For over two decades, Kirsten M. Castañeda has briefed and argued state and federal appeals and original proceedings that raise issues critical to businesses and industries across Texas and the nation. In pursuing appellate relief, she never loses sight of the fact that every appeal involves more than just the law. Learning a client’s business and ultimate goals allows Kirsten to craft legal arguments and strategy that serve not only the case at hand, but also the client’s overall needs.
Kirsten’s work has helped shape the law in several key areas, including:
the standards for class certification and decertification throughout the life of a class action;
the scope of statutory, contractual, and equitable duties applicable to oil and gas lessors, lessees, and operators;
the impact of threshold statutory mandates, expert testimony standards, and causation requirements on healthcare liability claims;
the proper boundaries for federal preemption of state tort and contract claims; and
the reach of various provisions of the Texas Constitution.
Kirsten’s class action experience led her to co-author a new chapter on standing for A Practitioner’s Guide to Class Actions, Second Edition (ABA Book Publishing 2017), exploring developments following Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016).
Kirsten frequently works with trial lawyers on discovery disputes, error preservation at trial, and jury charge preparation and objections in both Texas and federal trial courts. She began her practice as a trial lawyer, so she understands the balance between building a record for appeal and trying a case to win at the outset. Litigators who call on Kirsten in the trial courts know that her appellate experience (she is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization) is complemented by quick thinking and creative problem-solving.
Selected to the SuperLawyers Appellate list in Texas, Kirsten is an active member of the American Bar Association's Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section and Council of Appellate Lawyers. She serves on the State Bar Court Rules and Pattern Jury Charge-Oversight Committees, is co-chair of the State Bar Appellate Section’s Diversity Committee, and is Vice-Chair of the Dallas Bar Association Appellate Section. She is asked regularly to write and speak on state and federal appellate issues, perhaps because she heeds advice received long ago as a reporter on the Spring Valley Elementary Gator Gazette: don’t bury the lead, tell the reader a story, and all good stories need a hook.
When she dreamed of becoming a writer back in sixth grade, she had no idea her writings would pave the way to oral arguments in the Texas Supreme Court and the Fifth Circuit.