Main Practice Contacts

Matthew Thomas Deffebach
+1 713.547.2064

Tamara I. Devitt
+1 949.202.3060

Melissa M. Goodman
+1 214.651.5628

Laura E. O'Donnell
+1 210.978.7421

Dean J. Schaner
+1 713.547.2044

Representative Experience

Defense of Oil and Gas Company’s Coiled Tubing Services Division in Wage and Hour Collective Action
Plaintiffs sued an oil and gas company's coiled tubing division in Corpus Christi, Texas alleging that they were denied overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act and sought conditional certification. Based on the strength of the company's Motor Carrier Act defense, the Haynes and Boone team convinced plaintiffs to voluntarily dismiss the case. Thus, on June 4, 2014, the case was dismissed.

Catarido Ramirez, Individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, v. Berks' Warehouse & Trucking Corp, No. 3:12-cv-FLW-DEA
Represent a warehouse and shipping company in a lawsuit seeking an FLSA collective action and New Jersey state class action. The lawsuit alleges a failure to pay the overtime premium under the Fair Labor Standards Act and New Jersey law. On April 4, 2014, the Court entered an order on plaintiff's motion for conditional certification under the FLSA, finding that plaintiff had failed to meet his burden for conditional certification.

Grievance Arbitration over Severance Payments
Represented a national electric utility defending a union grievance filed on behalf of a class of 24 employees seeking $400,000 in enhanced severance benefits in addition to the benefits they already received, obtaining a complete denial of the grievance.

Defense of Oil and Gas Company's Wireline Services Division in Wage and Hour Collective Action
Plaintiffs sued an oil and gas company's wireline services division in Laredo, Texas alleging that they were denied overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act and sought conditional certification. Based on the strength of the company's Motor Carrier Act defense, the Haynes and Boone team convinced plaintiffs to voluntarily dismiss the case. Thus, on April 24, 2014, plaintiffs filed a stipulation of dismissal.

Roger Markwardt v. United Rentals, Inc.
Obtained summary judgment for employer against ex-manager bringing breach of contract and declaratory judgment claims based on a bonus plan and a non-competition agreement.

Dennis Parkison v. Arkansas Best Corporation & ABF Freight System, Inc. (S.D. Tex. 2013)
Obtained summary judgment for national freight carrier in defense of Title VII reverse discrimination and breach of contract action brought by former manager. The former manager claimed that he was discriminated against because he is Anglo. He also claimed that his termination breached an employment contract with his employer. The court rejected both claims, granted summary judgment and dismissed the case with prejudice.

Obtained an Agreed Permanent Injunction for Optical Machine Company
Filed a lawsuit on behalf of an optical sorting machine company and eventually obtained an agreed permanent injunction with the following general concessions: (1) Defendants will not interfere with any of plaintiff's business relationships; (2) Defendants warrant that all of plaintiff's proprietary and confidential information was returned; and (3) Defendants will not use or disclose any of plaintiff's proprietary and confidential information.

Equity Rollover Transaction
Represent U.S. sellers in an equity rollover transaction in which a U.S. private equity firm acquired a controlling interest in the target U.S. and Canadian businesses.

Complaint of Pregnancy Discrimination Dismissal
Represented international stone design firm against allegations of pregnancy discrimination in violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act. The district court granted motion to dismiss, which was affirmed by the Illinois Court of Appeals.

Representation of Client throughout Union Organizing Campaign
Successfully represented employer throughout union organizing campaign, beginning with advice on authorization card drive and request for recognition and continuing through an NLRB election in which the majority of employees voted against unionization. Negotiated election details and scope of bargaining unit with the NLRB, trained supervisors on appropriate campaign communications and conduct, and provided strategic advice to the employer throughout the campaign, including advice regarding captive audience speeches, postings, and mailings, and advice relating to the application of solicitation, distribution, access and other policies. Also provided follow-up advice and counsel, supervisory and management training.

Breach of Contract and Misappropriation of Trade Secrets - State Court
Obtained temporary injunction against former employee for violating his confidentiality agreement with client and misappropriating client’s confidential, proprietary and trade secret information. As a former high level executive for client, former employee had intimate knowledge regarding client’s current and proposed products and strategies. Shortly after former employee resigned to go to work for competitor, client discovered evidence that former employee had copied client’s confidential, proprietary and trade secret information to a thumb drive a few days before his resignation. After obtaining a temporary injunction against former employee, the parties settled the case on terms favorable to client.

Joey Roland v. Texas Taco Cabana, L.P.; JAMS Case No. 1310020375 (Arbitration before JAMS)
Obtained summary disposition for restaurant chain in JAMS arbitration in defense of age discrimination and retaliation claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") and Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code a/k/a the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act ("TCHRA") brought by former manager. Prior to initiating the arbitration, the claimant failed to file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Texas Workforce Commission, Civil Rights Division. The arbitrator agreed with our client that the claimant was required to exhaust his administrative remedies under the ADEA and TCHRA even though he brought his claims in arbitration and not in court. As a result, the arbitrator dismissed the claimant's claims for failure to exhaust administrative remedies and issued a take nothing judgment against the claimant because he could not remedy his failure to exhaust administrative remedies, as his claims were time-barred.

Acquisition of Design Build Technologies, LLC by Goodman Networks Incorporated
Represented Goodman Networks Incorporated in the acquisition of the assets of Design Build Technologies, LLC, a wireless communications construction company.

Michael Lee Watts, Jr. v. L-3 Communications Corporation and L-3 Communications AIS GP Corporation
Successfully obtained summary judgment for L-3 in a lawsuit filed by a plaintiff claiming age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. L-3 terminated plaintiff for mischarging his time in violation of company policy and federal law. Plaintiff denied engaging in mischarging and alleged that L-3 wrongfully terminated him, not for mischarging, but because of his age. The court held that L-3 articulated a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for plaintiff’s termination and agreed that plaintiff failed to present competent summary judgment evidence of pretext. Plaintiff’s claims were dismissed in their entirety, and the court awarded L-3 its costs.

Settlement of a Trade Secrets Misappropriation Lawsuit
Secured a favorable settlement of a trade secrets misappropriation lawsuit in federal district court in North Carolina. Haynes and Boone represented the plaintiff, a technology company headquartered in Houston. On the third day of the jury trial, the defendants, a former plaintiff executive and his new company, announced their consent to an agreed permanent injunction and agreed to dismiss all of their counterclaims, pay all of plaintiff’s damages, surrender their inventory, and pay a portion of plaintiff’s attorney’s fees. The case involved the misappropriation of the formula for a proprietary catalyst used to treat hydrocarbons at refineries worldwide. The former executive claimed to have independently developed the formula after leaving the company, but shortly before trial began the formula was discovered in a spreadsheet that proved defendants’ claim was untrue.

T H Hill Associates, Inc. v. Jeffrey A. Benson, et al.; Cause No. 2012-75246; In the 152nd Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas
Obtained temporary injunction against seven former employees for violating their non-competition agreements with T H Hill and for misappropriating T H Hill's confidential, proprietary, and trade secret information after the defendants resigned en masse to service one of T H Hill's international customers on behalf of T H Hill's competitor and former agent.

Acquisition of IGI Corp. and its Subsidiaries by Nekoosa Coated Products, LLC, a Wingate Partners Portfolio Company
Represented Wingate Partners in the acquisition by its portfolio company, Nekoosa Coated Products, LLC, of IGI Corp., parent of RTape Corp. and CET Films Corp., New Jersey-based manufacturers of specialty pressure-sensitive application tapes and extruded films used in the graphic arts industry.

Edith Ihegword v. Harris County Hospital District; Civil Action No. H-10-5180; In the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division (Decision Date: March 7, 2013)
Obtained summary judgment for client on all of plaintiff's claims, including a failure to accommodate claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a national origin discrimination claim under Title VII, a failure to pay overtime claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Chapter 61 of the Texas Labor Code, and a retaliation claim.

Huron Inc. Sale Transaction
Represented SunTx Capital Partners in its sale of Huron Inc., an automotive industry part manufacturer that is a leading supplier of critical engine and transmission components and assemblies.

Acquisition of Assets of EP-Team, Inc. by Affiliates of BNSF Logistics, LLC
Represented BNSF Logistics International, Inc. in its acquisition of EP-Team, Inc., a privately held global logistics project cargo provider.

Acquisition of Stock and Assets of Albacor Shipping Inc. (Canada) by Affiliates of BNSF Logistics, LLC
Represented BNSF Logistics, LLC in its acquisition by affiliates of Albacor Shipping Inc., a Canada-based international global project and general cargo provider with locations across North America, Europe and Russia.

Doedijns Acquires Logan Industries
Represented Doedijns International, a private equity-backed international manufacturer of hydraulic systems, in its acquisition of Logan Industries, a U.S. operation focused on oilfield equipment, in order to enter the U.S. market.

Stephen Robert Herring and Michael Herring v. Eileen M. Campbell, As Plan Administrator of Marathon Oil Company Thrift Plan, No. 11-40953 (5th Cir. 2012).
Represented Marathon Oil Company in its appeal of the district court's decision that its plan administrator abused its discretion by defining the term "children" in an ERISA-governed plan to mean biological and legally-adopted children. A deceased plan participant's stepchildren, who had been denied the proceeds of his plan account by the plan administrator, argued that the plan administrator should have considered the state law doctrine of equitable adoption to determine that they were "children" and therefore entitled to the deceased's benefits. The Fifth Circuit issued an opinion reversing the district court's decision, finding that nothing in the plan or ERISA required the plan administrator to incorporate the doctrine of equitable adoption into the plan's definition of "children."

Acquisition of M&R Industries, Ltd. d/b/a KM Services, Pro-Flow Fabrication Technologies, Ltd. and LTI Lambright, LLC
Represented companies who manufacture and sell parts for directional drilling, M&R Industries, Ltd. d/b/a KM Services, Pro-Flow Fabrication Technologies, Ltd. and LTI Lambright, LLC, in the sale of substantially all of their assets to Enteq KMS LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Enteq Upstream PLC, an oil and gas field services company.

“Single Employer” Title VII Issue in Franchisor-Franchisee case for Berryhill Hot Tamales
In a matter regarding when a franchisor can be potentially held liable for the acts of one of its independent franchisees, our team obtained summary judgment for a restaurant franchisor, Berryhill Hot Tamales. Our client’s independent franchisee was alleged to have violated Title VII regarding allegations of sexual harassment. The plaintiffs sought to create liability for the franchisor by arguing that it was a joint employer or “single enterprise” along with the franchisee.

Pre-Acquisition Labor Law Advice and Counsel
Counseled private equity fund concerning purchase of unionized industrial maintenance contractor with numerous national and local agreements that was engaged in providing specialized services at electrical and nuclear generating facilities, refineries and chemical plants, concerning labor law successorship, single employer and joint employer issues, scope and jurisdiction of labor agreements, and impact of transaction on affiliated non-union portfolio companies.

Big Win for Client in Multi-Plaintiff Discrimination and Retaliation Case
Successfully obtained summary judgment for White Cap Construction in a lawsuit filed by two plaintiffs claiming retaliation and national origin, age and sex discrimination. The plaintiffs were the store manager and assistant store manager at the El Paso branch. The assistant store manager claimed that a theft investigation was initiated by a younger manager who wanted his job but the court agreed that no credible facts supported that the assistant manager's termination or the store manager's constructive discharge were motivated by discriminatory or retaliatory animus.

Davie, Florida, OSHA Late Notice of Contest - Foot Protection and Recordkeeping Violations
OSHA alleged, among other things, that Home Depot employees were not wearing appropriate foot protection, namely, steel toe shoes. We were preparing for trial, including the introduction of expert witness testimony on the foot protection citation, when the Secretary of Labor withdrew the citations before trial, resulting in a complete victory for Home Depot.

Reagan Lancaster v. JDA Software Group, Inc. and JDA Software, Inc., County Court at Law No. 5; Dallas County, Texas, 2012, Cause No. CC-10-06840-E
Plaintiff asserted a breach of contract claim, seeking indemnification of fees and expenses he incurred in connection with various litigation stemming from his previous employment as an officer with i2 Technologies, Inc. (i2) (JDA’s predecessor). Plaintiff’s breach of contract claim was based on an indemnification and cooperation provision in the settlement agreement he executed with i2 after his termination from employment. Plaintiff sought damages in excess of $2 million, including a $1.29 million dollar fine he paid to the SEC for alleged wrongdoing that occurred during his employment with i2. After filing a motion for summary judgment, the parties settled the case in mediation on terms favorable to JDA.

New York, New York Eye Wash Exposure and Eye Wash Facilities OSHA ALJ Trial
We represented Home Depot in contesting an OSHA citation in New York where OSHA alleged that the retailer lacked suitable eye wash facilities for treating employees who could supposedly get chemicals in their eyes while cleaning up spills of consumer products in the garden department. We, among other things, challenged whether the agency could meet its burden to prove exposure to any hazardous chemical that would require a 15-minute continuous flush eye wash station. Our efforts resulted in the Secretary of Labor withdrawing the citation on the eve of trial, resulting in a complete victory for Home Depot.

Washington, Safety Committee Variance
We represented Home Depot in applying for a variance from the Washington Division of Occupational Safety and Health ("DOSH") requirement that employers maintain safety committee elections. In doing so, we drafted the variance application and interfaced with DOSH officials regarding the merits of the variance. Our efforts resulted in DOSH awarding Home Depot a permanent variance.

RP Holdings Inc. Restructuring
Haynes and Boone was engaged by RP Holdings Inc. in August 2011 to assist in its restructuring efforts. At that time, the company had just hired a new CEO, was facing liquidity challenges due to the nationwide stoppage of foreclosure prosecutions, and had completed internal audits showing a total of approximately $20 million was owed to it by its two largest customers. Its senior secured facility was due to mature in August 2012. In the fall of 2012, the company pursued a restructuring transaction with its private equity sponsors, the secured lenders and the two law firms, which failed to materialize on the eve of a possible closing in early January 2012.

Bankruptcy Related Advice on WARN Compliance and Litigation
  • Defense of WARN suit in United States District Court against parent company alleging de facto control of bankrupt subsidiary. Case settled based on capped dollars and percentage of recovery on claim by subsidiary and parent company against financial entity related to cancellation of credit line.
  • Negotiated settlement with union WARN adversaries each seeking approximately $30 million in damages in addition to negotiating settlement with a class action plaintiff as predicate to consensual plan of liquidation.
  • Pre-petition advice on WARN compliance, severance and contractual liabilities; and 1113 negotiations with IBT as aspect of motion to approve plan on behalf of bankrupt cargo airline; advice addressed status of CBA, furlough and severance demands, resolution of pending grievances, and wind up matters and to effectuate settlement of WARN claims.

Houston, OSHA Crane Violations
We represented a Houston-based demolition company in its defense of crane violations issued by OSHA. We were able to demonstrate to OSHA that some citations were inapplicable, which resulted in their dismissal. Further, a reduced penalty was negotiated, resulting in a favorable settlement for the client.

Maryland OSHA Machine Guarding
Maryland OSHA issued several citations to Home Depot stores throughout the state regarding an alleged amputation risk associated with unguarded portions of large cardboard balers. We handled the matter from the ALJ level through appeal, obtaining a complete dismissal of the applicable machine guarding citation. In doing so, we convinced the Appeals Board that no exposure existed to Home Depot Associates.

Kevin Cordell v. Chase Medical, L.P., Chase Medical, Inc., and CMI Holding Company, Inc.; Cause No. 09-03911; In the 160th Judicial District Court; Dallas County, Texas
Successfully obtained summary judgment for Chase Medical in a lawsuit filed by a plaintiff claiming quantum meruit, negligent misrepresentation, fraud and constructive fraud. The plaintiff was a prospective employee and potential investor who, after Chase Medical was unable to hire him, claimed he performed consulting services for Chase Medical in excess of $600,000 for which Chase Medical failed to pay. Plaintiff’s claims were based on the fact that the parties had met several times over a seven-month period to discuss plaintiff’s potential role in Chase Medical as well as plaintiff’s potential investment in a new medical technology Chase Medical was developing. The plaintiff appealed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment for Chase Medical. The parties settled the matter post-appeal on terms favorable to Chase Medical.

Summary Judgment for Employer in ERISA Benefits Dispute
Successfully obtained summary judgment for American Airlines, Inc. in an ERISA matter where the plaintiff claimed wrongful denial of benefits.

FLSA Exempt Classification - Southern District of Texas
We represented a restaurant group that was sued under the FLSA for misclassifying the chef position. We were retained four days before a summary judgment hearing to substitute in as new counsel. Before our retention, our client had deemed admissions against it and an untimely summary judgment response on file. Plaintiff was moving for summary judgment based, in part, on the deemed admissions. We were able to have the deemed admissions withdrawn and the summary judgment was denied. We then assisted the client on a favorable settlement.

U.S. Secretary of Labor - Arkansas Matter
We quickly responded to a catastrophic fatality event by arriving at our client's facility to prepare for the OSHA investigation. We interviewed numerous employees and prepared managers for their interviews in the investigation process. We managed the interplay of private claims from the estate of the deceased along with the investigation. OSHA issued only a handful of citations with minimal fines. OSHA did not cite our client for any infractions linking the incident to non-compliance with the applicable OSHA standards.

U.S. Secretary of Labor
We represented a manufacturer in the Dallas-Fort Worth area who was cited with more than 40 citations, including alleged willful violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The proposed citation fines were in the six figures. We assisted the client with an aggressive campaign to identify flaws in the investigation methodology, especially in areas of noise conservation and respiratory protection, to present a firm defense at the informal conference. Our response also included the defense of vindictive prosecution by the government. The matter moved to contested proceedings and we obtained a favorable resolution after the hearing with the settlement judge.

Collective Bargaining and Strike Planning
Representation of large mining and natural resource company concerning collective bargaining negotiations covering five locations, seven unions, and approximately 2,200 employees. The work consisted of assessment of agreements, identification of negotiations priorities, coordination of planning, preparation of legal portion of strike contingency plans, leadership of company’s negotiations team, and serving as chief spokesman in negotiations with the unions.

American Wires v. Texas Auto Solutions et al. (61st Dist. Ct., Harris County, Tex. 2010)
Represented after-market automobile parts distributor in case involving breach of a non-competition agreement and misappropriation of confidential information. We obtained a partial summary judgment and judgment after a bench trial on both of claims in the approximate aggregate amount of $795,000, in addition to a permanent injunction restraining the defendants from continuing to misappropriate the client's confidential and proprietary information.

Guidance Concerning Duty to Bargain and Labor and Employment Law Compliance
Provided strategic advice and counsel to electrical generation and distribution company operating with coal, oil and gas-fired generating facilities in six states regarding sale and closure of facilities, retiree health insurance, increased cost sharing of health insurance, use of independent contractors and subcontractors for bargaining unit work, and handling and litigation of arbitrations concerning contract interpretation, reservation of rights language in benefit plans, contracting out, and terminations of employees.

Advice to Non-Profit - ADA
Advised a major social service non-profit organization on handling ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requests.

The Penn Traffic Company - Chapter 11
Representation of The Penn Traffic Company and its subsidiaries in their Chapter 11 cases in the Delaware bankruptcy court. At filing, Penn Traffic owned and operated 79 supermarkets in the northeast part of the United States, and had total debt exceeding $250 million and annual revenues approaching $900 million. Following a spirited marketing and sale process, debtors sold substantially all their assets to TOPS Markets, LLC.

Secretary of Labor v. The Home Depot #6512,OSHRC, No. 07-0359 (September 2009)
A recent decision from the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission provides employers who must log workplace injuries and report workplace fatalities some latitude as to when an injury or fatality is “work-related.” Specifically, in a matter in which Haynes and Boone represented the employer/respondent, the Commission clarified that simply because a fatality or injury occurs while at work, this is insufficient to presume the cause was work-related to trigger OSHA reporting or presumably injury-log recording duties. Rather, the Secretary of Labor must present evidence of a work-related event or exposure.

PLTQ Lotus Group v. Peterson Group and Wellington Yu; Harris County, Texas District Court (July 2009)
Lead counsel in a three-week trial where our client's principal was alleged to have engaged in fraud and other torts regarding his employment services on a development project. Based on information learned in discovery, our client's principal faced a significant threat of a verdict against him on these claims with more than $11 million being sought against him and his companies. In the end, the jury threw out the majority of claims and awarded less than $10,000 in damages against our principal on a claim with no attorneys' fees.

California Department of Labor, Docket No. 05-R1D4-1572 (California 2006-2008)
The underlying allegation involves whether our client as the primary employer on a multi-employer worksite must provide alternate means of fall protection to employees of a contractor who tarp loads of lumber on flat bed trucks at a distribution center. The Administrative Law Judge granted our client’s appeal of the citation and vacated the fall protection citation. In doing so, the Judge agreed that our client was neither the creating or controlling employer of the hazard.

Merger with the Boeing Company and Aviall
Haynes and Boone represented Aviall Inc. in the company’s $2.05 billion merger with the Boeing Company. The deal represented the largest purchase for Boeing in a decade. As the world's largest independent provider of new aerospace parts and related aftermarket services, Aviall is a leading solutions provider of aftermarket supply-chain management services for the aerospace, defense and marine industries.

ClubCorp, Inc. in its $1.8 Billion Sale to KSL Capital Partners, an affiliate of KKR
Represented ClubCorp in its $1.8 billion sale to KSL Capital Partners (an affiliate of KKR). ClubCorp is the leading operator of golf courses and country clubs in the world.

Utah Occupational Safety and Health Matter, Case No. 5309164564 (Utah 2006-2007)
When a temporary worker was fatally injured while working on a front-end loader, OSHA cited our client for failure to have trained the worker on lockout/tagout procedures implicated by the accident. After engaging in extensive discovery, we were able to favorably settle the matter shortly before trial.

Commissioner of State of Minnesota matter, OSHA Docket No. 8878 (Minnesota 2007)
On the eve of trial, the Assistant Attorney General settled on terms favorable for our client in a matter involving alleged improper guarding of a cardboard baler and electrical junction box hazards.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Texas Matter, OSHRC Docket No. 07-0359 (Texas 2007)
A recent decision from the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission provides employers who must log workplace injuries and report workplace fatalities some latitude as to when an injury or fatality is “work-related.” Specifically, in a matter in which Haynes and Boone represented the employer/respondent, the Commission clarified that simply because a fatality or injury occurs while at work, this is insufficient to presume the cause was work-related to trigger OSHA reporting or presumably injury-log recording duties. Rather, the Secretary of Labor must present evidence of a work-related event or exposure.

U.S. Secretary of Labor - Florida matter, (Florida 2006-2007)
Following the fatality of a contractor, OSHA launched an investigation. Immediately following the fatality, and contemporaneously with OSHA’s investigation, our client implemented an overall safety compliance audit and implemented best practices well in advance of receiving the OSHA citations. Our designed strategy was to proactively address safety improvements, whether possibly related to the accident or not, in an effort to demonstrate an overall safety commitment to OSHA. This strategy was effective. The cited items and fines were well-below the expected range for the length of the inspection at issue and the underlying fatality. Significantly, the citation contained no allegation that the Company’s purported failure to comply with the cited regulations caused or contributed to the contractor’s death. This resulted in a favorable settlement for our client.

U.S. Secretary of Labor - Whistleblower matter, Matter No. 6-3280-05-036 (Texas 2005)
Obtained a complete dismissal from OSHA regarding a former employee’s Section 11(c) retaliation/discrimination complaint. We convinced OSHA that the Company discharged the employee for a legitimate, non-retaliatory reason.

U.S. Secretary of Labor - West Virginia matter, OSHRC Docket No. 05-0399 (West Virginia 2005)
Following multiple inspections at West Virginia facilities, OSHA issued citations concerning our client’s permit required confined space program. Under § 1910.146(c)(7)(iii), after an employer has reclassified a Permit Required Confined Space (“PRCS”) to a non-Permit Required Confined Space (“NPRCS”), the employer must create a certification document, which contains the date, the location of the space, and signature of the person making the determination that the hazards in the otherwise PRCS have been eliminated. Our client completes this § 1910.146(c)(7)(iii) certificate annually for the compactor space of various refuse collection trucks when authorized Technicians work in the compactor space. OSHA maintained that the NPRCS certification should have been created for each and every entry by a Technician entering the confined space, imposing a significant documentation burden on the employer. One day after we filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, the Department of Labor dismissed the case in its entirety and issued a de minimis citation.

Co-Worker Sexual Harassment and an Employee’s Obligation to Act Reasonably; Harvill v. Westward Communications, 433 F.3d 428 (5th Cir. 2005), Hockman v. Westward Communications, 407 F.3d 317 (5th Cir. 2004)).
While the Hockman court found potentially egregious conduct was not harassment as a matter of law, both Hockman and Harvill assist employers when complaining employees act unreasonably. Traditionally, the court’s inquiry of whether a company may avoid liability for co-worker harassment is limited to the question of whether the employer knew or should have known of the alleged harassment and failed to take prompt, remedial action. Accordingly, whether a plaintiff acted reasonably or unreasonably in bringing a complaint to management’s attention is a matter for supervisory harassment claims only, which operate under a different set of liability principles. We argued for adoption of the supervisory harassment “reasonableness” standard in co-worker harassment cases and the Courts agreed. Now, an employer may be able to avoid liability in co-worker harassment claims if the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of corrective opportunities provided by the employer.

Laredo Medical Group Corp. v. Mireles, 155 S.W.3d 417 (Tex. App. - San Antonio 2004, pet. denied)
Obtained reversal of a $1.5 million judgment in a wrongful termination case against a hospital, based on an error in the jury charge.

Reversal of Class Certification Order Against Major National Retailer
Won reversal of a class certification order that certified a class of 350,000 employees against major national retailer.

General Legal Affairs and Wind-Up - U.S. Subsidiary of Japanese Semiconductor Manufacturer
Advised in the general legal affairs and the windup of a U.S. subsidiary of a Japanese semiconductor manufacturer.

Acted as General Counsel to Semiconductor Manufacturing Joint Venture
Advised in the formation and served as general counsel to a semiconductor manufacturing joint venture between Hitachi, Ltd. and Texas Instruments Incorporated.

Howell v. Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
Howell v. Citigroup Global Markets Inc., NYSE No. 2004-015794, complete defense award for a client in a dispute filed by a former broker challenging stock forfeiture provisions in national employer’s employee incentive compensation plan.

Trial of Class Action Seeking $30 million in Damages Against International Oil Company
Represented a large international oil company in jury trial in Dallas state district court where plaintiffs asserted a class action composed of numerous former employees who had been terminated in a workforce restructuring. The plaintiff class was seeking additional severance pay benefits under the employer's separation pay plan, plus punitive damages and basing their claims on allegations of fraud and breach of contract. The case also involved very sensitive issues relating to attorney-client privilege and claims of alleged waiver of same; however, rulings were secured from the trial court in the employer's favor. After a one-week trial, the jury returned a unanimous verdict for the employer on all counts and gave the plaintiffs no damages. The verdict was appealed and the judgment for our client was upheld.

FLSA Collective Action—Overtime Compensation for Meal Breaks; In the 269th Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas
Represented a hospital district in an FLSA collective action maintained by a proposed class of anesthesia technicians, registered nurses and licensed vocational nurses who were allegedly required to work through meal breaks that were automatically deducted from their paychecks. The putative class potentially included over 2,000 members. We prevailed at the conditional certification stage when the court denied plaintiffs’ motion for conditional class certification. Thereafter, the named Plaintiffs non-suited their case with prejudice before trial.

Grievance Arbitrations Under Collective Bargaining Agreements
Handled substantial numbers of labor arbitrations under collective bargaining agreements involving discharge and discipline, skilled wage rates, subcontracting, leave of absence and contract interpretation.

FLSA Collective Action—Off the Clock Claims
In the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas - Houston Division. Represented the holding company of various Chevron gas stations in an FLSA collective action maintained by a proposed class of gas station cashiers who were allegedly told to work off the clock. Successfully prevailed at the conditional certification stage and the court denied Plaintiff’s motion for conditional class certification. This matter was then resolved on favorable terms.

Southwest Fire Protection and Universal Sprinklers v. Thomas Carberry (state district court-Houston)
Filed lawsuit on behalf of companies against former shareholder of company for breach of stock purchase. After trial, the court issued final order finding violation of shareholder agreement, enjoining former shareholder from future conduct in violation of agreement, and awarded companies damages by ordering former shareholder to forfeit retained ownership interest in parent company.

Lee v. Dollar Tree Stores, Inc.
Lee v. Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53693 (S.D. Tex., July 25, 2007) - Obtained dismissal of sexual harassment case for employer based on jurisdictional arguments.

FLSA Collective Action—Misclassification of Pipeline Controllers; In the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas—Houston Division and the American Arbitration Association
Plaintiffs proposed to represent a class of pipeline controllers throughout the United States who were allegedly misclassified as exempt under the FLSA administrative exemption. The court conditionally certified the class, but we successfully limited the potential class to only certain grades of pipeline controllers. Further, after challenging plaintiffs’ faulty notice and successfully resolving the federal court lawsuit, only two claimants remain in arbitration.

Representation of Financial Services/Investment Firms
Representation of financial services/investment firms in cases involving allegations of employment discrimination, ADA disability and failure to accommodate, wage hour claims, breach of fiduciary duties under ERISA, whistleblower/retaliation allegations, and breach of contract claims by financial analysts concerning compensation and commissions.

FLSA Collective Action—Off the Clock Claims; In the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas—Houston Division
Represented the holding company of various Chevron gas stations in an FLSA collective action maintained by a proposed class of gas station cashiers who were allegedly told to work off the clock. Successfully prevailed at the conditional certification stage and the court denied Plaintiff’s motion for conditional class certification. This matter was then resolved on favorable terms.