Overview And Experience



  • State of Texas
  • State of Oklahoma
  • U.S. District Court for Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit


  • State Bar of Texas
  • State Bar of Oklahoma
  • Galveston Bar Association
  • Member, National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel
  • Chairman, Environmental Committee, National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel
  • Member. American Association of Railroads Environmental Counsel Committee
  • Member, Environmental Committee of the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel
  • Member, Texas and Oklahoma State Bar Environmental Law Sections

Legal Excellence, Personalized Service

Mr. Cowen associated with the Firm in 1984 and has been a shareholder of the Firm since 1993.

His principal area of practice is environmental law and litigation. Prior to working for the Firm, Mr. Cowen served as a Public Utilities Trial Attorney for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C. Mr. Cowen has worked on over 300 environmentally impacted sites thoughout the United States, many of which involved litigation with private entities contributing to the contamination. Mr. Cowen represents a variety of clients, from major companies, such as the BNSF Railway Company, BP America Inc., Stewart Title Guaranty Company, and Galveston Wharves, to individuals and smaller companies.


  • B. A., English, Sam Houston State University, 1979, Magna Cum Laude
  • J. D., University of Houston Law Center, 1981


  • Articles Editor, University of Houston Law Review.
  • Member University of Houston ABA Regional Moot Court Team.
  • Research Fellow (Natural Gas Regulation).
  • Teaching Fellow (Legal Research and Writing).
  • Member, University of Houston Board of Advocates.
  • Recipient of two academic scholarships.
  • Member Phi Delta Phi, legal academic honors society.
  • Rated “AV Preeminent” (highest rating possible) by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Outstanding Humanities Major 1979.
  • Dean’s List all semesters.
  • Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.
  • Alpha Chi and Sigma Tau Delta academic honor societies.
  • Vice President, Marketing Society.
  • Vice President, Sigma Tau Delta (English Honor Society).
  • Member, Student Senate (two years).
  • Precinct Election Judge, Walker County, Texas.
  • Academic Scholarship Recipient.


Phone Number/Email:

(409) 763-2481 ext 134; decowen@mapalaw.com

Rachell Smith -- Legal Secretary

rcsmith@mapalaw.com; (409) 763-2481 ext. 250


  • Speaker, Fall 2001 Pacific Conference (Environmental Law Program), National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel (Santa Barbara, California)
  • Speaker, 2003 Southwest and Pacific Regions Combined Meeting, National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel (New Orleans)
  • Speaker, November 2002, Railroad Environmental Conference (Champagne-Urbana, Ill.)
  • Speaker, Summer 2005, “Environmental Legislative Update”, Texas Port Authorities Annual Meeting
  • Speaker, Summer 2005, AAR Environmental Counsel Meeting (Washington, D.C.)
  • David E. Cowen, Using the Texas Solid Waste Disposal Act as a Cost Recovery Tool Against Prior Owners and Operators of Underground and Above Ground Petroleum Storage Tank Systems, 34 Tex. Env. L. J. 24 (2003)
  • Editor, National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel Environmental Webpage and Database.


  • Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Company v. Phillips Petroleum Company, 164 F.Supp.2d 1272 (N.D. Okla. 2001) (seminal Oklahoma case establishing potential common law liability for corporate officers and directors for non-federal environmental liability)
  • Marathon Oil Company v. Texas City Terminal Railway Company, 172 F.Supp.2d 897 (S.D. Tex. 2001) (CERCLA contribution action not available when no federal action)
  • Marathon Oil Company v. Texas City Terminal Railway Company, 164 F.Supp.2d 914 (S.D. Tex. 2001) (CERCLA contribution action only remedy available to statutory PRP)
  • Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Company v. Consolidated Fibers, Inc., 7 F.Supp.2d 822 (N.D. Tex. 1998) (CERCLA preempts state law corporate dissolution statutes allowing recovery against “dead” corporations)
  • Southland Life Insurance Company v. The Estate of Martha Small, 806 S.W.2d 800 (Tex. 1991) (Texas Supreme Court decision first recognizing ERISA preemption of state consumer law causes of action)
  • Woods v. City of Galveston, 5 F.Supp. 494 (S.D. Tex. 1998) (Title VII decision recognizing collateral estoppel of state administrative law proceeding finding no discrimination as dispositive in federal civil rights action)
  • Shriners Hospitals for Children v. McCarthy Brothers Company, 80 F.Supp. 707 (S.D. Tex. 2000) (construction contract dispute involving interpretation of settlement agreement)
  • Maritrend, Inc. v. The Galveston Wharves, 152 F.R.D. 543 (S.D. Tex. 1993) (decision holding that the doctrine of primary jurisdiction required labor dispute between port and stevedore to be filed with the Federal Maritime Commission)
  • City of Centralia, 33 F.E.R.C. P61,221 (1985) (Commission ruling on navigability of Nisqually River in the State of Washington and federal jurisdiction over locally owned and operated intra-state power generation facility)