David H. Brown


Phone: 713-528-3703

Fax: 832-849-1799


I have litigated commercial and tort cases for over 40 years, with an emphasis on commercial insurance matters and—for over 25 years—the representation of policyholders in coverage disputes and claims.

After law school at UT, I clerked for a Houston federal district judge. In 1977, I joined a large firm, where I handled a variety of lawsuits and appeals in state and federal courts. I quickly focused on casualty insurance coverage disputes. After I was made a partner in 1984, I gradually expanded the firm’s insurance practice, eventually leading a team of trial lawyers handling a diverse docket of insurance cases.

My insurance experience encompasses the full spectrum of casualty insurance policy disputes, including under crime, directors & officers, environmental, first-party property, primary and excess liability, and marine insurance policies.

I have resolved casualty insurance claims for clients of every size, ranging from individuals to Fortune 100 companies. My clients have included E&P and midstream energy companies, miners, manufacturers and refiners, contractors and drillers, oil field service companies, health-care providers, governmental and not-for-profit entities, private equity companies, and professional service providers, including Houston area law firms.

My practice includes casualty insurance procurement and planning, insurance policy review, claims counseling and preparation, litigation and appeals, and insurance appraisals and arbitrations. I also consult and advise on contractual casualty loss-allocation issues, including under indemnity and related risk-of-loss provisions in various business contexts.

My insurance practice has benefited greatly from the insights offered by the opportunity to handle non-insurance tort and commercial cases. I have, for example, handled a variety of matters for the Port of Houston Authority including trials and appeals of contract, environmental, inverse condemnation, land title, permitting, procurement, and tort claims suits.

In 2008, I left Vinson & Elkins LLP to form a litigation boutique emphasizing the representation of policyholders. Since 2008, I have largely represented the same clients, and types of clients, as in earlier years.

In 2010, I was honored to be the only Texas coverage lawyer to be appointed as an Adviser to the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law of Liability Insurance project. The seven-year Restatement project—led by two preeminent insurance law professors—afforded me the opportunity to review the nuances of a broad range of liability insurance coverage issues.

Effective January 1, 2018, I joined my former Vinson & Elkins colleagues and partners at Copeland & Rice. Our clients overlap or are complementary; our practice philosophies are the same.

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.


  • American Bar Association
  • American Law Institute
  • American College of Coverage Counsel
  • Houston Bar Association
  • Maritime Law Association of the United States
  • American Bar Foundation
  • Texas Bar Foundation
  • Insurance Law Section, State Bar of Texas
  • The Houston Mariners Club

Publications & Presentations

  • Drafting Coverage Opinions, Chapter 8A in 2014 Edition New Appleman Insurance Law Practice Guide (Lexis Nexis Matthew Bender 2013).
  • The Ins and Outs of Lawyers’ Professional Liability Insurance — ABA Section of Professional Responsibility Lawyers, August 2012.
  • Purchasing Legal Malpractice Insurance: What a Difference the Form Makes! — State Bar of Texas, Insurance Law Course, April 14–15, 2011.
  • Property Coverage Concerns Facing Health Care Entities — Seminar presented by Willis, August 2011.
  • Contractual Risk-Shifting Provisions — Seminar presented by John L. Wortham & Son, L.P., November 2010.
  • D&O Insurance — The Scope of Legal Review of Policy Forms, 2008.
  • Focus: D&O Insurance – Houston Business Journal, March 2004.
  • Current Issues in D&O Liability Insurance — Insurance Law Institute, University of Texas, 2003.
  • Reservation of Rights — Admiralty & Maritime Law Conference, University of Texas School of Law, 1998.
  • Coverage Opinions: Advising the Client — Advanced Insurance Seminar, University of Houston, 1996.

Representative Insurance Matters

  • Counseling — I advise governmental entities, including cities, school districts, and other units of local government, in a variety of first-party and liability insurance matters, including property losses, insurance procurement, and public officials’ insurance.
  • Contested Coverage Disputes — I have represented policyholders in coverage litigation in state and federal courts, as well as in appraisal and arbitration proceedings. My cases have included, for example, successful outcomes for an E&P company claiming under a D&O policy for securities claim coverage in state court; a manufacturer claiming under employer’s liability coverage in federal court; an energy company claiming under an auto policy in an arbitration proceeding; an E&P company claiming for offshore wreck removal under a general liability policy in state court; and, a Texas medical center institution claiming under a property policy for the loss of bio-technology assets in an appraisal proceeding.
  • D&O Policies — I represent publicly traded and closely held corporations, and individual directors, in claims and litigation under Directors & Officers liability policies involving coverage, recovery of defense expense, and loss-allocation issues, as well as advising on D&O policy procurement and the pros and cons of various D&O policy forms.
  • Environmental Policies — I represent policyholders seeking to recover environmental losses, including defense and cleanup expense, under environmental policies, as well as legacy general liability policies.
  • Hurricane Losses — I have represented policyholders in claims arising from Hurricanes Harvey, Ike, Katrina and Rita and Tropical Storm Allison, including claims by E&P companies, Texas Medical Center institutions, and other Houston-area businesses, for property damage and business interruption losses. I am currently counseling clients as to claims arising due to Hurricane Harvey.
  • Liability Policies — I represent E&P, downstream and midstream energy companies in liability claims arising from fires and explosions on offshore platforms and at landside refineries and facilities. We also represent clients under other liability forms, including, for example, policyholders under marine policies, claims-made policies covering errors and omissions of professionals, healthcare providers and of fiduciaries under ERISA.
  • Property Policies — I have represented policyholders under first-party property policies for a variety of losses arising from fires, explosions, pipeline ruptures, extreme weather, terrorism, and marine casualties.

Reported Opinions in Representative Commercial Litigation Matters

  • Aaron, et al. v. Port of Houston Authority, 415 S.W.3d 355 (Tex. Civ. App. —Houston [14th Dist.] 2013, no pet.), putative class action litigation involving issues of immunity from suit as to claims for inverse condemnation and under the Tort Claims Act.
  • Zachry Construction Corp. v. Port of Houston Authority, 377 S.W.3d 841 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2012, pet. denied), construction litigation involving immunity from suit and multiple contractual issues.
  • TH Investments, Inc. v. Kirby Inland Marine, L.P., 218 S.W.3d 173, (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2007, pet. denied), a trespass to try title action involving ownership of submerged lands and surveying issues.
  • City of Shoreacres v. Waterworth, 420 F.2d 440 (5th Cir. 2005), involving a challenge to a permit issued under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act.
  • City of Shoreacres v. Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, 166 S.W.3d 825, (Tex. App.—Austin 2005), involving a challenge under the Texas Administrative Procedure Act to a permitting decision of the TCEQ.
  • Perry v. Port of Houston Authority, 31 Fed. Appx. 153, 2001 WL 1748097, (5th Cir. 2002), a civil-rights action brought under 28 U.S.C. § 1983.
  • Richmond Printing v. Port of Houston Authority, 996 S.W.2d 220 (Tex. App. —Houston [14th Dist.] 1999), dispute under the Texas procurement statutes.