Matthew Deffebach


Education and Clerkships

J.D., University of Houston Law Center, 1999

B.A., Political Science and Speech Communication, Trinity University, 1993, cum laude



Court Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas


Matthew Deffebach is a partner and the chair of the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the Houston and Orange County offices of Haynes and Boone. Having tried, as first chair, nine matters in just the past five years, he is often entrusted with significant trial matters.

As a litigator, Matthew has handled contract disputes and a number of non-subscriber negligence lawsuits/arbitrations. He also routinely assists on executive disputes and unfair competition claims regarding non-competition and non-solicitation agreements. Matthew was previously a co-chair of the firm's Litigation Department.

As an employment litigator, he has managed several teams overseeing national wage and hour collective (or class) action disputes. Matthew also routinely counsels clients and assists them with disputes concerning discrimination, harassment, retaliation, disability issues, misappropriation of trade secrets, wrongful termination, social media, and similar matters. He is a frequent speaker, having conducted more than 125 trainings for clients on employment law compliance and appearing at dozens of seminars and conferences.

As an OSHA litigator, he has appeared in more than 25 states handling OSHA matters and is entering his 15th year as National OSHA counsel for The Home Depot. He is familiar with the state OSHA programs, particularly with California where he has handled numerous contested cases involving Cal/OSHA. Matthew has also successfully defended clients in OSHA administrative trials including the following recent illustrative matters: an oil field fatality in Texas; a powered industrial truck matter in Georgia; a hexavalent chromium dispute in Oklahoma; a PSM inspection of an ammonia refrigeration facility in Texas; a fall protection case in California; a state-wide machine guarding case in Maryland; and a PPE matter in California.

After meeting Matthew, it is easy to understand why so many of his clients are long-term, loyal clients. In 2010, Law360 by Portfolio Media, Inc. named him a "Rising Star" and one of ten employment lawyers under 40 to watch. Thereafter, he received the 2013 International Law Office (ILO) and Lexology Client Choice award as the sole recipient in the Employment and Labor category in Texas.


OSHA newsletter

OSHA Quarterly Newsletter, June 2018

This edition of the Haynes and Boone Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) Newsletter discusses safe practices for robotics in the workplace, an update on Cal/OSHA’s workplace violence prevention standards, the DOL's implementation of the “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” regulation, and more.

Selected Client Representations

Employment Litigation

  • Lagos, et al. v. Cogent Communications (S.D. Tex. 2014) (granting Motion to Decertify nationwide collective action)
  • Ihegwood v. Harris County Hospital District, 929 F. Supp. 2d 635 (S.D. Tex. 2013) (granting summary judgment on Title VII and ADA claims)
  • Peterson Group v. PLTQ Lotus Group, 417 S.W.3d 46 (Tex. App. – Houston [1st Dist.] 2013) (reversing on alter ego finding)
  • Grenado v. White Cap Construction, (El Paso County Court of Law 2012) (granting summary judgment on Chapter 21 discrimination and retaliation claims)


  • Defense of breach of contract
  • Defense of ERISA denial of benefits
  • Defense of non-subscriber negligence
  • Defense of fraud, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty
  • Defense of non-subscriber negligence

Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) and Workplace Disasters 

  • Assisted a client with an investigation into a five-alarm fire, which caused over $35 Million in damages
  • Successfully defended clients in OSHA administrative trials including fatality matter in Texas, PSM inspection in Texas, fall protection case in California, state-wide machine guarding case in Maryland, and PPE matter in California
  • Defended a national employer in two separate OSHA proceedings where the Department of Labor withdrew its citations entirely on the eve of trial in both matters


Best Lawyers

Haynes and Boone Featured in Best Lawyers in America 2018

Best Lawyers in America, an annual referral guide listing outstanding lawyers throughout the U.S., has recognized 107 Haynes and Boone lawyers across 56 practice areas in its 2018 edition.

Published by Woodward/White, Inc. in August 2017

Professional Recognition

  • Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America, Woodward/White, Inc., in Litigation - Labor and Employment, 2015-2019.
  • Included in the Houston Business Journal’s 2015 Law Guide of Houston’s Largest Law Firms and Their Top Lawyers, American City Business Journals, 2015.
  • Selected for Inclusion in Texas Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, in Employment and Labor, 2010-2017.
  • Received the 2013 International Law Office (ILO) and Lexology Client Choice award as the sole recipient in the Employment and Labor category in Texas, Globe Business Publishing Ltd, 2013.
  • Named a "Rising Star" and one of 10 employment lawyers under 40 to watch, Law360 by Portfolio Media, Inc., 2010.
  • Selected for inclusion in Texas Super Lawyers – Rising Stars Edition, Thomson Reuters, 2005-2010.
  • Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization as a labor and employment law specialist.

Selected Publications and Speeches

  • “How to Avoid Turning Your Investigation Into a Liability,” presenter, Safety 2018, the American Society of Safety Engineers’ Professional Development Conference, San Antonio, Texas, June 5, 2018.
  • “Successfully Navigating Safety-Related Investigations and Legal Proceedings,” presenter, The Center for Risk Management at College of the Mainland, La Marque, Texas, March 2, 2018.
  • “The Big Event: The OSHA Trial,” presenter, The American Society of Safety Engineers’ Safety 2017 Professional Development Conference & Exposition, Denver, Colorado, June 20, 2017.
  • “What Information Can an Employer Legally and Ethically Use in Making Employment Decisions,” presenter, The Gulf Coast Symposium on HR Issues, Houston, Texas, May 10, 2017.
  • “Legal Aspects of Safety,” presenter, The Center for Risk Management at College of the Mainland, La Marque, Texas, April 20, 2017.
  • "Helping Employer Clients Stay in Compliance with the Ever-Changing Realm of Employment Law," Chapter author,  Aspatore Books 2016-2017 edition of Complying with Employment Regulations: Leading Lawyers on Analyzing Legislation and Adapting to the Changing State of Employment Law.
  • “Personal and Corporate Safety-Related Liability: Who and What can be Sued?” presenter, November ASSE & AIHA Chapter Meeting, Houston, Texas, November 3, 2016.
  • “We Have to Do WHAT? Recent Developments in OSHA Law and Practical Advice for Addressing Them,” presenter, 2016 Asset Protection Summer Webinar Series - Retail Industry Leaders Association, webinar, August 30, 2016.
  • "The Relationship Between Legal and Safety." presenter, National ASSE Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, June 27, 2016
  • “We Have to Do WHAT? Recent Developments in OSHA Law and Practical Advice for Addressing Them.” presenter, Retail Asset Protection Conference, Dallas, Texas, April 18, 2016.
  • “Personal and Corporate Safety-Related Liability: Who and What Can Be Sued?” presenter, 2016 Indiana Safety and Health Conference & Expo, Indianapolis, Indiana, March 21, 2016.
  • “More Claims, More Problems: Ethical Issues in Workplace Investigations,” presenter, Ethics in Employment Law, Houston, Texas, October 29, 2015.
  • “Ethics in Workplace Investigations,” presenter, Ethical Principles for Corporate Counsel in Energy, Houston, Texas, October 15, 2015.
  • “OSHA Update 2015,” presenter, Haynes and Boone, Houston, Texas, August 19, 2015.
  • “OSHA Law Update: Recent Activity, New Rules and Preserving the Attorney-Client Privilege,” presenter, Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Retail Asset Protection Conference, Orlando, Florida, May 4, 2015.

Professional and Community Activities

  • Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
  • Trinity University Alumni Association
  • American Society of Safety Engineers
  • Retail Industry Leaders Association
  • American Bar Association OSHA Subcommittee

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