Schaner Law Firm PLLC

Dean Schaner, founder of the Schaner Law Firm, specializes in labor and employment law with 30 years of experience, including all aspects of unfair competition, discrimination, retaliation, ERISA, wrongful termination, wage and hour, whistleblower, harassment, and contract/tort claims arising out of the employment relationship.

The Schaner Law Firm represents clients in labor and employment matters (for both employees and employers) and has tried a wide variety of cases in the federal and state courts, including the successful defense of an energy company in a class action case in which the plaintiffs sought $30 million in damages. He is certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization as a Labor and Employment Law Specialist.  Mr. Schaner is the Editor-in-Chief of the Texas Employment LaDesk Reference5th Edition. Additionally, as a member of the Social Media Practice Group, Mr. Schaner advises clients on matters regarding social media and the risks and implications it may have in the labor and employment arena.

Selected Client Representations

Mr. Schaner has successfully tried cases for employers in both Federal and Texas courts, including:

  • Defended national class action misclassification FLSA case involving officers of a mortgage company and financial institution; case successfully settled on favorable terms for the client.
  • Obtained numerous temporary restraining orders and injunctions for clients in non-competition agreement, unfair competition, trade secret, Computer Fraud Abuse Act, and inevitable disclosure cases.
  • Obtained a defense jury verdict for an oil and gas employer in a Texas state court, class action case in which the class plaintiffs sought $10 million in actual damages and $20 million in punitive damages. A Texas appeals court affirmed the defense
  • Defended class action employment discrimination and employee benefits lawsuits by preventing class certification and obtaining summary judgment on the merits. Several of the class actions sought nationwide class certification for thousands of putative plaintiffs.
  • Obtained jury verdicts for banking institutions, energy companies, and other employers on the merits of employee discrimination/wrongful discharge claims.
  • Convinced a Texas appeals court to adopt the after-acquired evidence doctrine, namely, the discovery of post-discharge employee misconduct to bar an employee’s wrongful discharge claim. Jordan v. Johnson Controls, Inc., 881 S.W.2d 363 (Tex. App.··Dallas 1994).
  • Convinced a Texas appeals court to reject plaintiff’s request to adopt the “cats-paw” doctrine in a workers’ compensation retaliation lawsuit under Texas law. Costello v. Bank of America, N.A., 2007 WL 4303499 (Tex. App.–Houston [14th Dist.] 2007).
  • Mr. Schaner has represented pro bono clients in cases involving HIV-positive employees and immigration matters.

Published Cases

Obtained summary judgment and judgment as a matter of law victories in numerous published cases, including:

  • Young v. Merrill Lynch & Co., 658 F.3d 436 (5th Cir. 2011) (affirming summary judgment in complex executive bonus lawsuit involving executive bonus plan)
  • Simmons v. Wilcox, 911 F.2d 1077 (5th Cir. 1990) (adopting exhaustion of administrative remedies requirement in ERISA fiduciary breach/benefits claims lawsuit).
  • Khavari v. Varo, Inc., No. 05-92-01733-CV, 1993 WL 84788 (Tex. App.­ Dallas 1993) (affirming summary judgment in contract breach and tort claims arising out of employment termination).
  • Geiger v. Varo, Inc., No. 05-93-1511-CV, 1994 WL 246159 (Tex. App. Dallas 1994) (affirming summary judgment on multiple count sexual harassment and assault lawsuit).
  • Nowlin v. Resolution Trust Corp., et al., 33 F.3d 498 (5th Cir. 1994) (affirming summary judgment for Haynes and Boone client, Mitchell Jobe, on scope of EEOC charge argument).
  • Ellis v. NCNB Texas National Bank, 842 F. Supp. 243 (N.D. Tex. 1994) (granting summary judgment for financial institution in one of first whistleblower cases filed under the Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act in which the plaintiff sought $6 million in damages; case was reported in the Big Suits section of the American Lawyer).
  • Simien v. Chemical Waste Management, Inc., 30 F. Supp. 2d 939 (W.D.La. 1998), aff’d, 174 F.3d 199 (5th Cir. 1999) (affirming summary judgment in race discrimination lawsuit).
  • Blanks and Breedlove v. Waste Management of Arkansas, Inc., 31 F. Supp. 2d 673 (W.D. Ark. 1998) {affirming summary judgment in nationwide class action case).
  • Amos v. Wheelabrator Coal Services Co., 47 F. Supp. 2d 798 (N.D. Tex. 1999) (granting judgment as a matter of law in ADA lawsuit).
  • Green v. Industrial Specialty Contractors, 1 S.W.3d 126 {Tex. App.­ Houston [1st Dist.] Mar. 25, 1999) (affirming summary judgment in sex harassment case involving six alleged harassment incidents).
  • Krug v. Caltex Petroleum Corporation, No. 05-96-0079-CV, 1999 WL 652495 (Tex. App.-Dallas 1999) (affirming jury verdict for the defense in fraud/contract class action lawsuit).
  • Patitu v. NationsBank, N.A., 90 F. Supp.2d 781 (S.D. Tex. 2000) (granting summary judgment in national origin discrimination case).
  • Tiemeyer v. Quality Publishing, Inc., 144 F. Supp. 2d 727 (S.D. Tex. 2001) (granting summary judgment in age discrimination case).
  • Burgos v. Tex. Trude, et al., 286 F. Supp. 2d 812 (S.D. Tex. 2003) (granting motion to dismiss on ERISA preemption grounds).
  • Bodine v. Employers Casualty Co., et al., 352 F.3d 245 (5th Cir. 2003) (affirming dismissal of ERISA lawsuit under anti-cutback and prohibited transaction ERISA provisions).
  • Bourgeois v. The Pension Plan for the Employees of Santa Fe Int’/ Corps., 308 F. Supp. 2d 761 (S.D. Tex. 2004) (granting summary judgment on pension benefits claim).
  • Costello v. Bank of America, N.A., 2007 WL 4303499 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2007) (affirming summary judgment on workers’ compensation retaliation claim and rejecting “cat’s paw” doctrine under Texas statute).
  • St. John v. NCI Bldg. Systems, Inc., 537 F. Supp. 2d 848 (S.D. Tex. 2008) (granting summary judgment on plaintiff’s ADA discrimination and retaliation claims).
  • Mensa-Wilmot v. Smith International, Inc., 312 SW.3d 771, 2009 Tex. App. LEXIS 8944 (Tex. App. – [1st Dist.] Nov. 19, 2009) (affirming summary judgment for employer on plaintiff’s non-qualified stock option claims under stock option agreements).
  • Young v. Merrill Lynch & Co., 658 F.3d. 436 (5th Cir. 2011) (holding that employer did not act arbitrarily, under New York law, in refusing to pay the value of unexercised stock options to former executive because the executive’s resignation was not a resignation for good reason after a change in control).
  • Successfully argued over 20 cases before the Texas Courts of Appeal, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Eighth and Ninth Circuits.


  • “Common Pitfalls in Preserving the Attorney-Client Privilege and Work­ Product Protection Facing Labor, Employment, and Employee Benefits Attorneys,” New York University Review of Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation – 2013 (October 2013).
  • Employment Law Survey 2011-2012, 45 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 727 (Spring 2013).
  • “Everyday Attorney-Client Privilege and Work Product Ethics for Labor, Employment, and Employee Benefits Attorneys,” BNA Pension & Benefits Daily (June 28, 2013).
  • Relying on Employer-Favorable Case Law Outcomes to Help Defend Against Employment Class and Collective Actions,” chapter in Inside the Minds publication, Strategies for Employment Class and Collective Actions: Leading Lawyers on Addressing Trends in Wage and Hour Allegations and Defending Employers in Class Action Litigation, Aspatore Books, (2012).
  • Focus on the Workplace: “Noncompete Agreements in the Employment Context,” Employee Benefit Plan Review, Vol. 66, No. 5 (November 2011).
  • Editor-in-Chief, Texas Employment Law Desk Reference (5th Ed., 2011).
  • FLSA Travel Issues: “I Would Walk 500 Miles But Would I Get Paid for it?” law 360 (July 19, 2011).
  • “Beware of the Claw: Implementing Mandatory Clawback Provisions in Executive Employment Agreements After Dodd-Frank,” Wolters Kluwer [Corporation Section 2, Vol. LXXXII, No. 14] (July 15, 2011).
  • “The EEOC Issues Final Regulations Implementing the ADAAA,” Associated Security Services and Investigators Magazine (June 2011).
  • “FLSA: Death Star Workers Were Independent Contractors,” Employee Benefit Plan Review (May 2011).
  • “Electronic Communications Policies Post Quon,” Law 360 (July 21, 2010).
  • “The Supreme Court Rejects Special Treatment for Title VII Pay Discrimination Claims,” Growth Magazine (May 2007).
  • “Moving Forward: The Enforceability of Non-Compete Agreements Following the Texas Supreme Court’s Decision in Alex Sheshunoff,” Growth Magazine (May 2007).
  • “Court Rulings Say the Workplace is not the Place for Proselytizing,” Houston Business Journal ( October 2006).
  • “When Faith and Work Collide: Addressing Religious Harassment in the Workplace,” Growth Magazine (September 2006).
  • “Don’t Give it all Away: Employee Confidentiality and Non-Competition Agreements,” Growth Magazine (November 2005).
  • “Employers Must Ponder Dangers of ‘Second-Hand’ Harassment,” Houston Business Journal (October 2005).
  • “Tips for Managers and Owners to Control and Regulate Access to Property,” Schaner, Wilson, and Carter, Houston Chapter of the Institute of Real Estate Management (March 2005) (Vol. 27 No. 3).
  • “Employment Law Post-Enron: Sarbanes-Oxley,” Texas Bar Journal, (January 2002).
  • “Courts ‘Mixed Motive’ Decision Affects Job Discrimination Cases,” Houston Business Journal (August 29-September 4, 2003).
  • “U.S. Supreme Court Takes Action on Mandatory Arbitration Issues,” Houston Business Journal (June 29-July 5, 2001).
  • “How to Protect your Company’s Trade Secrets with Employee Confidentiality and Non-Competition Agreements,” Houston Business Journal (May 18, 2001).
  • “Court Developments and Circuit Court Survey,” Alternative Dispute Resolution in Employment Journal (CCH July 2000).
  • “Recent OSHA Developments of Interest to Energy Law Practitioners,” Dean J. Schaner and Matthew Deffebach, Oil, Gas, and Energy Resources Law Journal for the State Bar of Texas (Vol. 27, No. 1 (September 2002).
  • “Employment Law Commentary for the Houston Business Journal’s Business Survival Guide” (2001-2005).
  • “Closing Your Doors on a Sixty-Day Hinge: Complying with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act,” Texas Bar Journal, June 1992.
  • “Workplace Romance: Should Employers Act as Chaperones?” 20 Employee Relations Law Journal 47 (Summer 1994).
  • “When Faith and Work Collide: Defining Standards for Religious Harassment in the Workplace,” 21 Employee Relations Law Journal (Summer 1995).
  • “Have Gun Will Carry: Concealed Handgun Laws, Workplace Violence and Employer Liability,” 22 Employee Relations Law Journal (Summer 1996).

Activities and Honors

  • Recognized by Chambers USA 2014-19 in Labor & Employment (Texas).
  • Member of the Exam Committee for the Texas Board of Legal Specialization Labor and Employment Law Exam Commission, 2005-2019.
  • Exam Coordinator for the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Labor and Employment Specialization Exam Committee, 2008-2019.
  • Chair of the Texas Labor and Employment Exam Committee, 2013-2020.
  • Member, Board of Directors, Houston West Chamber of Commerce.
  • Included in The Best Lawyers in America® 2012-2020 for Employment Law – Management.
  • Named as a Texas Super Lawyer in Texas Monthly Magazine in Employment Litigation Defense from 2003-2019.
  • Martindale Hubbell® Law Directory with a Peer Review Rating of AV® Preeminent™.
  • ALM and Martindale Hubbell® recognition of Top Rated Lawyer in Labor  & Employment Law, 2013-2017.

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