A Travis County district court has dismissed a wrongful-termination suit, in which a lawyer alleged the State Bar of Texas “fired” him from his job as a senior planning attorney because of his disability.
Judge Tim Sulak of the 343rd District Court dismissed the suit with prejudice Oct. 25, noting that plaintiff M. Montgomery Miller (pictured, right) and the State Bar each had to pay their own costs and attorneys’ fees. The move came after the parties filed an agreed motion to dismiss on Oct. 17 that said they “resolved all of their disputes and settled all matters.”
State Bar General Counsel Don Jones writes in an email that the case settled as of Sept. 30.
“Both parties agree and acknowledge that nothing contained in the settlement agreement constitutes an admission by either party of any violation of law or of wrongdoing. The case was settled for just under $50,000,” Jones writes.
“As part of the settlement, Mr. Miller was reinstated with no compensation and resigned as of Sept. 30, 2011,” he writes.
In the April 6 original petition in M. Montgomery Miller v. State Bar of Texas, Miller alleged he was a 15-year employee of the Bar until Sept. 21, 2010, when he was fired from his position with the Continuing Legal Education Department. Miller alleged he suffers from chronic foot pain caused by several medical conditions, noting that two weeks after he emailed his supervisor and raised the medical issue, he was “fired because of his disability.” Miller claimed his termination violated the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA) and requested reinstatement to his former position, among other things.
In an original answer on April 27, the State Bar denied all the allegations. Among other things, the Bar claimed its actions towards the plaintiff were in compliance with the TCHRA and “were taken in good faith and for lawful, legitimate and nondiscriminatory reasons.”
Miller’s lawyer, Philip Durst (pictured, left), a partner in Deats Durst Owen & Levy in Austin, declines comment about the settlement. Miller didn’t immediately return a telephone call seeking comment. [Photo credit: Joel Salcido]
-- Angela Morris