Dane Ball likes to get things done—yesterday—and brings that intensity and urgency to every aspect of his work. As a Partner in SKV’s White Collar Defense & Investigations practice, Mr. Ball has successfully represented individuals and companies in their most sensitive legal matters, including some of the highest-profile litigation of the past decade. Though his public victories have drawn acclaim, such as the not guilty verdict for the BP well site leader wrongfully blamed for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, he is equally proud of the discreet ways he has helped innocent clients avoid charges in an array of government investigations. From federal criminal trials or appeals to parallel criminal, civil, and administrative proceedings to a wide range of internal and government investigations, Mr. Ball has repeatedly achieved favorable outcomes for clients and along the way earned the respect of his peers and adversaries.
Mr. Ball is keenly aware of the high stakes for a company or individual involved in an investigation or white collar criminal case. Thus, he communicates frequently and openly with his clients to minimize surprises and bring control to an often-chaotic environment. Uniquely adept with both the big picture and small details, Mr. Ball focuses his practice on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and anti-corruption, environmental and industrial catastrophes, and alleged financial fraud.
Prior to attending law school, Mr. Ball was recruited to play Division 1 baseball for nationally-ranked Pepperdine University, where he became an all-conference player. He then translated the discipline he honed on the baseball diamond into success at law school, graduating summa cum laude from Pepperdine University School of Law. Mr. Ball began his career at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom after clerking for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Over the years, he has appeared on television and radio and been quoted in newspapers across the country, taught at University of Houston Law Center, and written about cutting-edge white collar issues for national publications.
Select Trial Court Work
Environmental & Industrial Catastrophes
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill — Not guilty. Mr. Ball served as trial counsel for BP's "well site leader" in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, including a company internal investigation; civil multi-district litigation; parallel administrative proceedings; and 23 federal criminal charges of manslaughter and Clean Water Act pollution. Over the course of 4 years of litigation, convinced court to dismiss 11 manslaughter charges before trial (affirmed on appeal), and the government itself dismissed 11 more. After a two-week trial on the remaining Clean Water Act charge, obtained a not guilty verdict after less than two hours of jury deliberation.
Black Elk Explosion in the Gulf of Mexico — 8 of 12 charges dismissed; trial pending. Mr. Ball is serving as defense counsel for an offshore contractor charged in the aftermath of the Black Elk explosion with manslaughter, violations of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, and a Clean Water Act violation. Successfully avoided the 8 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act charges after showing that the relevant statutes do not apply to offshore contractors.
Shaw Group / CB&I Merger Insider Trading — Not Guilty. Mr. Ball served as trial counsel for a businessman indicted for alleged insider trading following his purchase of stock before formal announcement of the merger. Obtained a verdict of not guilty on all charges.
BP Commodities Trading Scandal — Charges dismissed. Mr. Ball served as defense counsel for a BP commodities trader in a federal criminal case alleging 26 counts of commodities manipulation, cornering, and wire fraud. By showing that the Commodities Exchange Act did not apply to the alleged trades, obtained dismissal of all 26 counts, and the appellate court affirmed the dismissal.
Multimillion dollar mortgage fraud — Charges dismissed. Mr. Ball served as defense counsel for a mortgage broker in a federal criminal case charging 14 individuals with mortgage fraud and money laundering. The other 13 defendants pled guilty or cooperated. Three days before trial, secured a "deferred prosecution agreement," and the government later dismissed all charges.
Government & Internal Investigations
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act / Anti-Corruption
Successful representation of an individual in an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Homeland Security into alleged violations of the FCPA involving a foreign state-owned energy company. No charges filed.
Successful representation of a senior executive at a classification society in an investigation into alleged violations of the FCPA. No charges filed.
Successful representation of a senior executive at an oilfield services company in an investigation by DOJ into alleged bribery of public officials in the United States. No charges filed.
Successful representation of senior executives at oilfield services companies in separate investigations by DOJ into alleged illegal trading with sanctioned countries. No charges filed.
Environmental & Industrial Catastrophes
Successful representation of one of the nation's leading residential real estate companies in internal and grand jury investigations into alleged felony water pollution. Pretrial Intervention Agreement reached, calling for no criminal conviction.
Successful representation of employees at a chemical company in federal and state government investigations into the cause of an industrial accident. No charges filed.
Successful representation of a commercial construction company in an investigation by DOJ and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) into the death of a worker at a construction site. No charges filed.
Successful representation of numerous employees and shipping companies in separate investigations by DOJ, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) into alleged environmental violations offshore. No charges filed.
Currently representing a large privately held company in an investigation by DOJ's Antitrust Division into alleged price fixing.
Successful representation of a senior executive at an energy infrastructure services company in investigations by the company, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA) into alleged insider trading and failure to report insider trades. No charges filed.
Successful representation of an executive at an industrial manufacturing company in an investigation by DOJ into alleged financial fraud against an oil company. No charges filed.
Successful representation of a public charter school in an investigation by DOJ, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) into alleged financial fraud. No charges filed.
Successful representation of an individual in an investigation by DOJ, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and IRS into alleged financial fraud in the athletic department of a public university. No charges filed.
Successful representation of a senior executive at a technology manufacturer in an investigation by DOJ into alleged theft of trade secrets from a competitor. No charges filed.
Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers, 2018
Top Lawyer, H Texas, 2016-Present
Future Star, Benchmark Litigation, 2016-Present
Outstanding Young Lawyer, Texas Monthly, 2016-Present
Under 40 Hot List, Benchmark Litigation, 2016-Present
Super Lawyers Rising Star, Thomson Reuters, 2014-Present
United States District Court for the Southern, Northern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Member
American Bar Association, Member
Television and Radio Appearances:
Fact or Fiction: Local Attorney Talks "Deepwater Horizon" Film, KHOU 11 News (Sept. 30, 2016)
Reasonable Doubt, Houston Media Source (July 14, 2016)
All Things Considered, National Public Radio - 88.7 (various dates)
Judge to Rule on Dismissing Some Charges Against Rep. Dawnna Dukes, The Texas Tribune (March 9, 2017)
Blowout, Texas Monthly (October 2016)
Big Wins with Expert Witnesses: 6 Lessons From Attorneys, The Expert Institute (June 7, 2016)
FuelFX, SKV Deliver Virtual Environments for Real-World Justice, Business Wire (March 30, 2015)
Improving "Willful Blindness" Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases after High Court's Decision in Global-Tech, BNA Criminal Law Reporter (June 2011)
Repackaging Skilling-Barred Fraud Theories: A Form of Damage Control That Goes Too Far, BNA White Collar Crime Report (October 2010)
Ending a Decade of Federal Prosecutorial Abuse in the Corporate Criminal Charging Decision, 9 WYO. L. REV. (2009)
Thornton v. United States: Blurring Belton's Bright Line Rule Spells Disaster for Lower Courts and the Fourth Amendment, 35 SW. U. L. REV. (2005)
Not Guilty: The Roberts Insider Trading Aquittal, Houston Bar Association Seminars (October 2017)
The 5 Biggest Problems in Criminal Law Today, Houston Bar Association Seminars (November 2016)
Not Guilty: The Deepwater Horizon Criminal Trials, Business Crimes for Criminal and Civil Lawyers (October 2016)
Deepwater Horizon: Reflections on Navigating High-Profile Criminal Investigations and Trials, Houston Bar Association Criminal Law & Procedure Section (August 2016)
Anti-Corruption Law & Policy, University of Houston Law Center (2011)
Education & Clerkship
Pepperdine University School of Law
J.D., summa cum laude
Associate Editor, Pepperdine Law Review
Honors Trial Team
Hon. Harold R. DeMoss, Jr.
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
Gerger & Clarke
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan