Travis M. Brown has over a decade of experience advising both insurers and insureds on a broad range of insurance coverage issues. Travis began his practice on the insurer side and gained valuable insight into how insurance companies evaluate claims, both prior to and during litigation. Now, he applies that experience and insight on the other side of the docket, to help companies ensure that their insurers honor their obligations under the policy when a claim arises. His primary focus is on advising contractors, owners, subcontractors, and other participants in the construction industry in disputes with their insurance companies. Within his coverage practice, he also frequently represents oilfield service providers, pipeline and alternative energy contractors, and other members of the oil and gas and energy industries. In addition, his coverage expertise extends well outside the construction context. In the past two years alone, he has assisted clients in securing multi-million dollar settlements or claim payments in disputes with insurers in a wide variety of cases, including a homeowners claim arising from the 2019 tornado that struck Dallas, a large commercial property/catastrophe claim related to Hurricane Harvey, and a claim for coverage under a corporate directors and officers liability policy for complex securities litigation arising out of the merger of two publicly traded companies.
In addition, Travis is an experienced litigator outside of the insurance coverage setting. He defends and prosecutes claims in high-stakes litigation ranging from jobsite personal injury/death claims and contract disputes, both in and out of the construction context, to complex commercial litigation and claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”). Most recently, he was lead counsel for a team of Cokinos | Young trial lawyers in the prosecution of a claim on behalf of an employee-owned company against the administrator of its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (“ESOP”).
- Submitted amicus brief on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders, Home Builders Association of Tennessee, and Home Builders Association of Greater Knoxville to the Tennessee Supreme Court in West Bend Mutual Ins. Co. v. Healy Homes, LLC, arguing that the Tennessee Supreme Court should follow a narrower construction of the standard “Pollution Exclusion” in a CGL policy.
- Submitted amicus brief on behalf of Associated General Contractors of America (“AGC”) and Texas Building Branch—AGC, in support of Austin Bridge & Road, L.P. (“ABR”) in San Antonio River Authority v. Austin Bridge & Road, L.P., — S.W.3d —, 2020 WL 2097347 (Tex. May 1, 2020). After arbitrator denied River Authority’s plea of governmental immunity, River Authority objected to continuation of arbitration and filed suit against contractors in district court, contending that it lacked authority to agree to mandatory arbitration. Texas Supreme Court found for ABR and held that the River Authority had authority under the Local Government Code to agree to arbitrate disputes arising from a construction contract.
- Lead counsel on lawsuit against carrier that denied coverage under client’s first-party property policy for Hurricane Harvey loss. Case resulted in seven figure settlement for client.
- Obtained multi-million dollar settlement for a general contractor in a dispute involving coverage for a complex construction defect suit, in which primary and excess insurers all denied coverage.
- Obtained summary judgment for general contractor client in declaratory judgment action filed by client’s liability insurer. Insurer denied coverage for underlying lawsuit involving alleged defects in construction of a municipal sports complex and filed suit seeking a declaratory judgment that it owed no duty to defend or indemnify the general contractor based on the “Breach of Contract Exclusion” endorsement in the policy. Court held that breach of contract exclusion did not apply to allegations of property damage caused by the defective work of client’s subcontractors, and insurer owed a duty to defend. Mt. Hawley Ins. Co. v. Slay Engineering / Texas Multi-Chem / Huser Construction Company, LLC, No. 5-18-CV-00252-OLG, 2018 WL 3946547 (W.D. Tex. Aug. 15, 2018).
- Obtained summary judgment and dismissal of all claims against owner and general contractor in a third party over personal injury action brought by injured employee of subcontractor. The owner, general contractor, and plaintiff’s employer were insured under an owner controlled insurance program (“OCIP”). The court applied section 406.123 of the Texas Labor Code to extend the protection of the worker’s compensation bar to the owner and general contractor.
- Prepared amicus brief in support of Austin Bridge & Road, LP in Austin Bridge & Road, LP v. Suarez, et al., — S.W.3d —, 2018 WL 2049356 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] May 3, 2018, no pet.). Court enforced OCIP workers compensation bar under Section 406.123 of the Texas Labor Code, reversed $17 million verdict and rendered take nothing verdict in wrongful death suit brought by survivors of sub-subcontractor’s employee, who died while performing work on McClane Stadium project at Baylor University. Court confirmed previous Texas cases holding that all contractors and subcontractors on the project that were insured under the OCIP were entitled to comp bar protection.
- Regularly work with construction clients, prior to engaging in coverage litigation, to ensure that insurance carriers are properly defending their insureds, contributing to settlement of covered property damage and bodily injury claims, and paying first party claims under business risk and commercial property policies.
Speaking Engagements & Presentations
- Presenter, “Insurance Law Update” — Construction Law Foundation of Texas, 2021 Annual CLE for Board Certified Construction Lawyers
- Presenter and Article Author for the “Construction Update” — Texas Insurance Law Section, Advanced Insurance Law CLE (Webcast), 10-1-2021
- Presenter and Article Author for the “Construction Update” — Texas Insurance Law Section, Advanced Insurance Law CLE (Webcast), 6-5-2020
- Panel Member – EPC Contract & Risk Management for Construction and Capital Projects Conference, Houston, Texas 9-12-19
- Insurance Co. Must Cover Contractor in Sports Complex Row, by Mike Curley – Law360, 8-17-18
- Court of Appeals Enforces OCIP Workers Comp Bar, Reverses $17 Million Verdict and Renders Take Nothing Judgment, 5-7-18
- Court Enforces OCIP Workers Comp Bar in Third Party Over Action, 12-8-17
- Insurance Basics for the Construction Lawyer – The Basic Course in Texas Construction Law 2017, Dallas, Texas 11-30-17
- USAA v. Menchaca, Texas Supreme Court Issues Significant Clarification Affecting Insureds and Insurers, 4-25-17
- The University of Texas School of Law, J.D., 2008
- The University of Texas at Austin, B.A., Plan II Honors Program, 2002
- The University of Texas at Austin, B.B.A., Finance, 2002
- State Bar of Texas
- United States Courts of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
- United States District Court: Northern, Eastern, Southern & Western Districts of Texas
Memberships & Affiliations
- Dallas Bar Association: Construction Law, Tort & Insurance Practice Sections
- Dallas Bar Association: Construction Law Section, Council Member 2021
- Dallas Association of Young Lawyers
- McKinney Avenue Transit Authority: Board of Directors, 2016 – Present; Chairman of Fundraising and Development, 2018, 2019
- Exchange Club of Lake Highlands: Scholarship Committee, 2017; Oktoberfest Committee, 2013
Texas Negligence Case Holds Lessons for Construction Cos., Law 360, August 26, 2021