Jeff Avery is a partner at Doyle Dennis LLP in Houston, Texas. Throughout his career, Jeff has fought to protect employees’ rights in Texas and throughout the United States. Jeff is a trial lawyer and believes that the best advocates fight for their clients before a jury. Through his advocacy, Jeff has helped obtain significant verdicts and appellate victories in favor of employees. Following his success in court, Jeff has become a leading Texas employment trial lawyer. Jeff has given presentations and taught educational seminars regarding the strategy and structure of employment trials. Jeff is also actively involved in the American Association of Justice, and Jeff is currently the vice-chair of the Admiralty Section. Jeff is also a member of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association.
In July 2019, as lead trial counsel, Jeff obtained a $1.73 million verdict in the case Ball v. Alleyton Resources Company LLC – one of the largest single-plaintiff employment verdicts in the State of Texas. This verdict was more than 850 times the final offer before trial. As part of that case, the jury found that the employer retaliated and wrongfully terminated Plaintiff Joseph Ball for instituting proceedings under the Texas Worker’s Compensation Act. The Jury then awarded Mr. Ball $1,706,187 in damages, including $164,168, in past lost wages, $675,519 in future lost wages, $100,000 in past mental anguish, $16,500 in future mental anguish, and $750,000 in punitive damages. On June 3, 2021, the 14th Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed this verdict. Alleyton Res. Co. v. Ball, No. 14-19-00816-CV2021, Tex. App. LEXIS 4324 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] June 3, 2021, pet pending). The jury’s verdict sent a powerful message to employers within the state of Texas that retaliation will not be tolerated.
In October 2016, Jeff second-chaired a $1.9 million verdict in Newberne v. the State of North Carolina. Initially filed in 2002, the plaintiff in Newberne worked as a state-trooper for the state of North Carolina. As a result of reporting illegal conduct by a fellow officer, the department terminated the plaintiff. After years of appellate review by the North Carolina Supreme Court, and then again by the North Carolina Court of Appeals, Jeff was brought in as a key member of the trial team to get justice for the trooper. Ultimately, the jury found that State of North Carolina willfully and intentionally retaliated against the plaintiff for reporting illegal conduct in violation of North Carolina law.
In March 2017, Jeff was again part of the trial team for a defamation and antitrust case involving a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon against his former hospital. After a two-week trial, the jury awarded approximately $6.5 million in damages. This verdict was the largest tortious interference/defamation verdict in Texas that year. The Houston Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment in Mem’l Hermann Health Syst. v. Gomez, 584 SW3d 590 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2019).
In addition to his trial advocacy, Jeff has fought for employee rights as an appellate advocate. In January 2020, Jeff victoriously argued before the Texas Court of Appeals in Salas v. Fluor Daniel Servs. Corp., 616 S.W.3d 137 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2020, pet. denied). In that case, the trial court had granted final summary judgment in favor of the defendants in a retaliation lawsuit filed under Texas Labor Code 451.001. The trial court found that Section 451.001 did not apply to the employee because his employer had terminated him after his on-the-job injury and medical treatment but prior to the filing of his worker’s compensation claim. On appeal, the court reversed the trial court. Specifically, the court found that Section 451.001 protects employees who reported a worker’s compensation injury and received medical treatment – even when the employee has not yet filed the official claim paperwork.
Importantly, the decision by the Court of Appeals effectively closed a dangerous loophole that employers had utilized to terminate injured workers. As a result of Jeff’s advocacy, employers in the State of Texas cannot terminate an injured employee preemptively before the employee has the chance to file a worker’s compensation claim.
Jeff has also advocated for employee rights in the Fifth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals and the Texas and Louisiana Courts of Appeals. As part of his practice, Jeff represents the following groups of employees who have been wrongfully terminated or retaliated against by their employer:
In his free time, Jeff enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, playing the guitar, and watching the San Francisco Giants and the Fresno State Bulldogs.
Areas of Practice
Professional Associations and Memberships
Honors and Awards
CLEs and Presentations
Jeff Avery – Partner