Kidwell, Susan

Susan A. Kidwell

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Susan A. Kidwell, a former briefing attorney for the Texas Supreme Court, has practiced in Locke Lord's Appellate Group for more than 18 years. During that time, she has handled nearly 100 appeals, including 25 in which she has presented oral argument. Susan also has an active practice representing insurers in first- and third-party coverage disputes. In addition, she has spoken at numerous CLEs on topics including state and federal appeals, summary judgments, exhaustion of administrative remedies, standards of review in administrative appeals, arbitration and personal jurisdiction.

Susan A. Kidwell, a former briefing attorney for the Texas Supreme Court, has practiced in Locke Lord's Appellate Group for more than 18 years. During that time, she has handled nearly 100 appeals, including 25 in which she has presented oral argument. Susan also has an active practice representing insurers in first- and third-party coverage disputes. In addition, she has spoken at numerous CLEs on topics including state and federal appeals, summary judgments, exhaustion of administrative remedies, standards of review in administrative appeals, arbitration and personal jurisdiction.

Susan’s representative experience includes:

Administrative Law

Susan has handled a variety of appeals from administrative orders, including orders issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), Texas Commission on Lawyer Discipline, Public Utility Commision of Texas (PUC) and local county appraisal districts. See, e.g., Tex. Comm’n on Envtl. Quality v. Brazos Valley Energy, LLC, 62 Tex. Sup. Ct. J. 943 (Tex. May 3, 2019); Southwestern Bell Tel. Co., L.P. v. Mitchell, 276 ‎S.W.3d 443 (Tex. 2007).

Arbitration

Susan has represented clients in numerous appeals involving arbitration matters, including appeals of orders confirming and denying multimillion-dollar arbitration awards, original proceedings to compel arbitration against non-signatories to the arbitration agreement, and original proceedings and appeals to enforce arbitrator-selection provisions. See, e.g., Americo Life, Inc. v. Myer, 356 S.W.3d 496 (Tex. 2011); In re Serv. Corp. Int'l, 355 S.W.3d 655 (Tex. 2011); In re Weekley Homes, L.P., 180 ‎S.W.3d 127 (Tex. 2005).

Statutory Construction

Susan has significant experience in appeals involving statutory construction matters, including first-impression questions on insurance, workers' compensation and tax issues. See, e.g., El Paso Healthcare Sys., Ltd. v. Murphy, 518 S.W.3d 412 (Tex. 2017); Waldschmidt v. Reassure America Life Ins. Co., 271 S.W.3d 173 (Tenn. 2008).

Insurance/Contract Construction

Susan has represented clients in disputes regarding the interpretation of written documents, including insurance policies, deed restrictions and contracts. See, e.g., Transverse LLC v. Iowa Wireless Servs, 992 F.3d 336 (5th Cir. 2021) (contract construction); Autobuses Lucano Inc. v. Lexington Ins. Co., 256 Fed. App'x 682 (5th Cir. 2007) (insurance policy).

Mortgage Appeals

Susan has handled numerous state and federal appeals arising from mortgage litigation, including challenges to the validity of foreclosure proceedings, assignments of security instruments and home-equity loans governed by the Texas Constitution. See, e.g., Germain v. US Bank Nat’l Ass’n, 920 F.3d 269 (5th Cir. 2019); Kirschner v. Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Co., 896 F.3d 337 (5th Cir. 2018).

Personal Jurisdiction

Susan also has significant experience at both the trial and appellate levels in matters challenging the power of courts to exercise personal jurisdiction over out-of-state defendants. See, e.g., Levi v. Morrison & Foerster, LLP, 2018 WL 5603189 (Cal. App. 2018); Spir Star AG v. Kimich, 310 S.W.3d 868 (Tex. 2010).

Amicus Support

Susan has prepared amicus briefs in important cases before the Supreme Court of the United States and the Supreme Court of Texas. See, e.g., Brief of Amici Curiae Am. Bankers Ass’n et al., Provident Savings Bank, FSB v. McKeen-Chaplin, No. 17-371 (U.S. 2017, cert. denied) (FLSA overtime status of mortgage underwriters); Brief of Amicus Curiae Raise Your Hand Texas, Morath v. Tex. Taxpayer & Student Fairness Coalition, 490 S.W.3d 826 (Tex. 2016) (constitutionality of Texas school finance system).

Reported Decisions
  • Transverse L.L.C. v. Iowa Wireless Servs., 992 F.3d 336 (5th Cir. 2021)
  • W. Mktg., Inc. v. AEG Petroleum, LLC, 616 S.W.3d 903 (Tex. App.—Amarillo 2021, pet. filed)
  • Tex. Comm’n on Envtl. Quality v. Brazos Valley Energy, LLC, 582 S.W.3d 277 (Tex. 2019)
  • Germain v. US Bank Nat’l Ass’n, 920 F.3d 269 (5th Cir. 2019)
  • Kirschner v. Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Co., 896 F.3d 337 (5th Cir. 2018)
  • El Paso Healthcare Sys., Ltd. v. Murphy, 518 S.W.3d 412 (Tex. 2017)
  • Marina Pacifica Homeowners Ass’n v. S. Cal. Fin. Corp., 11 Cal.App.5th 54 (Cal. App. 2017)
  • Americo Life, Inc. v. Myer, 440 S.W.3d 18 (Tex. 2014)
  • Americo Life, Inc. v. Myer, 356 S.W.3d 496 (Tex. 2011)
  • In re Serv. Corp. Int’l, 355 S.W.3d 655 (Tex. 2011)
  • Meyer v. Christie, 634 F.3d 1152 (10th Cir. 2011)
  • ERI Consulting Eng’rs v. Swinnea, 318 S.W.3d 867 (Tex. 2010)
  • Peavey Elec. Corp. v. Baan U.S.A., Inc., 10 So.3d 945 (Miss. App. 2009)
  • Waldschmidt v. Reassure America Life Ins. Co., 271 S.W.3d 173 (Tenn. 2008)
  • Southwestern Bell Tel. Co., L.P. v. Mitchell, 276 S.W.3d 443 (Tex. 2007)
  • Cluck v. Comm’n for Lawyer Discipline, 214 S.W.3d 736 (Tex. App.—Austin 2007, no pet.)
  • Myer v. Americo Life, Inc., 469 F.3d 731 (8th Cir. 2006
  • In re Weekley Homes, L.P., 180 S.W.3d 127 (Tex. 2005)
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CREDENTIALS
Education
  • J.D.,

    with honors

    , The University of Texas School of Law, 2001
  • Ph.D., Musicology, The University of Texas at Austin, 1993
  • M.M., Music History, Northwestern University, 1984
  • B.A., Music and Economics,

    with high honors

    , Wesleyan University, 1982
Bar Admissions
  • Texas, 2001
  • California, 2016
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
Board Certifications
    • Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (2009-Present)
Professional Affiliations
    • Member, State Bar of Texas
    • Member, Austin Bar Association, Civil Appellate Section
      • Chair-Elect, Civil Appellate Section
    • Member, Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel
Awards & Recognitions
    • Named, Texas Super Lawyers®, Appellate (2020)
    • Named, The Best Lawyers in America®, Appellate (2019-2021)
    • Recipient, Pro Bono Attorney Award, Travis County Women Lawyers’ ‎Association (2019)
    • Named, Super Lawyers® Texas Rising Star, Appellate (2006-2011)
Community Leadership
    • Member of Board of Directors and Past President, Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas
    • Member, Adult and Evensong Choirs of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd
    • Instructor, Third Coast Martial Arts
Professional History
    • Partner, Locke Lord
    • Law Clerk, Late Justice James A. Baker, Texas Supreme Court (2001-2002)