AZA’s $20M Take-Nothing Verdict for National Oilwell Varco Stands on Appeal
December 12, 2018

HOUSTON – A Texas appeals court has upheld a take-nothing jury verdict in favor of National Oilwell Varco, L.P., (NYSE: NOV), confirming that a company employee was rightfully fired for a safety violation and not due $20 million in damages for racial discrimination.

In the 2016 trial, former NOV employee Dale L. Johnson admitted to jurors in Harris County’s 152nd State District Court that even he didn’t think he’d suffered discrimination until his trial lawyer convinced him he had.

On appeal, Mr. Johnson argued that the trial judge improperly restricted presentation time during the trial and that NOV had intentionally destroyed video evidence. A panel of the 14th Court of Appeals of Houston rejected the time constraint argument and found no evidence of intentional destruction of the video in question.

“It is always good to see a jury verdict affirmed and unwarranted claims against our clients shot down by the appellate courts,” said John Zavitsanos, a founding partner of AZA, or Ahmad, Zavitsanos & Mensing, who represents NOV. Also representing NOV are attorneys Christopher E. Moore and Audrey Calkins of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., in New Orleans.

The Law360 news outlet covered the appellate win in an article headlined, Ex-Oilfield Co. Worker Can’t Revive $20M Race Bias Suit (subscription required).

The case is Dale L. Johnson v. National Oilwell Varco LP, case number 14-16-00440-cv, in the Texas Court of Appeals for the 14th District.

AZA, or Ahmad, Zavitsanos & Mensing, is a Houston-based law firm that is home to true courtroom lawyers with a formidable track record in complex commercial litigation, including energy, intellectual property, and business dispute cases. AZA is recognized by Chambers USA 2018 among the best in Texas commercial law; by U.S. News – Best Lawyers’ Best Law Firms as one of the country’s best commercial litigation firms for seven years running including 2019; and previously by Law360 as a Texas Powerhouse law firm. National corporate counsel named AZA one of the country’s best in client service among law firms serving the Fortune 1000.


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