Candace A. Ourso

As a Gulf Coast native and the daughter of a career marine-insurance claims adjuster, Candace Ourso was introduced to the insurance and legal industries at a very young age. After law school, she naturally followed her maritime roots and found a home amongst some of Houston’s most well-respected and successful admiralty and trial lawyers. International marine disasters forced her to learn quickly that effective crisis management hinges upon critical analysis and smart decisions made in record time. And she still carries coveralls and steel-toe boots in the back of her car.

After six years in the marine industry, Candace was introduced to the London Energy Market and fell in love all over again. She now focuses on a variety of complex energy insurance coverage issues involving domestic and foreign insurers, energy-related subrogation matters, admiralty/maritime cases and excess-liability coverage issues. She has represented insurers on hundreds of coverage matters including physical damage, operator’s extra expense, builder’s risk, specialty drilling equipment, pollution and political risk. 

Candace recognizes that her clients are not in the legal business. With that in mind, she has spent her career reviewing their insurance contracts, learning their business practices, considering the value of their relationships, and listening to their commercial needs. Because the path to resolution means something different to each client, she knows it is imperative to understand where a client wants to go and then to work tirelessly to get there. Clients appreciate and respect the dedication and energy she devotes to each case as if it were her only.

Experience
  • Represented Lloyd’s syndicates, foreign and domestic underwriters and reviewed hundreds of energy package policies for coverage; managed dozens of coverage cases in litigation in Texas and Louisiana; advised on numerous cases involving excess-liability coverage; and defended dozens of oil-and-gas personal injury and Jones Act cases.
  • Trial counsel for Jones Act employer sued for personal injury damages in Beaumont, Texas; settled after first day of trial.
  • Trial counsel for Lloyd’s and foreign insurers in a lawsuit brought by an operator for horizontal well redrill expense and successful resolution of coverage dispute at mediation.
  • Represented Lloyd’s in four claims made by well operator who lost leased drilling equipment worth $1.2 million downhole; successfully resolved coverage litigation involving a specialty drilling equipment policy and bankrupt insured.
  • Represented domestic, excess liability insurer in declaratory judgment action and subsequent breach-of-contract litigation relating to $40 million in Hurricane Ike damage to hundreds of offshore facilities and related debris-removal expense.
  • Represented Lloyd’s and London insurers through years of litigation, one week of trial and negotiation of a resolution of $600 million post-hurricane OEE coverage dispute.
  • Trial counsel for Lloyd’s and other companies in successful $500,000 subrogation recovery after a vessel allision with an oil well and related pollution near Venice, Louisiana.
  • Advised Japanese insurer on the intricacies and coverage implications of the Making Wells Safe endorsement to well-control coverage.
  • Participated in federal court trial on behalf of domestic insurer involving multi-million-dollar coverage and bad-faith dispute over an underground blowout in Texas and available control-of-well and redrill coverage.
Success
  • Trial counsel for defendant in Jones Act lawsuit; trial court found defendant negligent and liable; Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and rendered on the issue of negligence (Harrison v. Seariver Maritime, Inc., 61 Fed. Appx. 119 (5th Cir. 2003).
  • Trial counsel for Lloyd’s and foreign insurance companies in claims arising from well blowout and redrill coverage under an energy package policy. Federal trial court granted partial summary judgment in favor of underwriters on the issue of the policy’s deadline to redrill (Goodrich Operating Co., Inc. v. Burnett & Co., Inc., No. G-05-336, 2006 WL 1118137, S.D. Tex. April 24, 2006). The case then proceeded to trial in state court resulting in a take-nothing jury verdict in favor of Underwriters.
  • As U.S. counsel, represented Lloyd’s excess insurers involving a near-shore well loss after heavy rains caused the Rio Grande, Bolivia to flood and overflow. The claim for loss of production income proceeded to arbitration in Bolivia and resulted in take-nothing award in favor of excess insurers.
  • Trial counsel for Lloyd’s involving plaintiff’s claim of post-Hurricane Rita offshore property damage under OEE coverage; Texas district court granted summary judgment in favor of Underwriters, which was affirmed by Texas First Court of Appeals (Prime Natural Resources, Inc. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, et al., No. 01-11-00995-CV, 2015 WL 1457534, March 26, 2015).
Education
  • South Texas College of Law, J.D., 1997
  • Baylor University, B.B.A, 1994 (Delta Sigma Pi, Student Foundation)
Admissions
  • Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of Texas

Awards/Rankings
  • National Champion, William F. Starr National Insurance Law Moot Court Competition, 1996
  • National Champion, National Moot Court Competition in Information Technology & Privacy Law, 1997
  • National Champion, ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition, 1997
  • National Member of the Order of the Barristers
Community Involvement
  • Museum of Fine Arts Houston
  • Salvation Army Residence (Houston)
  • Boston Terrier Rescue of Greater Houston
  • Associates Circle, Alley Theatre
  • Mercury – The Orchestra Redefined
  • Carnegie Vanguard High School PTO
Memberships
  • American Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Texas Bar Association
  • Houston Bar Association
  • Council Member State Bar of Texas Insurance Law Section, 2014-2016 (Asst. Editor, State Bar of Texas Insurance Law Section Journal – 2014-2016; Chairman, Digital Outreach Committee – 2015-2016)
  • Planning Committee for 19th and 20th Annual Insurance Law Institute, 2014-2015
  • Lillehammer Energy Claims Conference (2014, 2015)
  • Houston Mariner’s Club
  • Bronze Member, Baylor Alumni Association
Publications
  • Insurance Lessons from the Oil Patch, 19th Annual Insurance Law Institute, 2014 (co-author)
  • Offshore Energy Insurance Building a Program, 18th Congress of the IIDM and MLA Fall Meeting, Puerto Rico, 2013 (co-author)
  • The Texas Insurance Law Guide – Basic Solutions to Contemporary Liability Insurance Problems, American Lawyer Media, LMA, LLC, 2008 (co-author)
  • Notice-Prejudice Under Texas Law, South Texas Law Journal, 50 S.Tex.L.Rev., 2008 (co-author)
  • Good Faith and Reasonable Consent Judgments: Gandy Does Not Answer All The Questions, 48 S.Tex.L.Rev., 2007 (co-author)
Outside the Office

What I do when not practicing law
When not at the office, Candace is most comfortable with her family, a long plane ride, a good book and hours of music. She enjoys reading character-driven fiction, the odd biography of a social misfit or inventor and grammar books; listening to great folk and country songwriters; and napping with Oliver, her Boston Terrier.

I am passionate about
Photography, journal writing, bluegrass and baroque music, and French cheeses. Candace is classically trained on the piano and has been known to belt out a Broadway show tune or two.

I am a fanatic about
Writing thank you notes—just ask her kids.