Senate Confirms Nominee to Texas Federal Court

(Courthouse News photo/Jack Rodgers)

WASHINGTON (CN) — The Senate on Wednesday confirmed a partner at a Houston law firm to a seat on a federal court in Texas.

Drew Tipton has worked in the Houston office of the firm BakerHostetler since 1999 and currently leads the office’s employment and labor practice. Tipton will now serve on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas after being confirmed by the Senate 52-41 on Wednesday afternoon.

Before joining the firm, Tipton worked at the Victoria, Texas firm Houston, Marek & Griffin, and clerked for Judge John Rainey in the Southern District of Texas after graduating from the South Texas College of Law.

A sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve, Tipton was a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association from 2002 until 2008 and is a member of the conservative Federalist Society.

In one case that drew scrutiny from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Tipton represented a food services company that faced a lawsuit from an employee with an intellectual disability who was sexually assaulted by a coworker in a stadium bathroom during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

In explaining his work on the case, which ultimately settled, to the committee, Tipton said the facts were “heartbreaking,” but that it involved significantly complicated questions of Texas employment law. He acknowledged there are “certain steps employers should take” to protect against sexual harassment.

Tipton also faced questions about his representation of an oil field services company from an employment discrimination lawsuit a former employee filed after two drunk coworkers shot at him.

The employee claimed he had complained co-workers directed death threats and racial slurs towards him, with no response from the company. Early one morning, as the employee leaving town for the weekend, his coworkers, who had been drinking heavily, followed him and shot at his truck with a shotgun.

In urging the court to grant summary judgment to his client, Tipton argued the employees who shot at the plaintiff were not “acting within the course and scope of their employment” when firing the shots. The court eventually sided with Tipton’s client. 

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