AZA’s Steven Mitby Named Appellate Lawyer of The Week for Win in Houston Continental Pilots Divorce Case
July 10, 2011
HOUSTON – Texas Lawyer newspaper has named Houston attorney Steve Mitby of the complex commercial litigation law firm of Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C. as the state’s Appellate Lawyer of the Week based on his efforts to help a group of airline pilots claim nearly $5 million in pension benefits.
Read the Texas Lawyer story here. (May require subscription for access).
In the ERISA-based dispute, Mitby worked with AZA attorney Joseph Ahmad and Houston attorney Howard Dulmage to represent five Continental pilots who resigned or were fired after they divorced and remarried their former spouses. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the pilots over their early pension benefit payouts and the legality of their divorces. The case obtained national and international press coverage and was closely watched by pension plan administrators.
“The 5th Circuit affirmed that employers don’t have the right to challenge the motivations behind someone’s divorce. That’s a fundamental privacy right that everyone can be grateful for,” Mitby told Texas Lawyer.
“The main thing at stake was their pensions. Continental [was] suing to regain the pensions, and for most pilots that’s about a million dollars,” Mitby said.
Learn more in this press release about the case.
Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C. is a Houston-based law firm that is home to true courtroom lawyers with a formidable track record in complex commercial litigation, including energy, intellectual property, securities fraud, construction, and business dispute cases. AZA is one of only 32 firms in the U.S. to be recognized as “awesome opponents” in a nationwide poll of corporate general counsel who were asked to name the law firms they hope their companies never have to face in court. In fact, AZA has been hired on many occasions by the same companies the firm has prevailed against at trial.