Federal Appeals Court Upholds Judgment for CITGO in Employee Race Discrimination Lawsuit
July 8, 2014

HOUSTON – The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has upheld a summary judgment in favor of CITGO Petroleum Corp. in a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by an employee who was fired for unprofessional behavior and threatening a co-worker.

Attorney Monica Uddin of the Houston law firm Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C., or AZA, represented CITGO against claims stemming from the January 2012 firing of Jackie Gudger, a senior administrative assistant who claimed racial discrimination based on her African-American heritage.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas concluded that Ms. Gudger failed to show evidence of racial discrimination, retaliation or a hostile work environment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The court noted that CITGO’s Human Resources Department carefully investigated Ms. Gudger’s claims and that witnesses backed up the conclusions of the HR team. The court also found that CITGO had legitimate reasons for firing Ms. Gudger based on her unprofessional behavior, including evidence that she threatened another employee. The 5th Circuit agreed with the lower court’s assessment.

The July 3 opinion is Ms. Uddin’s second appeals court win in two months. In May, she also prevailed in a California state court case, winning a reversal from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal in a dispute between a homeowner and subcontractors.

Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C., or AZA, 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 in Chambers USA 2014 among the best in Texas commercial law; U.S. News & World Report and The Best Lawyers in America as one of the country’s best commercial litigation firms in 2014; and Law360 as one of only 13 Texas Powerhouse law firms. National corporate counsel named AZA one of the country’s best in client service among law firms serving the Fortune 1000. Read more at


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