In 2019, the attorneys at Wiley Walsh, P.C. acted as lead counsel in two federal jury trials and one arbitration.  With help by attorneys from Wiley Wheeler, P.C. on the jury trials and help by attorneys from Rob Wiley, P.C., our clients prevailed in all three proceedings.  We also co-counseled with the EEOC in a case that resulted in a cutting-edge consent decree against a major airline involving online sexual harassment.  

In 2020, despite a pandemic, shelter-at-home-orders, and the closing of the courts to in person proceedings, we did even better.  Although, there were no trials, our appellate docket was very successful.  

And it started right away.  First, on January 7, the Administrative Review Board reversed summary judgment against one of our clients asserting retaliation under the Surface Transportation Assistance Act.  We alleged that our client was retaliated against by a trucking company for reporting safety issues.  The Administrative Review Board held that our client was entitled to a full hearing on the merits.  That hearing is currently scheduled for April 2021.

Another appellate victory came in June, when the Fifth Circuit partially reversed summary judgment against our client on a Section 1981 race discrimination claim against the Edwards County Sheriff’s Department.  That case is now back at the trial court awaiting rulings on a second round of motions before being set for a jury trial.

Despite the pandemic, I presented two oral arguments via zoom videoconferencing at the Fifth Circuit.  Less than a third of appeals filed with the Fifth Circuit are granted oral argument.  I am proud to say that I have received oral argument in all of my Fifth Circuit appeals except for one.  The first oral argument that occurred this year was in June.  I along with attorney Austin Campbell presented an issue of first impression regarding whether certain types of whistleblower claims could be compelled to arbitration.  When the decision came down on October 2 in that case, we prevailed on one of our claims.  The second oral argument occurred on December 2, 2020.  In that case, I argued whether or not a doctor could hold a hospital liable under Title VII and Section 1981 for race discrimination.  A decision in that case is expected in the early part of next year.

At the state appellate level, Attorney Jairo Castellanos was exceptionally successful, prevailing in all three of the appeals he worked on.  First, he was able to reverse a plea to the jurisdiction against our client in whistleblower case involving the Dallas Independent School District.  In that case, our client alleged that he had been terminated for reporting certain conduct to CPS, including that teacher inappropriately touched a student.  DISD argued that our client had not properly initiated an internal grievance before filing suit.  The Dallas Court of Appeals disagreed and reversed judgment against our client.  

Two months, Mr. Castellanos prevailed again.  This time, he won confirmation of the arbitration award he had obtained the previous year.  The employer had asked the Court of Appeals to throw out the judgment against it.  The Corpus Christi Court of Appeals refused to throw out the award and confirmed a six-figure judgment in favor of our client.

Two months after that, Mr. Castellanos won his third appeal.  On December 10, the Austin Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s denial of a plea to the jurisdiction finding there was a fact issue regarding whether or not our client was terminated because of his whistleblower reports about patient abuse at the Terrell State Hospital.    

In 2020, we also received several honors for our work.  In April, one of our jury verdicts from 2019 was listed as one of the top jury verdicts in the state of Texas for that year.  In that same month, I was also once again named a Texas Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine, a Thomson Reuters publication.  In July, both Mr. Castellanos and I were named two of Austin’s Top Attorneys in employment law by Austin Monthly Magazine.   

2020 was definitely different.  The pandemic changed everything, including the nature of employment, employers’ responsibilities towards employees, and even the nature of work itself.  But as the above shows, Wiley Walsh, P.C. was able to keep fighting for employee rights and looks forward to continuing to do that this year.

If you have experienced discrimination or retaliation at work, please contact an employment lawyer to discuss your options. 

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Photo of Colin W. Walsh Colin W. Walsh

We asked Colin W. Walsh, an experienced Trial Attorney in the Austin office of Rob Wiley, P.C., to impart his candid answers to a range of questions.   After reading, you will be more more informed on the well-respected reputation that Mr. Walsh 

We asked Colin W. Walsh, an experienced Trial Attorney in the Austin office of Rob Wiley, P.C., to impart his candid answers to a range of questions.   After reading, you will be more more informed on the well-respected reputation that Mr. Walsh carries.

1. What do you like most about being an employment lawyer?

I enjoy getting tangible results for my clients and being involved in an area of law that affects everybody every day.

2. What is the most important issue to you of being an advocate?

One of the most important issues to me as an advocate is to not only zealously represent my clients, but also the law.

3. What kind of clients do you like best?

I like the clients that I am able to help who were not able to find help elsewhere.  On a couple of occasions now, a client has told me that my firm is the first one that has listened to his or her issue and offered any kind of assistance.

4. What do you think is the most important part of a good case?

The client.  If the client is not invested, then the other side won’t take it seriously and neither will the jury.

5. What labor and employment issues do you think are currently trending?

The biggest employment discrimination issues I see right now are related to age, disability, and pregnancy discrimination.  For some reason, these types of discrimination seem to be acceptable to employers.  The other issues right now are minimum wage and overtime pay.

6. Who is your favorite Supreme Court Justice?

Justice William Brennan.

7. What would you say to HR of a company about how to treat employees?

It would be to listen to your employees.  Most employees are not looking to sue when he or she goes to Human Resources.  These employees are sincerely looking for help.  Nothing makes an employee seek legal counsel like when he or she complains about something and HR starts investigating the employee instead of the complaint.

8. Besides Rob Wiley, P.C., what is the most interesting job that you have had?

The most interesting job I’ve had is working as an extra in film and television.  I should have known that I was destined to be a lawyer at that point because two of my biggest gigs were the TV show “Boston Legal” and the film Charlie Wilson’s War.

9. What is your favorite food?

Meat pies.  I first discovered them when I studied abroad in undergrad.  I can’t believe these have not caught on in the U.S. because they are brilliant.

10. What’s the best part of living in Austin?

All of the outdoor festivals.  And the Longhorns.

Colin W. Walsh is a Trial Attorney in the Austin office of Rob Wiley, P.C.  He graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in theatre in 2006.  Mr. Walsh then graduated from The University of Texas School of Law with honors in 2011.