DALLAS, September 26, 2019 – Baker Botts has been recognized by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas for its work in a civil appointment case. After being contacted by chambers for Judge Sidney Fitzwater about defending the case, the team of Tim Durst, Ruben Gandia (former Associate), Leanne Thoreson, Caleb Graves, Teri Merrick, and David Gerkin defended and successfully resolved the case.
Baker Botts represented the defendants in the case, which largely centered on FLSA and state unpaid wage claims. In a purported collective action, two plaintiffs sued Father John Parnell and the St. Augustine Catholic Church and School at which he is a pastor. Plaintiffs alleged that they were employees of the church and that Father John and the church had failed to pay them. One of the plaintiffs also brought an FLSA retaliation and state assault claim. Plaintiffs sought substantial actual and enhanced damages and attorneys' fees. Father John and the church denied all claims, including that plaintiffs were actual employees of the church.
Prior to the firm appearing in the case, Father John had been acting pro se. The Baker Botts team developed the defense theory for the case, undertook substantial fact investigation and development, took and defended a number of depositions, filed dispositive motions, and prepared the case for trial. Associates Caleb Graves and Ruben Gandia argued the summary judgment motion before Judge Fitzwater. The Court granted the motion in significant part, dramatically reducing the claims and potential liability faced by the defendants. That led to settlement of the case for a small fraction of the amount plaintiffs had claimed. In a summary judgment decision, Judge Fitzwater expressed his appreciation to the Baker Botts team for the quality of its briefing and oral argument.
The team was then recognized by the Chief Judge of the Northern District of Texas for their efforts, who met with the team and thanked them for taking appointment.
Shown Above: Tim Durst, Ruben Gandia (former Associate), Chief Judge Barbara Lynn, and Caleb Graves
Caleb Graves and Chief Judge Barbara Lynn
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