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John D. Surma

Special Counsel
  • P 713.308.0148
    F 713.308.4084

John D. Surma joined Adams and Reese in 2011 as Special Counsel in the firm’s Houston office. John counsels and represents clients before a variety of regulatory agencies including OSHA, MSHA, the United States Chemical Safety Board, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Railroad Administration/American Association of Railroads, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the Texas Department of Public Safety. The services that John provides to his clients include:

  • Serving as an expert in the interpretation and application of OSHA standards;
  • Reviewing and developing compliance programs;
  • Auditing compliance programs and counseling clients concerning deficiencies;
  • Consulting with clients concerning regulations and applicability to their businesses;
  • Assisting clients with permitting issues;
  • Preparing clients for regulatory inspections;
  • Representing clients in regulatory inspections;
  • Assisting clients in regulatory inspections arising out of catastrophic incidents; and
  • Representing clients in regulatory actions.

In conjunction with the regulatory aspects of his practice, John provides clients with advice related to risk management and workplace safety and security.

In addition to his regulatory practice, John performs investigations into catastrophic incidents causing injury and death. He has investigated a wide-range of catastrophes including: plant and refinery explosions and fires; construction accidents; trucking accidents; pipeline accidents; mechanical equipment failures; safety program failures; equipment operation errors; electrical safety failures; chemical releases; and structural failures. He is often retained to represent his clients in both the regulatory and civil litigation that follows.

His clients include aviation companies, refiners, chemical companies, manufacturing companies, construction companies, engineering firms, transportation companies, industrial service companies and nuclear energy companies. He represents clients throughout the country in his regulatory practice. He serves as General Counsel for several entities.

John is admitted to practice in both Texas and Wisconsin. In Texas, he practices in front of all Texas State Courts, the Southern District Federal Court of Texas and the Eastern District Federal Court of Texas. In Wisconsin, he is licensed to appear before the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, all Wisconsin Circuit Courts and the Eastern and Western District Federal Courts. He is also licensed to appear before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In the legal industry, John is an active member of the Defense Research Institute, the Texas Association of Defense Counsel, the Texas Bar College, the Houston Bar Association, and the American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law Occupational Safety and Health Committee.

John earned his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1994 and his B.S., summa cum laude, from University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 1992.

John is a life member of many conservation organizations, including the American Woodcock Association, Boone and Crockett Club, Coastal Conservation Association, Mule Deer Federation, National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, Quality Deer Management Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance, Ruffed Grouse Society, Whitetails Unlimited, and Wild Sheep Foundation.