Monthly Archives: January 2014

Houston Court of Appeals Holds That a Doctor’s Employment-Related Claim Is Not a Health Care Liability Claim

Chapter 74 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code requires the dismissal of a health care liability claim unless the plaintiff files an expert report within 120 days. This is generally applicable in malpractice cases, but the courts have expanded the scope of the statute to cover other sorts of claims. In Methodist Hospital… Read More »

San Antonio Court of Appeals Upholds Causation in a Retaliation Case Despite a Three-Year Time Gap

Unlike ordinary discrimination claims, retaliation claims require “but for” causation: that the retaliatory act would not have occurred but for the plaintiff’s protected activity. It is common for plaintiffs to rely on “temporal proximity” (in other words, a short time gap between the protected activity and the adverse employment action) to prove causation. However, the… Read More »

Austin Court of Appeals Affirms Summary Judgment on Constructive Discharge Claim

When employees quit, rather than being fired, they can still sue for wrongful termination under a constructive discharge theory. However, the legal standard for constructive discharge is high. This is illustrated by Gardner v. Abbott, No. 03-12-00680-CV (Tex. App. — Austin 2013, no pet.) (now reported at 414 S.W.3d 369). Gardner was a state employee… Read More »

Dallas Court of Appeals Reverses Retaliation Judgment Due to Deficient Charge of Discrimination

Yet another plaintiff lost his case because of the failure to check the correct box on the charge of discrimination form. In this case, the plaintiff had actually won the case to a jury, only to see the judgment reversed due to a deficient charge. The case is ATI Enterprises, Inc. v. Din, No. 05-11-01522-CV… Read More »

Corpus Christi Court of Appeals Dismisses Claims Due to Deficient Charge of Discrimination

The process of filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC or TWC is supposed to be simple. However, deficiencies in the charge can be jurisdictionally fatal to a plaintiff’s claim. The biggest sources of problems are (1) plaintiffs who file charges on their own, relying on the EEOC or TWC personnel for assistance; and… Read More »

El Paso Court of Appeals Finds UTEP Subject to Suit for Harassment of a Contractor’s Employee

On July 10, 2013, the El Paso Court of Appeals issued its opinion in University of Texas at El Paso v. Ochoa, No. 08-12-00115-CV (Tex. App. — El Paso 2013) (now reported at 410 S.W.3d 327). The issue in the case was whether UTEP could be sued for sexual harassment and retaliation by the employee… Read More »

Dallas Court of Appeals Affirms Award for Employee on TWC Wage Claim

On June 13, 2013, the Dallas Court of Appeals issued its opinion in JMJ Acquisitions Management, LLC v. Peterson, No. 5=12=00263-CV (Tex. App. — Dallas 2013, no pet.) (now reported at 407 S.W.3d 371). This case involves an appeal from a wage claim decided by the Texas Workforce Commission. Peterson worked for JMJ, which experienced… Read More »

Beaumont Court of Appeals Upholds a Physician Non-Compete

On June 13, 2013, the Beaumont Court of Appeals issued its decision in Sadler Clinic Association v. Hart, No. 09-12-00086-CV (Tex. App. — Beaumont 2013, pet. denied). This case discussed the enforceability of a non-compete in a physician’s contract. The court made three important holdings. First, the court considered the reasonableness of the buyout provision… Read More »

Beaumont Court of Appeals Finds a Non-Compete Overbroad When the Employer Failed to Justify the Need for the Restrictions

           On June 13. 2013, the Beaumont Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Hodgson v. U.S. Money Reserve. Inc., No. 09-13-00074-CV (Tex. App. – Beaumont 2013, no pet.).  This is an unpublished decision, but it is nonetheless interesting because it shows how one court of appeals is analyzing non-compete issues in the post-Marsh era…. Read More »

Supreme Court Holds That Donning and Doffing Protective Gear Constitutes “Changing Clothes” for Purposes of the FLSA

Today, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Sandifer v. United States Steel Corp., No. 12-417 (U.S. Jan. 27, 2014).  The issue in Sandifer was whether time spent by union employees in donning and doffing of protective gear constituted compensable time for purposes of an overtime claim.  The Court held that donning and doffing of protective gear… Read More »