Charles Sartain

Throughout my career I’ve helped smart, success-driven business owners and entrepreneurs solve a wide range of problems with challenging legal issues, complicated facts, aggressive opponents and substantial dollars at stake. Whether I’m guiding clients through the ups and downs of litigation or arbitration, or negotiating a practical alternative solution to keep them out of the courtroom, my tireless work ethic and client-first approach always leads them to the best outcome possible.

Charles Sartain is an experienced trial lawyer who primarily focuses on resolving complex energy disputes in Texas and Louisiana through litigation, arbitration and negotiation. His clients include oil and gas producers and investors, midstream transportation operators, and mineral and royalty owners involved in all types of contractual, payment and operational disputes.

In addition to his energy litigation practice, Charles handles commercial disputes for healthcare providers and other businesses covering a broad range of issues, including breach of contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, non-compete agreements, trade secret theft, partnership terminations, injunctions, employment discrimination, and collections. He is also on the short list for parties seeking an arbitrator with deep experience in resolving commercial disputes involving energy, healthcare, non-compete agreements and trade secrets.

Before starting his private practice, Charles worked as in-house transactional counsel for Sun Oil Company, where he learned the nuts and bolts of contract and title law and gained a first-hand understanding of clients’ goals and concerns within the energy industry. This experience gave Charles a rare insider’s knowledge of the oil and gas business, and over time he found that his problem-solving and negotiation skills are a perfect match for litigation, arbitration and prevention of commercial disputes.

Dedicated to helping clients stay current on the best ways to protect their businesses, Charles is the author and editor of Energy & The Law, a blog focused on exploring critical developments in the energy industry and how they impact clients from a legal and business perspective.

Representative Experience
  • Representation of oil and gas producers in disputes involving royalty payments, lease maintenance, oil field operations, natural gas contracts, gas plant accounting, pooling and unitization, operating agreements, and land and lease titles.
  • Prosecution and defense of commercial disputes such as breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, corporate governance, fraud.
  • Collection of multi-million dollar debts in state and federal courts and before arbitration panels.
  • Successfully defended a suit against a producer for post-production costs by obtaining a federal court summary judgement. 
  • Obtained a total summary judgment on 12 different claims by a lessor under an oil and gas lease against a midstream operator. 
  • Recovery of title to Eagle Ford mineral interests after overcoming limitations defenses arising out of 80 years of failure to assert ownership.
  • Successful prosecution of theft of trade secrets and breaches of non-competition covenants for hospitals and healthcare provider partnerships.
  • Recovery of multi-million dollar arbitration award on behalf of an operator against a drilling consultant for damage to the well and wellbore.
  • Successful defense of a multi-million dollar breach of contract suit by a former employee of a midstream operator.
  • Rare successful prosecution of election fraud, resulting in a new election.
  • Successful defense of oil-field tubular supplier against a claim of pipe failure in the hole and allegations of $14 million of well and reservoir damage.
  • Participated as a neutral in scores of energy, healthcare and commercial arbitrations as sole arbitrator, panel chair, or panel member.  
Thought Leadership / News
  • Recognized as the "Lawyer of the Year" for Energy Law in Dallas by The Best Lawyers in America (2020)
  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in Woodward/White, Inc.'s The Best Lawyers in America in the fields of Commercial Litigation and Energy Law (2008 – 2024)
  • Named a "Super Lawyer" by Texas Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters company) as published in Texas Monthly (2005 – 2020)
  • Named a Top Author in JD Supra's Reader's Choice Awards (2016 – 2024) 
  • Selected as a Best Lawyer in Dallas by D Magazine (2017, 2022)
  • AV Preeminent® rated (the highest possible Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating designation)
  • Omicron Delta Kappa
Organizational Involvement

Professional Activities, Memberships & Affiliations

  • State Bar of Texas
    • Litigation Section
    • Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Section
    • Healthcare Section
  • Louisiana State Bar Association
  • Dallas Bar Association
    • Board of Directors, 2000 – 2002
    • Committee Chair: Media Relations, Judiciary and Courthouse Committees and Energy Law Section
  • American Arbitration Association commercial arbitration panel
  • Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO)
  • Octavo Systems, LLC, Board of Directors

Community Involvement, Memberships & Affiliations

  • Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church senior warden, vestry, rector search committee
  • Dallas County Republican Party, General Counsel (1994 - 2008)
  • Saint Michael & All Angels Foundation, President (2017 - 2019)
  • Leadership Dallas
  • J.D., Louisiana State University (1976)
  • B.S., Louisiana State University (1973)
Bar Admissions
  • Texas
  • Louisiana