Tales From the Panhandle of Texas
by Michael Fox
The absence of reports since last Friday was not because of an extended MLK holiday, but rather a call to trial in the Northern District of Texas, Amarillo division. And even though Monday was a federal holiday, I was making a circuit of Amherst, Muleshoe and Dimmitt for final witness preparation!
All is well that ends well however, as after only 30 minutes the 8 person jury returned a complete defense verdict. The claims were age and race discrimination as well as failure to pay overtime. The latter claim turned on whether the company properly administered a fluctuating work week method of payment. Judge Mary Lou Robinson who is the sole federal judge sitting in Amarillo is nearing her 50th year on the bench, having been a long time state court judge before her 1979 appointment to the federal court. It is clear that she still enjoys trying cases.
The trial also marked the third step in the odd personal goal of mine of trying a jury trial on all four corners of Texas. I now have tried employment law jury cases in El Paso (actually 2), Texarkana and Amarillo. And although I have handled numerous cases down in the Valley over the years, I am still waiting for a jury trial to make the 4th leg.
In any event, sorry for those of you who showed up for employment law news and found nothing, or now this report, but more substantive reports should soon follow in due course.