7 figure victory for 7 year case against America’s largest property tax consulting firm
April 30th, 2019 by David Minces
Last week, Minces PLLC was awarded over $1 million dollars in attorney’s fees and costs on top of the $286,671 judgment obtained against O’Connor & Associates. Our firm represented 11 former employees in a fight against the largest property tax firm in the United States.
As discussed in our blog covering the judgment rendered late last year, our clients were all residential property tax consultants who worked for O’Connor & Associates protesting property taxes for homeowners. All of our clients worked extremely long hours, especially during the property tax protest season. Our clients’ time-consuming work consisted of preparing files provided by Pathfinder (O’Connor & Associates’ Indian subsidiary) and protesting at the appraisal district they were assigned to (mainly Harris County Appraisal District or “HCAD”).
In September 2018, United States District Court Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy found that O’Connor & Associates violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by failing to pay overtime to property tax consultants. As a result, the consultants, who were misclassified as exempt, were awarded 100% of their unpaid overtime. The FLSA mandates that employers pay their employees time and one half for each hour worked over 40 in a workweek. Our clients were awarded overtime ranging from $7,000-$51,000 per person, depending on their length of service and salary, for a total of $286,671. Further, Patrick O’Connor and his wife Kathleen O’Connor (the owners of the company) were also found jointly and severally liable, and are thus legally responsible for satisfying the judgment.
The FLSA provides that attorney’s fees and costs are recoverable to compensate attorneys, who often work on a contingency basis, for their recovery of their client’s unpaid wages. Oftentimes, litigation fees and costs far exceed the amount of unpaid overtime. In fact, as Judge Stacy noted in her Order, “it is not uncommon that attorney fee requests can exceed the amount of judgment in the case by many multiples.” (citing Howe v. Hoffman-Curtis Partners Ltd., LLP, 215 Fed. Appx. 341, 342 (5th Cir. 2007)).
All of us at Minces PLLC are very happy to have recovered every dollar of unpaid overtime that our clients sought as well as the fees and costs we incurred during this 7 year case. If you think you may be owed overtime wages contact our firm, we would love to help.
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