Texas Partners Beverly Bond and Chip Adams successfully defended a race, national origin and age discrimination case filed by a former employee of a major metal extrusion manufacturer.
The plaintiff was employed by the firm’s client as a mechanical engineer and maintenance manager and whose position was terminated as part of a reduction in management positions. Plaintiff was offered and accepted a severance package including pay, benefits, and outplacement services. Six months after his termination, plaintiff filed a complaint with the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) alleging employment discrimination. The plaintiff alleged he was terminated and never offered re-employment because of his race, national origin, and age.
The EEOC found no evidence of discrimination and dismissed the complaint. Plaintiff then filed a complaint in Texas state court based on the same allegations. After discovery, Gordon & Rees filed a motion for summary judgment alleging plaintiff had entered into a valid severance agreement waiving any past or future claim for employment discrimination. Moreover, the plaintiff could not produce evidence of any discriminatory action. Adams argued the summary judgment and prevailed on all counts. The plaintiff appealed to the First District Court of Appeals in Houston.
The Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of Gordon & Rees’ client finding the plaintiff failed to identify any error by the trial court and specifically found the severance agreement valid and enforceable.
Bond and Adams were assisted by Dallas Senior Counsel Nathan Pearman at the trial level and associate Hoa Nguyen on appeal.