J. Michael Veron

J. Michael Veron received his B.A. in 1972 and his J.D. in 1974 from Tulane. In law school, he served as an editor on the Tulane Law Review and was elected to membership in The Order of the Coif. After a judicial clerkship, he attended Harvard Law School, where he received his LL.M. in 1976. He then returned to his hometown of Lake Charles, where he has practiced law ever since.

Mike has been an active trial lawyer throughout his career, representing plaintiffs and defendants in civil and criminal cases in federal and state courts in Louisiana and Texas. Mike has been lead counsel in numerous jury trials, both representing defendants and plaintiffs. As a defense lawyer, he earned numerous defense verdicts in jury involving toxic torts alleging injurious and often fatal exposure to various toxins, including a series of cases involving carbonyl chloride (phosgene) and asbestos. As a plaintiff lawyer, he secured a $30 million jury verdict in favor of Amoco. Amoco v. Texaco, 838 So.2d 821 (La. App. 3rd Cir.), writ denied, 845 So.2d 1096 (La. 2003). As discussed below, he also won the landmark oilfield contamination case of Corbello v. Iowa Production, 850 So.2d 686 (La. 2003).

Mike has served as a professor teaching trial practice courses to senior law students at LSU and Tulane Law Schools. He is also a frequent CLE lecturer. For many years, he has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the several fields of law. He was inducted into the LSU Law Center Hall of Fame in 1993.

In 2005, Mike joined with other lawyers to form Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC, now Veron Bice, LLC. He has his partners continue to handle a variety of cases, but Mike continues to specialize in commercial litigation, including oil and gas matters. He and his team represent landowners against oil companies that have contaminated their land, have imprudently operated wells in ways that destroyed the oil and gas reservoirs below the surface, have trespassed with pipelines or other activities, or have caused unlawful land erosion.

In addition to his legal activities, Mike has had a lifelong passion for golf. He has served as a member of the board of directors for the Louisiana Golf Association and was its President in 1990. During that time, he sponsored a change in the organization’s charter to allow public courses to become member clubs in the organization. In 2008, Mike received the LGA’s Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the game of golf in Louisiana.

Mike has also served as a USGA Committee Member since 1986, first as a member of the Green Section Committee and then as a member of the Regional Affairs Committee. As a USGA volunteer, he has spoken at numerous USGA conferences across the country about various golf-related topics, particularly about legal issues that pertain to golf. He has published articles in the USGA Green Section Record. He has also served as a Rules Official at various events, from the annual U.S. Amateur Qualifier for Louisiana to the USGA State Team Championship, and worked at several U.S. Opens in various capacities. In 2010, he received the Ike Grainger Award from the USGA for his years of volunteer service.

In 1998, Mike was inspired by Bo Links, an accomplished golf novelist and lawyer from San Francisco with whom he was paired for a USGA program, to write golf stories. Since then, he has published four golf novels, The Greatest Player Who Never Lived (2000), The Greatest Course That Never Was (2001), The Caddie (2004), and No Cure for the Dumbass (2010).

The Greatest Player Who Never Lived was hailed by The New York Times as “Golf’s Literary Rookie of the Year,” and Travel & Leisure Golf Magazine featured Mike in a piece entitled “The John Grisham of Golf.” In describing his work, USA Today declared that Mike was a “master of fiction.” In addition, Sports Illustrated excerpted parts of the book in its special edition commemorating Tiger Woods’s victory in the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. The Seattle Times also ranked the book as second on its all-time list of “Five Wonderful Golf Books.”

The Greatest Course That Never Was received similar praise from the critics. Dave Lagarde of the Times-Picayune called it “as good a read as the first book and a must for golf aficionados.” The third book, The Caddie, enjoyed an equally positive reception. One critic said it contained “a wonderful fountain of knowledge for golfers of all ages,” and another said that the book “puts romance back into the game.”

Mike’s fourth book, entitled Shell Game, was published in 2007. This nonfiction book chronicles Mike’s decade-long battle with Shell Oil Company over its pollution of land belonging to his mother’s family. The case culminated in the Supreme Court of Louisiana issuing its landmark decision in Corbello v. Iowa Production Co. in 2003. The decision affirmed a $51 million jury verdict. Publishers Weekly praised Shell Game as “a cracking good read.” The Library Journal wrote: “Veron knows how to hold readers’ interest. An engaging plot, colorful characters, well-written narration, and an ultimately happy ending make this a satisfying work.”

In 2009, Mike published The Connecting Game, a nonfiction book about the history and traditions of golf. In 2010, he followed that with another golf novel, entitled No Cure for the Dumbass, which he is quick to point out is not an autobiography.

Mike has also published numerous law review articles over the years:

• Civil Law Method, 47 Tul. L. Rev. 205 (1972) (student publication)
• Contractual Incapacity in the Louisiana Civil Code, 47 Tul. L. Rev. 1093 (1973) (student publication)
• Parole in Louisiana: Theory and Practice, 48 Tul. L. Rev. 323 (1974) (student publication)
• Book Review, The Morality of Consent, 22 Loyola L. Rev. 679 (1976)
• The Contracts Clause and the Court: A View of Precedent and Practice in Constitutional Adjudication, 54 Tul. L. Rev. 117 (1979)
• Book Review, Democracy and Distrust, 56 Tul. L. Rev. 477 (1981)
• In Search of Precedent in the Oil Patch: Louisiana’s Market Value Cases, 44 La. L. Rev. 949 (1984)
• Evaluating the Economic Impact of Personal Injuries, 31 Loyola L. Rev. 825 (1986)
• Ruminations of a Trial Lawyer on Judicial Politics, 56 La. L. Rev. 723 (1996)
• The Trial of Toxic Torts: Scientific Evidence in the Wake of Daubert, 57 La. L. Rev. 647 (1997)
• Oilfield Contamination in Louisiana: Property Rights on Trial, 25 Tul. Env. L.J. 1 (2011)
• In Pursuit of Bigfoot: Confronting Oil and Gas Mythology in Louisiana, 75 La. L. Rev. 1251 (2015)
• The Landowner’s Cause of Action for Imprudent Operations, 10 LSU Journal of Energy Law and Resources (2022) (forthcoming)

In 2010, Mike was involved in obtaining the state charter and FDIC approval for Lakeside Bank in Lake Charles, which was the only de novo bank to open in the entire United States for three-and-a-half years. Lakeside’s opening in July of 2010 was featured in a front-page article in The New York Times. In 2011, Mike was elected Chairman of the Board of the bank and continues to serve in that capacity.

In 2017, Mike was elected to the Council of the Louisiana State Law Institute. The law institute was created by law in 1938 as an official law revision commission, law reform agency, and legal research agency for the State of Louisiana. Its membership consists of law professors, judges, and practicing lawyers. It meets on a frequent basis to draft and discuss proposed legislation. The law institute has been responsible for drafting the Louisiana Code of Evidence, the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure, the Louisiana Mineral Code, and the Louisiana Children’s Code, to name but a few of its legislative projects. The charter limits the number of positions on the Council to nineteen active lawyers.

Mike and his wife Melinda live next to the first hole at the Lake Charles Country Club, where he has been President and club champion. They have five children and six grandchildren.

Areas of Practice
  • Civil Litigation
  • Criminal Law
Bar Admissions
  • Louisiana, 1974
  • U.S. Federal Court, 1974
  • Harvard University Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
    • LL.M. – 1976
  • Tulane Law School, New Orleans, Louisiana
    • J.D. – 1974
    • Honors: Order of the Coif, Tulane Law Review 1972-1974
    • Law Review: Tulane Law Review, Editor
  • Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
    • B.A.
    • Major: English Literature
Honors and Awards
  • AV Preeminent Martindale
  • Super Lawyers, 2007 – 2012
  • Best Lawyers Lawyer of the Year, 2012
Professional Associations and Memberships
  • Lakeside National Bank, Chairman of the Board of Directors
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Member
  • Louisiana Golf Association, Past President
  • Louisiana State Bar Association, Continuing Legal Education Program Committee
  • USGA, Committee Member
Published Works
Representative Cases
  • Dawsey v. Olin Corp., 782 F.2d 1254 (5th Cir. 1986)
  • Broussard v. Olin Corp., 546 So. 2d 1301 (La. App. 3d Cir. 1989)
  • Walls v. Olin Corp., 533 So. 2d 1375 (La. App. 3d Cir. 1988)
  • Schepp v. Olin Corp., 445 So. 2d 1280 (La. App. 3d Cir.)
  • Thornton v. Gulf Fleet Marine Corp., 752 F.2d 1074 (5th Cir. 1985)
  • Musial v. A & A Boats, Inc., 696 F.2d 1149 (5th Cir. 1983)
  • Miller v. Louisiana Dept. of Transportation & Development, 484 So. 2d 993 (La. App. 3d Cir. 1986)
  • Corbello v. Iowa Production, et al, 850 So.2d 686 (La 2003)
  • M.J. Farms, Ltd. v. Exxon Mobil Corp., 998 So.2d 16 (La 2008)
  • Supreme Court of Louisiana. In re Quirk, 705 So.2d 172 (La 1997)
Pro Bono Activities
  • Lake Charles Country Club
  • Champions Golf Club, Houston, TX
J. Veron

Lake Charles, Louisiana