Ryan P. Bates

Ryan P. BatesOf Counsel to the Firm, Ryan’s practice focuses on appellate and complex commercial litigation. He has served as lead counsel in numerous appellate matters before the United States Supreme Court, and the Fifth, Sixth, and Tenth Circuits.

Ryan graduated summa cum laude from Duke Law School, where he received the Willis Smith Award for best academic record and the Faculty Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Constitutional Law and Civil Rights. While at Duke, he served as Articles Editor of the Duke Law Journal and as Speaker Series Editor for the inaugural volume of the Duke Journal of Constitutional Law and Public Policy, and he was elected to the Order of the Coif. After graduating, he clerked for the Honorable David M. Ebel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. From 2007 to 2013, Ryan practiced with the appellate practice group of Yetter Coleman LLP. Prior to attending law school, Ryan led project teams in both software development efforts and consulting engagements across a variety of industries during seven years as a specialist in information technology.


Representative Matters:

  • Ricci v. DeStefano (S.Ct., Nos. 07-1428, 08-328); In re Ricci (S.Ct., No. 10-1558; 2d Cir., No. 11-703)* – Drafted petition for certiorari and briefs on the merits in case involving city’s refusal to certify civil-service promotional lists because of race of successful candidates and fear of potential disparate-impact liability. Recruited amici and amicus counsel and coordinated positions of multiple amicus briefs. In Second Circuit and subsequent Supreme Court case, sought mandamus relief to enforce terms of the Supreme Court’s original mandate.
  • Nw. Austin Mun. Util. Dist. No. 1 v. Holder (S.Ct., No. 08-322)* – Drafted jurisdictional statement and briefs on the merits in case challenging, under the City of Boerne congruence-and-proportionality test, congressional authority to reenact Voting Rights Act in 2006 using same coverage formula and extending preclearance requirement for 25 additional years.
  • Rothgery v. Gillespie County (S.Ct., No. 07-440)* – Drafted response brief on the merits in case addressing whether Sixth Circuit right to counsel attached so as to require appointment of counsel before arraignment proceeding and bail hearing mandated by Texas law.
  • Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, Inc. (S.Ct., No. 13-317) – On behalf of the Council of Institutional Investors and twenty major public pension funds, drafted amicus brief, cited at oral argument before the Supreme Court, arguing that the fraud-on-the-market presumption of reliance in securities-fraud cases established in Basic Inc. v. Levinson should be retained.
  • Trevino v. Thaler (S.Ct., No. 11-10189)* – On behalf of families of crime victims, drafted amicus brief arguing that the rule of Martinez v. Ryan, excusing procedural default of certain ineffective-assistance claims for habeas corpus, should not be extended to the Texas criminal system.
  • Janus Capital Group, Inc. v. First Derivative Traders (S.Ct., No. 09-525)* – On behalf of the Council of Institutional Investors, drafted amicus brief arguing that secondary actors should remain primarily liable under Rule 10b-5 for their own fraudulent statements and acts despite the absence of attribution.
  • Jimenez v. Texas (S.Ct., No. 12-117)* – Served as counsel of record on petition for certiorari raising question of what quantum of proof is required to prove a constitutional actual-innocence claim on state habeas review.
  • Beech v. Hercules Drilling Co., L.L.C. (S.Ct., No. 12-632)* – Served as counsel of record on petition for certiorari seeking review of whether only acts subjectively intended to further an employer’s business interests are within the course of employment for purposes of Jones Act liability.
  • Sanchez v. City of Austin (5th Cir., No. 13-50916; W.D. Tex., No. 11-cv-00993-LY) – Led five-person trial team in representing Occupy Austin protesters in §1983 suit against the City of Austin challenging, on First Amendment and procedural due process grounds, the city’s policy of banning arrested protestors from returning to City Hall, for any purpose, for as much as a year. After district court set it on an expedited schedule, prepared case for trial, including full discovery, in less than one month and first-chaired trial on the merits that successfully obtained a declaration that the challenged policy was facially unconstitutional and a permanent injunction against its further enforcement.
  • Bragg v. Edwards Aquifer Auth. (5th Cir., No. 08-50584; Tex. App.—San Antonio, No. 04-11-1816-CV); Edwards Aquifer Auth. v. Day (Tex., No. 08-0964)* – Represented small business owners in takings case against local water authority that denied permits for irrigation of pecan farm. On behalf of same owners, filed amicus brief in Texas Supreme Court case arguing that state law has always provided a vested interest in groundwater ownership, such that regulatory takings of groundwater rights can occur.
  • CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC v. Public Util. Comm’n of Tex. (Tex. App.—Austin, No. 03-11-00065-CV)*; CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC v. Public Util. Comm’n of Tex. (Tex. App.—Austin, No. 03-10-00633-CV) – Briefed administrative appeals challenging validity of agency’s rulemaking on required energy efficiency measures and agency’s misinterpretation and misapplication of different provision of same rule. Secured reversal of agency’s denial of multi-million-dollar rate increase as resulting from erroneous interpretation of agency’s own rule.
  • Port of Houston Auth. v. Aaron (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.], No. 01-12-00373-CV); Aaron v. Port of Houston Auth. (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.], No. 01-12-00640-CV)* – Briefed appeals arising out of class-action claims of takings and negligent nuisance by homeowners affected by proximity of Port Authority’s Bayport container terminal. Successfully persuaded appellate court to dismiss both matters on grounds of governmental immunity.
  • United States v. Miller (S.Ct., No. 09-467; 5th Cir., Nos. 08-50409, 09-50981; W.D. Tex., No. A-06-CR-125-LY)* – Appointed as pro bono counsel in direct criminal appeal challenging numerous unpreserved issues, including sufficiency of evidence to support conviction, multiplicitousness of convictions, and errors in Sentencing Guidelines application. Persuaded 5th Circuit panel to reverse on plain-error review based on multiplicitous convictions. Unsuccessfully petitioned for certiorari review of sufficiency point, arguing that the 5th Circuit’s standard of review improperly narrows Jackson v. Virginia and conflicts with the standard applied in other circuits. On remand, secured a five-year reduction in sentence for client, and successfully pursued second appeal challenging imposition of a substantial new fine at resentencing.
  • N.J. Carpenters Health Fund v. RALI Series 2006-Q01 Trust (2d Cir., No. 11-683); N.J. Carpenters Vacation Fund v. Harborview Mortg. Loan Trust 2006-4 (2d Cir., No. 11-684)* – On behalf of the Council of Institutional Investors, drafted amicus brief arguing that allowing varying degrees of investor sophistication and associated potential defenses to securities-fraud claims to defeat class certification on predominance grounds would unreasonably and unnecessarily vitiate the class action device in securities suits.
  • GeoMet Operating Co., Inc. v. CNX Gas Co., LLC (Va., No. 07-1609); GeoMet, Inc. v. CNX Gas Co., LLC (Va. Cir. Ct., No. CL07000065-00)* – In series of cases involving contest between two natural gas developers for control of a coalbed methane field in southwestern Virginia, drafted briefs on issues involving construction of contractual language and unlawful monopolization.
  • Koch v. Daniels (10th Cir., No. 07-6210)* – Appointed as pro bono counsel to represent prisoner in §1983 suit challenging Oklahoma’s alteration of parole eligibility criteria whose appeal had been erroneously dismissed for putative failure to comply with prisoner mailbox rule. Persuaded 10th Circuit panel to reinstate appeal and clarify correct procedures in published opinion.
  • LULAC v. City of Boerne (5th Cir., Nos. 10-50290, 10-50416, 10-50768; W.D. Tex., No. SA-96-CA-0808)* – Drafted motions and briefs on behalf of citizen seeking to challenge city council’s collusion with public-interest law firm to modify Voting Rights Act injunction governing city election methods to impose incumbent-favoring election method, in violation of state law requiring city to seek voter approval for such changes. Twice secured 5th Circuit decisions vacating trial court’s orders denying intervention and modifying the city’s governance structure without any evidence of a present violation of federal law, and forced city to present proposed changes to city electorate as required by state law.
  • Doe v. Tex. Dep’t of Pub. Safety (5th Cir., No. 10-50383)* – Drafted briefs and prepared argument in pro bono case in conjunction with Texas Civil Rights Project challenging DPS’s regulations imposing substantially greater burdens on lawfully present aliens without green cards (i.e, not lawfully permanent resident aliens) in getting driver’s licenses. On behalf of group of battered immigrant women pursuing LPR status under the Violence Against Women Act, argued that regulations were preempted by federal immigration law and VAWA and that Texas’s distinctions between LPR and non-LPR aliens were an alienage classification impermissible under the Equal Protection Clause.

* Representations undertaken while with a different firm.

Professional Associations:

  • Lloyd Lochridge Inn of Court
  • State Bar of Texas Pro Bono College
  • Austin Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • American Constitution Society

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