Daniel L. Geyser

Partner

Dallas

Direct: 214.396.6634
Email: daniel.geyser@strismaher.com

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Daniel L. Geyser leads the firm’s nationally recognized U.S. Supreme Court and Appellate Practice. He routinely handles high-profile appeals in courts across the country, focusing on high-stakes appellate and constitutional litigation.

Mr. Geyser has briefed and argued major business appeals in a wide variety of areas, including constitutional law (both individual rights and structural issues), bankruptcy, consumer protection, ERISA, intellectual property (especially patents), arbitration, attorneys’ fees, class actions, free speech, civil rights, administrative law, federal jurisdiction, federal preemption, antitrust, sovereign immunity, products liability, securities, and taxation. He regularly handles cases in the Supreme Court of the United States, and has handled matters in nearly every federal court of appeals. On behalf of plaintiffs, Mr. Geyser has briefed cases and crafted legal strategy in matters generating over a half-billion dollars in recovery. On behalf of defendants, Mr. Geyser has obtained reversal or preserved victories in a sweeping range of business disputes.

Mr. Geyser also handles high-stakes appeals in state courts, including arguing six times in the Texas Supreme Court. He was recently retained by trial counsel to serve as lead appellate counsel defending the largest jury verdict against a debt collector in Maryland history. He has already preserved the verdict on the merits, and protected $25 million of damages against post-judgment motions filed by a high-powered defense team, including the former Attorney General of Maryland.

From 2007-2011, Mr. Geyser served in the Office of the Solicitor General of Texas, where he conducted and supervised appellate litigation for the State. In addition to handling his own docket, he advised other divisions on appellate and trial strategy. In his last week on the job, Mr. Geyser argued one of the State’s most important cases in recent memory before the Texas Supreme Court—a constitutional attack on the public’s historic access to open beaches; he earlier won “a rare motion to rehear the case” (Austin American-Statesman, 2011). The same week, Mr. Geyser also won a major case in the U.S. Supreme Court involving Congress’s spending power and state sovereignty; he wrote the State’s briefs in that case and crafted its core legal theories and appellate strategy. During his tenure, Mr. Geyser was a three-time winner of the National Association of Attorneys General’s Best Brief Award for excellence in brief-writing before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Prior to his government service, Mr. Geyser practiced at an elite appellate boutique in Washington, D.C., and with a top appellate team in Los Angeles. He has received the State Bar of California’s Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services and is a past appointee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Pro Bono Panel.

Mr. Geyser graduated Phi Beta Kappa, with honors and distinction, from Stanford University, and with honors from Harvard Law School, where he was the Notes Chair of the Harvard Law Review, a best-brief winner and oralist on the championship team of Harvard’s moot-court competition, and a research assistant to Professor Laurence H. Tribe, working on his academic writing and appellate docket. After law school, Mr. Geyser clerked for the Hon. Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Mr. Geyser routinely serves as lead appellate counsel in a wide range of complex and high-profile disputes. The matters below are representative of his experience.

Bankruptcy Litigation
America's Servicing Co. v. Schwartz-Tallard (In re Schwartz-Tallard) [Read more here]
Mr. Geyser served as lead appellate counsel for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) in this major case regarding attorney’s fees under the Bankruptcy Code. In adopting Mr. Geyser’s position (and citing his brief), the Ninth Circuit agreed (10-1) to overrule one of its past decisions, eliminate a circuit split, and restore the Code’s protections for thousands of debtors. Mr. Geyser briefed and argued the matter before the en banc Court. (Ninth Circuit Opinion | Oral Argument Video [Mr. Geyser’s presentation begins at 35:55])

In re Wilshire Courtyard
Mr. Geyser developed the legal theories and handled the briefing in this complex bankruptcy dispute. California sought nearly $20 million in purported tax liability arising from a Chapter 11 plan for two commercial office buildings. The case presented cutting-edge issues involving federal preemption, state taxes, and bankruptcy jurisdiction. Mr. Geyser obtained a reversal in the Ninth Circuit of the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (BAP), and then obtained a complete victory on remand before the BAP. Mr. Geyser’s work eliminated the entirety of the purported tax liability for his clients. (Ninth Circuit Opinion | Our Opening Brief | Our Reply)

Southwest Securities, FSB v. Segner
Mr. Geyser and the firm were retained to seek U.S. Supreme Court review in this exceptionally important bankruptcy appeal. The case asks who bears the cost of ordinary maintenance on secured property during the pendency of a bankruptcy case—the estate or the secured lender? This question has squarely divided the federal courts of appeals, and it arises in virtually every major bankruptcy. Mr. Geyser is counsel of record on the petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review this important question. (Petition | Petition Reply)
Consumer And Class Litigation
Finch v. LVNV Funding LLC
Mr. Geyser and the firm have been retained to defend the largest jury verdict against a debt collector in Maryland history. LVNV is one of the largest debt buyers in the United States. For a period of years, it filed thousands of actions against Maryland consumers without obtaining a mandatory license under Maryland law. After a full trial, the jury ordered LVNV to pay back the class of injured consumers and disgorge LVNV’s profits from the wrongfully collected funds. Working with trial counsel, Mr. Geyser and the firm convinced the trial court to uphold all findings on liability, and preserved $25 million of the original damages award. Mr. Geyser will now take the lead on appeal; LVNV has retained an all-star team, including the former Attorney General of Maryland, to oppose us. (Post-Trial Opposition)

Birtchman v. LVNV Funding LLCMartel v. LVNV Funding, LLCTorres v. Cavalry SPV I, LLCBroadrick v. LVNV Funding, LLC (In re Broadrick)Nelson v. Midland Credit Mgmt., Inc.Johnson v. Midland Funding LLC [Read more here]
Mr. Geyser serves as lead appellate counsel in a series of cases challenging a billion-dollar debt-collection practice. These cases arise at the intersection of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Bankruptcy Code. Debt collectors buy time-barred debt for pennies on the dollar, and then seek to recover that debt in consumer bankruptcies—without disclosing to the participants or the courts that the debt is unenforceable. Mr. Geyser and the firm have orchestrated a nationwide appellate strategy for litigating these important issues at the circuit level and eventually the U.S. Supreme Court. (Broadrick Opening Brief | Broadrick Reply Brief | Nelson Rehearing Petition | Johnson Opinion | Birtchman Oral Argument)

Microsoft v. Baker [Read more here]
Mr. Geyser took a leading role in briefing and crafting the legal theories and strategy in this foundational case about class-action procedure. The firm represents a putative class of consumers alleging that Microsoft’s popular Xbox360 console scratches game discs during ordinary use. The case is broadly recognized as the most important case involving class actions on the U.S. Supreme Court’s October Term 2016 docket. (Merits Brief)

Garfield v. Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC
Mr. Geyser was retained by NACBA to brief and argue this major consumer-protection case as amicus curiae before the Second Circuit. The debtor sued Ocwen under the FDCPA for attempting to collect a debt that had been discharged in a prior bankruptcy. The district court dismissed the action as barred by the Bankruptcy Code, but Mr. Geyser convinced the Second Circuit to reverse. In reviving the lawsuit, the panel limited its past precedent and held that the Code did not supplant the FDCPA. This issue has split the circuits, and the Second Circuit’s ruling has broad practical and jurisprudential significance in multiple settings. (Opinion)
Constitutional Litigation
Sossamon v. Texas
Mr. Geyser was the lead architect of all briefing and appellate strategy in this landmark case involving Congress’s spending power and state sovereignty. In his last week in government service, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a winning 6-2 decision, largely tracking the arguments in Mr. Geyser’s brief. (Supreme Court Opinion | Merits Brief)

Severance v. Patterson
On certified questions from the Fifth Circuit, Mr. Geyser argued, and after winning “a rare motion to rehear the case” (Austin American-Statesman), re-argued one of Texas’s most important cases in recent memory—a takings challenge to the public’s historic access to open beaches. Mr. Geyser represented the Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office before the Fifth Circuit and the Texas Supreme Court. (First Oral Argument Video [Mr. Geyser’s presentation begins at 16:45 (audio) and 17:09 (video)] | Second Oral Argument Audio [Mr. Geyser’s presentation begins at 19:52] )

Rhine v. Deaton
Mr. Geyser was the lead author of Texas’s invitation brief in this historic case, marking the first time the U.S. Supreme Court called for a state solicitor general to file a brief expressing the views of a State. The petition raised federal questions concerning the due-process rights of indigent parties in parental-termination proceedings, and challenged the entire Texas statutory framework, on equal-protection grounds, for appointing counsel in those cases. The U.S. Supreme Court adopted the recommendation in Texas’s brief and denied review. (Successful Invitation Brief)

Dollar Gen. Corp. v. Miss. Band of Choctaw Indians [Read more here]
Mr. Geyser worked with a team of firm lawyers in preparing an amicus brief on behalf of Mississippi and a coalition of States. The case presented a critical question regarding the scope of tribal jurisdiction: whether Indian tribal courts were authorized to adjudicate civil-tort claims against nonmembers. The firm’s brief was joined by Mississippi, Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, and Washington—marking the first time that any State has supported a finding of tribal jurisdiction in a major case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Our side prevailed before an equally divided Court. (Our Brief)

Parties Confidential
Mr. Geyser took the lead in developing a comprehensive constitutional challenge to state laws limiting the ability of non-residents to participate on equal terms in the local marijuana marketplace. Mr. Geyser’s work helped convince legislators to pass or amend laws eliminating the challenged restrictions for non-resident individuals and businesses.
Commercial Litigation
Merrill Lynch v. Manning [Read more here]
In May 2016, the firm prevailed before the U.S. Supreme Court in this important securities-jurisdiction case. We represent a group of investors who sued several major financial institutions in New Jersey state court for violations of New Jersey law. The suit alleges that the defendants’ illegal practices precipitated a loss of over $800 million in investor value. Led by Merrill Lynch, the financial institutions argued that the federal securities laws required the case to be brought exclusively in federal court. Writing for the Court, Justice Kagan adopted one basis for affirmance of the decision below advanced by our firm. Concurring in the judgment, Justice Thomas (joined by Justice Sotomayor) adopted another basis for affirmance advanced by Peter Stris at oral argument. Mr. Geyser took the lead in crafting the core legal theories and strategy for the merits brief. (Our Brief | Opinion)

Stelluti Kerr, LLC v. MAPEI Corp.
Mr. Geyser was retained as lead appellate counsel in this complex commercial dispute. The firm represents the company responsible for transforming the billion-dollar domestic industry for packaging micrometric powders. After a week-long trial, a jury awarded the company over $10 million. The district court tossed that verdict on post-judgment motions. The company hired Mr. Geyser and the firm to overturn the district court’s judgment and restore the full jury award. After Mr. Geyser and the firm filed its opening brief in the Fifth Circuit, the other side retained Gibson Dunn (and the former Solicitor General of Texas) to oppose us on appeal. (Our Opening Brief)

Parallel Networks, LLC v. Jenner & Block LLP
Mr. Geyser and the firm were retained to handle this important matter in the U.S. Supreme Court. Lower courts are squarely divided over the limits on judicial review of arbitration awards. This case asks whether the Federal Arbitration Act forecloses review of an award that violates a State’s clear public policy. The case is now pending in the Texas Supreme Court, and Mr. Geyser will take the lead once the matter reaches the U.S. Supreme Court.

Texas Railroad Comm'n v. Texas Citizens
While in government service, Mr. Geyser convinced the Texas Supreme Court to adopt Chevron-like principles of agency deference at the state level. Mr. Geyser represented the Texas Railroad Commission in briefing and arguing this important administrative-law case before the State’s highest court. (Oral Argument Video [Mr. Geyser's presentation begins at 1:44] | Texas Supreme Court Majority Opinion | Texas Supreme Court Concurring Opinion)
Intellectual Property Litigation
In re Droplets, Inc.
Mr. Geyser and the firm were hired by a major software company to challenge a USPTO decision invalidating key claims in two ground-breaking patents. These appeals present fundamental legal issues, and Mr. Geyser will brief and argue those issues in the Federal Circuit.

Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc.
With Elizabeth Brannen as counsel of record, the firm was retained to prepare an important cert-stage amicus brief on behalf of leading technology companies. Mr. Geyser played a key role in the briefing, shaping the arguments (and argumentation) for addressing the law of indefiniteness under Section 112 of the Patent Act. (Our Brief)

Limelight Networks, Inc. v. Akamai Technologies, Inc.
Again with Ms. Brannen as counsel of record, the firm represented a group of leading technology companies at the cert-stage in this important patent case. Mr. Geyser helped craft the brief’s strategies for urging immediate review of the Federal Circuit’s decision, which announced a patent-specific test for direct infringement and vicarious liability.
ERISA Litigation
In re Lorna Clause
Mr. Geyser is lead appellate counsel in this important case under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The question presented is whether a forum-selection clause purporting to override ERISA’s venue provision is invalid and unenforceable under ERISA. This question has squarely divided the lower courts, and the firm is litigating the issue on mandamus before the Eighth Circuit. We have already convinced the U.S. Department of Labor to file an amicus brief supporting our position, and the Eighth Circuit quickly ordered a response to our petition. Mr. Geyser and the firm are strategically positioning this issue for U.S. Supreme Court review. (Mandamus Petition)

Montanile v. Board of Trustees [Read more here]
The firm prevailed before the U.S. Supreme Court in this landmark insurance dispute under ERISA. After the firm successfully petitioned the Court to hear the case, Mr. Geyser entered at the reply stage, playing a leading role in briefing our position and refuting the insurance plan’s key arguments on the merits. Peter Stris successfully argued the case before the Court, and Radha Pathak served as counsel of record. The legal issue affects millions of Americans who receive health insurance, disability benefits, or pensions through their employers. (Our Opening Brief | Our Reply | Opinion)
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Education

Harvard, J.D. (2002)
Stanford, A.B. (1999)

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