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Attorney Profiles
Martin A Shellist 
Houston, Texas
Partner
phone 832-539-4690
866-942-9973
fax 713-621-0993
email Email Me

I am a trial lawyer dedicated to helping executives and others protect their rights.  You worked hard for your position, salary, and benefits (stock, health insurance, etc.), and I’ll work just as hard to protect them. Since 1994, our Firm has negotiated thousands of settlements, including severance packages, for executives, "c"-level officers, senior-level management, and others.  You will want a seasoned trial lawyer handling your negotiations from the beginning so that you are fully protected in the event you find yourself in litigation -- which is typically an avenue of last resort. You will also want an attorney undaunted by the people trampling your rights.  I have taken the depositions of CEOs, judges, mayors, police chiefs, company owners, chairmen of boards of directors, and others who oftentimes act like they are above the law.  This experience is a reality check for many when they are called to task under oath and the truth is exposed.  Since graduating from South Texas College of Law in 1993, I’d say that, other than negotiating settlements, the cross examination of witnesses (at trial and at deposition) is my favorite thing to do.

Of equal import, our Firm has a great reputation among employment defense lawyers in Texas and across the United States.  We have worked hard since establishing the Firm in 1994 to earn and protect our good name, so we know what’s at stake when your employer attempts to take yours from you.  Although some of our case successes are listed on this web site, feel free to call me to discuss our Firm’s specific experience handling cases involving issues such as yours.  For example, just recently I won a $3.2 million sexual harassment verdict against a former judge.  For that victory, I was named "Litigator of the Week" by Texas Lawyer.  I also have the honor of having handled a whistleblower lawsuit involving the City of Houston, Texas, which resulted in what I believe is the largest such jury verdict against the City.  My client, Sam Levingston, was awarded in excess of $1.2 million, plus attorney’s fees.  I have also successfully handled multi-state class action claims against Starbucks and Brinker International.  These are not meant to be fully inclusive, nor as guarantees of success, but are a reflection of the commitment I make to each case I accept.  Whether your issue involves Sarbanes-Oxley, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, state-enacted whistleblower laws, discrimination, breach of employment contracts, or wage violations (including class actions), I will dedicate the Firm’s resources to protect your rights.

Although I was born in Chicago, the fine State of Texas has been my home since 1977.  I am licensed to practice law in Texas, and in other federal jurisdictions.  If a case involves people or issues in other states, we’ll travel or retain local counsel to ensure we are on a level playing field.  No matter what you decide, I want you to find counsel with whom you fit.  You should select a law firm with deep, relevant experience.  Please call or email me so that we can explore whether Shellist | Lazarz | Slobin, can be of assistance.

Seriously Outstanding
only 5% selected each year
Areas of Practice:
Administrative Law
Civil Rights
Constitutional Law
Employment Law - Employee/Employer
Labor Law
Litigation & Appeals
Personal Injury - Plaintiff
Products Liability Law
Professional Malpractice Law
Securities Law
State, Local & Municipal Law
Toxic Torts
Litigation Percentage:
85% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
Bar Admissions:
Texas, 1993
U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, 1994
U.S. District Court Western District of Texas, 1995
U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit, 1994
U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 2000
Education:
South Texas College of Law, Houston, Texas, 1993
J.D.


University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas
B.A.
Major:  Marketing


University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas
B.S.
Major:  Psychology


Representative Cases:
Sanlo v. Montgomery County, 18 SW 3d 310 (Beaumont 2000)
City of Houston v. Cotton, 31 SW 3d 823 (Houston (1st) 2000)
Harris County v. Lawson, 122 SW 3d 276 (Houston (1st) 2003)
Marting, et. al. v. Schumberger, 338 E 3d 407 (5th Cir. 2003)
Honors and Awards:
Fellow - Houston Young Lawyers Foundation, 1999 - Present


Professional Associations and Memberships:
National Employment Lawyers Association - Houston Chapter, 1996 - 1997
President


National Employment Lawyers Association - Houston Chapter, 1995 - 1996
Vice-President


Ancillary Businesses:
Employment Practices Consulting
Fraternities/Sororities:
Sigma Alpha Mu

Successes

  • $730K settlement awarded in gender discrimination case

    A federal court jury Friday returned a $730,000 gender discrimination judgment in favor of Surina Dixon - who was hired as women's basketball coach at Texas Southern University in March 2008 but left in a contract dispute without coaching a game.

  • $3.2M settlement awarded in sexual harassment case

    A former Brazoria County judge has been ordered to pay more than $3 million to three women who say he sexually harassed them while he was on the bench.

  • $875,000 Settlement in Whistleblower suit against the City of Houston

    The city council agreed to pay $875,000 to a veterinarian who successfully sued the City of Houston; after he was unfairly fired from his job at the city's animal pound for complaining of animal abuse at the kennel. The jury found him retaliated against by his superiors who fired him with prejudice.

  • Wage & Hour Settlement in the amount of $574,000

    Our firm represented 70 current and former servers of a restaurant chain that required its servers to share a portion of their tips with the managers and owners of the restaurant.

  • $375,000 Jury Verdict in a Gender Discrimination suit against the Houston Police Department

    The jury found a female HPD cadet was discriminated against because of her gender when she was fired from the cadet class. HPD said she violated the Cadet Code of Conduct by carrying a gun in her personal car; however there were previous cases where male cadets were only reprimanded and not terminated.

  • Sexual Harassment Settlement in excess of $300,000

    Our firm represented several employees who were sexually harassed by a male supervisor. After obtaining a letter of determination from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, our firm was able to negotiate a settlement in excess of $300,000.

  • Verdict in excess of $300,000 in National Origin Discrimination Case

    Our firm represented a former dental professor at the University of Texas Health & Science Center who was discriminated against based on his national origin. At trial, we provided evidence of racial slurs, retaliation, and disparate wages in comparison to white professors. After two days of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the professor and awarded mental anguish damages in excess of $150,000.

  • $250,000 Jury Verdict in a Racial Discrimination suit against Montgomery County Sheriff's Department

    The jury found the Lieutenant was demoted from a Detective to Recruiting because he is black. He was terminated six months after complaining to authorities. The jury agreed the termination was a form of retaliation and awarded him lost wages past and future.

  • $229,268 Jury Verdict in a Reverse Discrimination suit against the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority ("Metro")

    A white male employee sued the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority ("Metro") alleging race discrimination in violation of Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code. The employee was denied a promotion to the position of Superintendent despite being the most qualified person for the position. The jury found that the interview panel was tainted by a person on the panel, the second term president of the local chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials ("COMTO"), and an organization which promotes the creation of opportunities for minorities.

  • Same-Sex Sexual Harassment Settlement in excess of $150,000

    Our firm represented a male employee who was sexually harassed by another male employee at a construction company. We were able to open dialogue with the construction company and bring about a quick resolution for our client.

  • Wage & Hour Settlement in excess of $149,000

    Our firm represented 16 current and former waitresses at two popular bars that required their waitresses to work off-the-clock and to share a portion of their tips with members of management. The bar also failed to pay its waitresses overtime for hours they worked in excess of 40 in a work week. Our firm was able to demonstrate that the bar's actions were in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which resulted in settlement.

  • Arbitration award in excess of $120,000 in a Breach of Employment Contract suit.

    An employee of a Houston based company was terminated in breach of his employment contract. The company alleged that the employee had performance issues which allowed the company to terminate the employee under its "for cause" provision. Our firm was able to show that the alleged performance issues were false and that the company breached the employment agreement by terminating the employee prior to the expiration of the term of the agreement.

  • $115,000 Jury Verdict in a Racial Discrimination suit against the INS

    The jury found the INS discriminated against a black inspector. The inspector filed a complaint with authorities in the department for being passed over for promotion. The jury determined that passengers were solicited and asked to prepare written complaints against the employee to be used against him as a basis for termination. . The jury found the INS acted with prejudice toward the inspector.

  • $106,000 Jury Verdict in Wrongful Termination suit against the City of Houston

    The jury found the city acted with malice in firing a dog-catcher for reporting instances of animal cruelty and racial discrimination of Hispanic workers to a supervisor. Jurors concluded the city violated the state whistle-blower law, which prevents government agencies from retaliating against employees simply for reporting problems.

  • Wage & Hour Settlement in the amount of $100,000

    We filed suit on behalf of six servers of a fine dining establishment under the Fair Labor Standards Act, arguing that the restaurant's requirement that its servers share a percentage of their tips with the restaurant's manager was in violation of federal law. The parties were able to reach resolution of the matter at mediation.

  • Wage & Hour Settlement in the amount of $100,000

    The firm filed a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act on behalf of five current and former servers of a fine dining establishment, arguing that the restaurant violated federal law by failing to pay its servers overtime, requiring them to work off-the-clock, and requiring that its servers share a portion of their tips with the restaurant's manager on duty. After notice of the lawsuit was mailed to other current and former servers, an additional seven servers joined the lawsuit. The parties settled the case at mediation.

  • Wage & Hour Settlement in the amount of $95,000

    An employee of a communications company was terminated when he complained to management that he was not receiving overtime pay for hours he worked in excess of 40 in a work week. The company alleged that the employee was not entitled to overtime because he was exempt under the computer professional exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act, and that the employee was terminated because he refused to sign a non-competition agreement. Our firm was able to demonstrate that the employee did not meet the duties of an exempt computer professional, which resulted in settlement of the matter.


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EEOC

Shellist | Lazarz | Slobin is not affiliated with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Please click on the link to contact the EEOC.