The University of Texas at Austin, B.A., 2000
The University of Texas School of Law, J.D., 2003
"Top Lawyer in Houston" by Houstonia Magazine, 2013-2015
"Top Lawyer in Houston" by H-Texas Magazine, 2012-2016
"Rising Star" by Texas Super Lawyers in Transportation / Maritime Law, 2011-2016
Guest Lecturer on Maritime Law – University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business (2011-2015)
Consul Award Winner – University of Texas School of Law (2003)
Board of Advocates Outstanding Member – University of Texas School of Law (2003)
National Finalist – N.I.T.A. Tournament of Champions Mock Trial Competition (2002)
Outstanding Fraternity President, The University of Texas at Austin (2000)
United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas
United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
F. Daniel Knight practices in the areas of admiralty and maritime law, as well as general civil litigation and appellate issues. He has expertise in issues relating to safety in the maritime industry, and has been involved with the defense of hundreds of admiralty and maritime litigation matters. His cases involve personal injury matters filed under the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, Limitations of Liability actions, as well as admiralty issues relating to vessel arrest and maritime liens. Mr. Knight also assists clients in resolving non-litigation issues pertaining to admiralty law. In his general litigation practice, Mr. Knight has successfully resolved a variety of insurance and commercial litigation matters.
Mr. Knight was recognized as a "Rising Star" by Texas Super Lawyers magazine in 2011-2016 in the area of Transportation and Maritime Law. He was also named a "Top Lawyer in Houston" by H-Texas Magazine in 2012-2016. Houstonia Magazine named Mr. Knight a “Top Lawyer in Houston” in the field of Admiralty law in both 2013 and 2015. Mr. Knight was one of only 3 lawyers in Houston so designated in 2014.
Significant Litigation Matters and Cases
- Mr. Knight defended an EPCI client in an AAA arbitration in August 2014 related to the construction of three offshore platforms. The Arbitration proceedings, and subsequent post-Arbitration briefing resulted in a favorable settlement for the Firm's client.
- In January 2014, Mr. Knight obtained a partial summary judgment in a Jones Act case on the issue of seaman's status. The trial court determined the individual, who was fired on a vessel and claimed injury while disembarking from the vessel post-termination, was not a Jones Act seaman at the time of the incident.
- Mr. Knight served as first-chair defense counsel in a Jones Act personal injury lawsuit filed in Harris County, Texas. He tried the case to a verdict in February 2011. The plaintiff demanded over $1,300,000.00 in actual damages. The Jury returned a verdict of $1,620.00 against the Firm's clients in approximately two hours. A case summary of this Verdict may be found at 2011 WL 793314. The Plaintiff declined to appeal.
- Mr. Knight served as second-chair defense counsel in a Jones Act personal injury lawsuit filed in Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas in June 2010. Mr. Daniel D. Pipitone served as first chair. A favorable verdict was obtained in favor of the Firm's client by Mr. Pipitone and Mr. Knight. Plaintiff demanded approximately $3,700,000.00 in actual and punitive damages at trial after demanding $1,200,000.00 to settle the case before trial. Our clients offered $200,000.00 to settle before trial. Plaintiff was awarded $420,000.00 in actual damages with fifty percent fault attributed to Plaintiff. A summary of the verdict can be found at 2010 WL 3483078. The verdict is currently on appeal to enforce the fifty percent reduction of the award, which, if granted, would reduce the actual damages awarded to $210,000.00.
- While defending an offshore drilling contractor, Mr. Knight helped to obtain a dismissal with prejudice of a personal injury lawsuit filed under the Jones Act and General Maritime Law in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Galveston Division. The Plaintiff received nothing for his lawsuit, and dismissed his case after losing a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment concerning liability issues. The Court's opinion regarding the Motion for Partial Summary Judgment may be found at 2008 WL 4394613.
- Mr. Knight served as first chair defense trial counsel in a week-long Federal Court jury trial in Houston Texas. The case involved a maritime commercial dispute where liability against our client was certain. Mr. Knight’s examinations of several witnesses, including the plaintiff’s economic expert, reduced the jury verdict to less than the amount demanded by plaintiff in mediation, and less than half of the plaintiff’s demand in closing arguments.
- When representing a vessel owner prosecuting a Limitation of Liability action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, Mr. Knight helped to obtain a denial of a Motion to Dismiss filed by the Claimants. The Court’s Memorandum and Order, which may be found at 2008 WL 2368730, establishes favorable law for dredging operators with respect to bringing one Limitation of Liability proceeding for multiple claims occurring on different dates, but on the same voyage.
- While serving as first chair defense cousnel a hardwood flooring broker based in Pennsylvania in a non-maritime commercial dispute filed in the 61st Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas, Mr. Knight obtained a dismissal without prejudice of his client based upon lack of personal jurisdiction. This ruling dismissed his client as a defendant in the case, and avoided potential exposure of his client to over $2,000,000.00 in alleged damages by the plaintiff.
- Mr. Knight assisted in the defense of a non-maritime employer in an employment discrimination case. The Firm obtained a favorable summary judgment for its client and the plaintiff appealed to the Thirteenth Court of Appeals. Mr. Knight authored the appellate briefs for our client, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims. The Court’s decision may be found at 2008 WL 4667545.
Significant Transactional Experience
Mr. Knight also assists clients with non-litigation issues related to the admiralty and maritime law. Representative matters include:
- The sale of vessels;
- Flagging of vessels as well as regulatory compliance;
- Drafting and negotiation of bills of lading, contracts of carriage, and charter parties between clients and third parties;
- Demurrage issues; and
- Perfection of maritime liens and mineral liens.
- "When Does a Jones Act Seaman Stop Being a Jones Act Seaman?," The Texas Lawyer, June 2015.
- “Legal perspectives: issues to consider in offshore rig movement,” Offshore Magazine, June 2013.
- "McCorpen 101 for Lawyers," Texas Lawyer, July 2013
- "Commentary: Work with Witnesses to Fix Demeanor Issues," Texas Lawyer, December 2012
- "Using 'The Art of War' in Deposition Preparation," Texas Lawyer, March 2012
- "Three Lessons from Two Trials for One Great Performance," Texas Lawyer, October 2011
- "Salty Medical Bills? Applying Haygood v. de Escabedo to Admiralty Cases in Texas," Texas Lawyer, August 2011
- "Current Issues in Longshore & Harbor Workers' Compensation Act Claims: Defense Base Act Indemnity Benefits and War Hazards Compensation Act Relief," Presented at the 15th Annual University of Texas School of Law Admiralty & Maritime Law Conference, Houston Texas, September 2006. Co-author
- Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo (Life Member).
- Member (2010-2013) and Chair (2011-2012), Missions Committee, First Presbyterian Church, Houston.
- Member (2013-2016) and Chair (2014-2015) of the Permanent Funds Committee, First Presbyterian Church, Houston.
- Board of Directors member and Secretary of the Greater Houston Senior Football Showcase (2012-present).
- Life Member, Texas Exes (2000-present).
- Texas Bar Association
- Houston Bar Association
- Propeller Club
- Houston Mariner's Club
- Associate Member, Maritime Law Association of the United States
- Attorneys from Six Practice Areas Receive Coveted RecognitionMarch 18, 2016
- The Texas Lawyer, June 2015
- Seven Attorneys from Four Practice Areas Receive Prestigious RecognitionMarch 2015
- September 2014
- Up-and-Coming Attorneys Chosen by Their Peers in Rigorous Selection ProcessMarch 13, 2014
- Clients and Peers Recognize Attorneys Spanning Five Practice AreasAugust 2013