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Haynes and Boone, LLP

Laura E. O

Laura E. O'Donnell

Partner

Expertise

  • Class Action Defense
  • Employment Litigation
  • Energy Power and Natural Resources
  • False Claims Act/Qui Tam

WSG Practice Industries

Activity

WSG Leadership

WSG Coronavirus Task Force Group
Member
Profile
Laura O'Donnell is dedicated to client service. She is a strong advocate and a trusted business partner.

Laura is co-chair of the firm's Litigation Practice Group and heads the firm’s Wage and Hour Litigation group. Laura is board certified in labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Her practice includes employment litigation, client counseling, executive investigations, executive agreements and employment aspects of M&A and other corporate transactions. On the litigation front, Laura focuses on the defense of FLSA collective actions, but Laura also regularly defends employers against a multitude of employment-related claims. Laura has handled several appeals of employment decisions to Texas Courts of Appeal, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.

Laura was named “2018 Lawyer of the Year” and “2016 Lawyer of the Year” for labor and employment litigation in San Antonio and Best Lawyers, Woodward/White, Inc., has recognized Laura since 2011. Laura was recognized in Chambers USA, Chambers and Partners, for labor and employment in Texas, 2017-2019, and Chambers USA previously identified Laura as an "Up and Coming Leading Business Lawyer" from 2005 through 2009. She has been recognized by Texas Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, from 2010-2018, and as a Texas Super Lawyer Rising Star, from 2004-2010. Laura is listed as an AV Preeminent Lawyer by Martindale Hubbell Law Directory and received the San Antonio Business Journal, American City Business Journals, “40 Under 40 Rising Stars” award in 2006. Additionally, she was recognized as a Standout Lawyer, Acritas Stars, 2018. In 2019, Benchmark Litigation by Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC named her a “Labor & Employment Star – South.”

Bar Admissions

Texas

Education

J.D., Baylor University School of Law, 1996, Presidential Scholarship Recipient; Member, Baylor Law Review
B.A., Trinity University, 1993
Areas of Practice

Class Action Defense | Employment Litigation | Energy Power and Natural Resources | False Claims Act/Qui Tam | Finance | Healthcare | Hospitality | Labor and Employment | Wage and Hour Litigation

Professional Career

Significant Accomplishments

Order granting complete summary judgment on claims of national origin discrimination and hostile work environment, retaliation, disability discrimination and failure to accommodate, FMLA interference and retaliation and wrongful discharge/ breach of contract. Leal v. Sinclair Broadcasting Group, et. al., No. 1:16-CV-679-DAE (W.D. Texas Austin 2019).

Order granting Motion to Compel Arbitration and dismissing case with prejudice. Fifth Circuit decision affirming district court order and U.S. Supreme Court petition for writ of certiorari denied. Clack vs. United States Services Automobile Association (USAA), No. 5:16-cv-01069 (W.D. Texas San Antonio 2017); No. 17-50827b (5th Cir. 2018); No. 18-159 (US 2018).

Order granting Motion to Compel Arbitration. Johns v. Pluckers, et. al., No. 01:17-0006-2235 (W.D. Texas Austin 2017).

Order granting Motion to Compel Arbitration and dismissing case with prejudice. Helms, Tindell & David v. Pioneer Energy Services Corp., No. 5:15-cv-00928-RCL (W.D. Texas San Antonio 2016).

Order granting a Rule 12(b)(6) partial dismissal of several parties and one claim. Leal v. Sinclair Broadcasting Group, et. al., No. A-16-CV-679-LY (W.D. Texas Austin 2016).

Defense Award, including assessment of attorneys’ fees and costs against claimant, on executive claims for breach of contract and FLSA retaliation, arbitrated in Dallas, Texas. Nancy J. Clark v. Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc., JAMS No. 1440004061 (2015).

Order denying the vast majority of EEOC’s Application to Enforce Administrative Subpoena, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. A’GACI, LLC, No. 14-MC-445-DAE (W.D. Texas San Antonio 2015)

Order that plaintiff failed to meet his burden for conditional certification on FLSA claims. Ramirez, individually and on behalf of all other persons similarly situated, v. Berks Warehousing & Trucking Corp., No. 12-1995 (FLW) (DEA), (D.N.J. 2014).

Summary judgment for national retailer on claims of hostile work environment and quid pro quo sexual harassment and retaliation in Comal County, Texas. Jordan Seibert v. The Scooter Store, Ltd., et. al., No. C2011-172A (2012).

Austin Court of Appeals decision reversing a jury verdict and holding that there was insufficient evidence of hostile work environment sexual harassment to submit claim to jury. Twigland Fashions, Ltd. v. Miller, 2010 WL 850170 (Tex. App.-Austin March 11, 2010, no pet.).

Defense award in a hostile work environment and quid pro quo sexual harassment claim against a regional restaurant chain, arbitrated in El Paso, Texas (December 2010).

Defense awards in two arbitrations challenging stock forfeiture provisions in national financial institution's employee incentive compensation plan, both arbitrated in Harris County, Texas (2009 and 2006).

Defense verdict on a quid pro quo sexual harassment claim against a national retail chain, tried to a jury in Travis County, Texas district court (2007).
Temporary Injunction after a six-day hearing in a case alleging breach of fiduciary duty, brought by a Texas construction company against a former employee and his new employer, in Bexar County, Texas district court (2007).

Decision denying Motion for Conditional Certification and notice and ruling FLSA in favor of regional restaurant chain Badgett v. TexasTaco Cabana, L.P., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74350 (S.D. Tex. Oct. 12, 2006).

Ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding summary judgment on ERISA denial of benefits claim and U.S. Supreme Court denial of certiorari (2006).

Defense verdict in a workers' compensation retaliation case against a national trucking company, tried to a jury in El Paso County, Texas district court (2001).

Defense verdict in a sexual harassment, sex discrimination and assault case against a national bank, tried to a jury in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division (1999).

Ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that an employer-initiated arbitration agreement is enforceable and Order from the United States Supreme Court denying certiorari in the appeal of the Fifth Circuit's opinion (1998).

Summary Judgments in cases alleging violations of the FLSA, Title VII, the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, the ADEA, the ADA, the Texas Workers' Compensation Act, the Texas Unemployment Act, COBRA, ERISA, the DOD Whistleblower Statute and various common law claims.
Articles

Relief for Employers and Workers under the CARES Act
Haynes and Boone, LLP, March 2020

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid,Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act into law. The CARES Act, which injects trillions of dollars into the economy, provides relief to employers and workers, alike...

COVID-19 Restructuring and the WARN Act
Haynes and Boone, LLP, March 2020

As the world changes in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, many employers will be forced to consider restructuring workforces, closing facilities and other employment-related options. But despite the unexpected nature of these difficult options, employers must nonetheless be aware of their notice requirements under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) and state mini-WARN acts...

FFCRA - Temporary Non-Enforcement - Employer Payroll Tax Credit
Haynes and Boone, LLP, March 2020

The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), the Department of Treasury, and the Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently issued preliminary guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA” or the “Act”) regarding (i) a temporary non-enforcement period during the first thirty (30) days of the Act; and (ii) more detail on how the employer payroll tax credit will work for the employer funding portion of the paid sick and child

WSG's members are independent firms and are not affiliated in the joint practice of professional services. Each member exercises its own individual judgments on all client matters.

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