation, Fellow
Houston Young Lawyers Foundation, Fellow
College of the State Bar, Member
Houston Bar Association, Board of Directors, 1997-98
Houston Young Lawyers Association, President, 1997-98
Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program, Board of Directors, 1996-97
Texas Young Lawyers Association, Board of Directors, 1993-95
Aspiring Youth Program, Co-founder, 1993
Texas Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission - Advisor to Legislative Committee
Texas Board of Criminal Justice, Chairman
U.S. Chamber Litigation Center, Board of Directors
Texas Supreme Court Historical Society; Fellow; Secretary 2015-2016; President-Elect 2016-2017; President 2017-2018


Legalease, The Legal 500 United States, Litigation: Supreme Court and Appellate, 2014-2015
Thomson Reuters, Texas Super Lawyers, 2014-2016
Prevent Blindness Texas, Person of Vision Award, 2008
National Bar Association, Humanitarian Award, 2008
National Black Prosecutors Association, Trail Blazer Award, 2006
NAACP, Legal Excellence Award, 2000
Martindale-Hubbell® AV® Preeminent™ Rating