AZA defeated a nationally-known civil rights lawyer when the firm secured a victory for client National Oilwell Varco in a discrimination lawsuit filed by employees seeking $120 million.
Houston-based NOV, an oilfield equipment supplier, argued that the eight current and former African American employees were not treated differently because of their race. The federal jury heard 12 days of testimony in the trial before Judge Lee H. Rosenthal in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
The plaintiffs were represented by high-profile civil rights lawyer Angela M. Alioto of San Francisco’s Law Offices of Mayor Joseph L. Alioto and Angela Alioto. The lawsuit complained of racial discrimination, hostile work environment and retaliation. It alleged non-African-Americans got raises and promotions that were denied to the plaintiffs, in addition to claiming that racial slurs were frequently used in the workplace. But the jury found that NOV had not violated the rights of the plaintiffs, seven former NOV employees and one current NOV employee.
Special trial counsel John Zavitsanos, called in just a few months before trial by co-counsel, offered evidence that showed there were several non-discriminatory reasons some of the workers did not receive promotions, were not asked to return to their jobs after taking unauthorized leave or were fired for cause.