Texas trial & appellate boutique known for noteworthy wins in other courts too
HOUSTON – Appellate lawyers with Houston-based Wright Close & Barger scored a 9-0 decision from the U.S. Supreme Court in a closely watched religious discrimination case that made national headlines and carried big implications for employers and state and local governments.
The ruling in Fort Bend County vs. Davis united both conservative and liberal justices with an interpretation signaling that employers must be expeditious when challenging a worker’s claim of job bias. The opinion also cemented the authority of the courts in discrimination cases like this one.
"We are grateful for this important decision, which ensures a fairer system for all victims of employment discrimination. It also clarifies the process for employers and governments," said appellate specialist Raffi Melkonian who delivered oral arguments on behalf of plaintiff Lois Davis. The case marked his first time making oral arguments before the Supreme Court.
Also on the appellate team were firm co-founder Tom Wright and appellate specialist Russ Hollenbeck along with Brian Fletcher and Pam Karlan of the Stanford Law School Supreme Court Litigation Clinic.
That big win is just the latest in a long list of appellate victories for Wright Close & Barger, a small firm with an oversized caseload and a high success rate. During the first half of 2019, the firm presented arguments in nearly a dozen appellate cases.
Last year, the firm scored 13 appellate wins. Here is a sampling:
- Name partner Jessica Barger won a reversal in Texas appellate court of a $17 million jury verdict against a contractor in a personal injury case, securing a take-nothing judgment. The client also was cleared of gross negligence claims.
- Mike Choyke and Tom Wright won a 5th Circuit decision for an insurance company in a ruling that determined legal malpractice insurance doesn’t cover fees that are improperly charged.
- Russ Hollenbeck and Brad Snead won a Texas appellate decision for an offshore oil company in a personal injury case that involved Louisiana premises liability law.
- Wanda McKee Fowler, a former Texas appellate judge, won an appeal for a propane company, saving the client $15 million in a personal injury case.
On the U.S. News – Best Lawyers list of Best Law firms for 2019, Wright Close & Barger earned a National Tier 1 ranking for its appellate practice. It’s also ranked Tier 1 in Houston in appellate, commercial litigation and personal injury defense. Five of the firm’s partners are Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
As for the recent Supreme Court win, the June 3 ruling produced coverage in The National Law Journal, Law360 and The Texas Lawbook. Ms. Davis’ discrimination case is now cleared to move forward through the Texas federal court system where the Wright Close & Barger trial team will be just as well prepared and aggressive in pursuing justice.
Wright Close & Barger LLP is a Houston-based civil trial and appellate firm handling complex trial and appellate work for clients across Texas. The firm's team of experienced attorneys has a track record of achieving favorable resolutions in cases involving catastrophic personal injury, insurance coverage, intellectual property, oil and gas, product defects, commercial disputes, arbitration and mediation, trade secrets, and trust and estate litigation, among others. Wright Close & Barger also assists with pretrial motions, special evidence problems, challenges to expert witnesses, and the critical work on the court's charge to the jury. To learn more, visit www.wrightclosebarger.com.