HOUSTON – November 12, 2018 – As lead counsel for National Federation of Independent Business, the Texas Chamber of Commerce, the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Home Builders and the Texas Association of Builders (Plaintiffs), Ogletree Deakins filed a civil action against the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and others in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Lubbock Division alleging that a final rule promulgated by the DOL known as the Persuader Advice Exemption was unconstitutional and illegal. Ogletree Deakins secured a final judgment in favor of Plaintiffs on December 12, 2016. The District Court founded the challenged rule to be “defective to its core” and ordered “that the United States of America, its departments, agencies, officers, agents and employees . . . are hereby permanently enjoined on a national basis from implementing any and all aspects of the United States Department of Labor’s Persuader Advice Exemption Rule.” This was a major victory for employers throughout the United States whose right to effectively secure legal and other advice when faced with union efforts to organize their workers was threatened by the challenged rule. On January 18, 2017, the District Court issued an order awarding Plaintiffs $331,656.66 in attorneys’ fees, expenses and costs.
The DOL appealed both the final judgment and the fee award to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. During the pendency of the appeals, the Department of Labor rescinded the challenged rule through the rule making process. The appeals have now been settled, and on November 9, 2018, the DOL filed motions to dismiss the two appeals.
Jeffrey Londa, a shareholder in Ogletree Deakins’ Houston Office who served as lead counsel for the Plaintiffs, made the following comments about the settlement:
“The settlement and dismissal of DOL’s two appeals satisfies Plaintiffs’ and our two objectives. First and most significantly, neither the settlement nor the dismissal of the appeals sets aside the national injunction that we secured. The injunction remains in place, thereby restricting future DOLs from promulgating the same or a similar rule in the future. Second, we secured a substantial payment of $128,930 to fully reimburse our expert witnesses for expenses that they incurred testifying in support of our efforts and partial payment of legal expenses for our team of lawyers who worked so hard to achieve a successful result.”
About Ogletree Deakins
Ogletree Deakins is one of the largest labor and employment law firms representing management in all types of employment-related legal matters. Premier client service, as outlined in the firm’s Client Pledge, is one of the firm’s top priorities and a cornerstone of its core values. U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” has named Ogletree Deakins a “Law Firm of the Year” for eight consecutive years. In 2019, the publication named Ogletree Deakins its “Law Firm of the Year” in the Employment Law - Management category. Ogletree Deakins has more than 850 attorneys located in 53 offices across the United States and in Europe, Canada, and Mexico. The firm represents a diverse range of clients, from small businesses to Fortune 50 companies. www.ogletree.com