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James Freeman is a Partner in Zabel Freeman and has been practicing law since 1996. James has over twelve years of litigation experience and has been a partner in Zabel Freeman since its inception in June 2006. James' practice has focused and continues to focus primarily on cases involving energy, land, oil and gas, real estate, contractual disputes and eminent domain.

James' clients include major and independent gas utility and common carrier pipeline companies, trucking companies, oil and gas companies, service companies and individuals. James began his legal practice in Galveston, Texas, specializing in insurance defense litigation, including, personal injury, medical malpractice and environmental litigation. In 1998, James joined a small litigation firm in Houston, Texas, specializing in commercial and business litigation. In 2006, James and Tom Zabel formed Zabel Freeman. Since that time, James' primary focus has been on commercial litigation, including, eminent domain, real estate, oil and gas, toxic tort and environmental.

James has been selected as a 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 Texas Rising Star, Texas Super Lawyers Rising Star Edition, in Energy & Natural Resources by Texas Monthly magazine.



South Texas College of Law, J.D., 1996
- Magna Cum Laude

- Member South Texas Law Review
Sam Houston State University, B.S., 1992

- Cum Laude


State Bar of Texas, 1996
US District Court for the Western District of Texas
US District Court for the Southern District of Texas


Prenatal Substance Abuse: Texas, Texans and Future Texans Can't Afford It, 37 S. Tex. L. Rev. 539 (1996).


Eminent Domain Procedures and the Pipeline Corridor Theory
November 9, 2006
North Texas GPA Annual Meeting and Keynote Luncheon


International Right-of-Way Association, Member


Successfully defended a Motion to Dismiss and obtained a Remand to State Court for Want of Subject Matter Jurisdiction for an ERISA Cause of Action. See Apffel v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, 972 F. Supp. 396 (S.D. Tex. 1997).


Obtained favorable judgment for an oil and gas production company against a landowner that locked the client out of its oil and gas lease claiming that the lease had expired for cessation of operations. After several days of trial, the Court entered judgment that the oil and gas lease had not expired, issued a permanent injunction prohibiting landowner from further interfering with clients access and operations, and awarded client over one hundred sixty thousand dollars ($160,000) in attorney's fees.

Obtained summary judgment in a suit for breach of contract, in which Grantor claimed that a manufacturing company had not fully complied with the terms of a note for the purchase of property and had refused to release the vendor's lien. The Court entered a declaratory judgment that the note had been fully and completely satisfied and awarded client sixty-five thousand dollars ($65,000) in attorney's fees. Appellees appealed the Court's ruling to the Houston Court of Appeals, which appeal was dismissed.

Obtained favorable settlement in a toxic tort claim involving forty-nine plaintiffs for alleged exposure to Methylenedianiline in which Plaintiff's initial claim for damages was in excess of twenty-four million dollars ($24,000,000) and initial settlement demand was for policy limits of two million dollars ($2,000,000). After successfully arguing for the entry of a Lone Pine Order and obtaining an Order sanctioning Plaintiff's counsel two thousand dollars ($2,000) for discovery abuse, the case was settled for approximately one and one half percent (1.5%) of Plaintiff's initial claim for damages.

Obtained summary judgment in a suit in which plaintiff claimed the sole owner of a Texas company was liable for fraud and as the alter ego of the Texas company. The Court entered summary judgment on plaintiff's claims and awarded owner his attorney's fees for Plaintiff's frivolous pleadings. The entire case settled thereafter for payment by Plaintiff's insurance carrier to Defendants of the award for sanctions.

Represented an environmental remediation company in a twenty million dollar ($20,000,000) stock purchase agreement for the acquisition of 100% of the outstanding shares of the company, which included an earn-out based on the distribution of EBITDA from the post-closing pooled businesses and key managers employment agreements.

Represented a client in the negotiations for the acquisition of a license agreement for a patented process in forming and tapering cylindrical poles.

Obtained dismissal for a gold and diamond wholesaler, a Michigan corporation, in a breach of contract dispute brought in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas Houston Division for lack of personal jurisdiction.

Obtained favorable settlement for a transportation company in an eighteen wheeler accident in which Plaintiff demanded over $350,000 in damages. After three days of trial, the case was settled for less than three percent (3%) of Plaintiff's demand.

Successfully defended a Motion to Dismiss for lack of capacity under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 17(b) and Colorado Statute 7-8-122 in a cause of action brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. (CERCLA).

Obtained summary judgment in a wrongful death case brought against a doctor for alleged medical malpractice. The Court dismissed the doctor from the case finding that the doctor did not breach the standard of care and that plaintiff's death was not caused by the Doctor's treatment.

Obtained summary judgment in a forcible entry and detainer action, in which Lessors claimed that an oil and gas facilities lease had terminated. The Court entered a declaratory judgment that the lease had not terminated and awarded client forty thousand dollars ($40,000) in attorney's fees.

Has successfully obtained numerous restraining orders and injunctions for pipeline companies and oil and gas clients seeking access without interference from surface owners to their easements and/or leaseholds to conduct operations.

Has handled hundreds of condemnation cases on behalf of numerous common carriers and gas utilities involving properties in South, Central, East, North, and West Texas.

Has handled over one hundred commissioner's hearings to acquire permanent and temporary easements on behalf of numerous common carriers and gas utilities and gas corporations.

Obtained a favorable settlement for an individual in a case brought against his homebuilder for damages caused as a result of foundation failure. As the case was being prepared for trial, the case settled for five hundred fifty thousand dollars ($550,000).

Obtained dismissal for a Texas oil and gas production company, in a breach of contract dispute brought in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, for lack of personal jurisdiction.

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