People: Kathryn "Chris" Palamountain, Senior Counsel

Photo of Kathryn "Chris" Palamountain, Senior Counsel

Kathryn "Chris" Palamountain

Senior Counsel

Houston
Direct: (713) 238-1886
Fax: (713) 821-0691
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Chris Palamountain is Senior Counsel at Seyfarth Shaw’s Houston office.  With over 18 years experience, Ms. Palamountain’s primary emphasis is litigating complex civil litigation, defending clients in the retail, professional services, energy services, and financial services sectors.  She represents parties in employment discrimination class actions, wage & hour collective actions, EEOC pattern or practice lawsuits, and civil rights/denial of access class actions brought in federal and state courts throughout the United States.  She also has significant experience defending against ADA Title III class and individual actions brought against public accommodations, as well as toxic tort and commercial disputes.

Among her various cases, Ms. Palamountain serves as defense counsel in one of the largest ongoing EEOC pattern or practice actions ever prosecuted by the U.S. Government.  Ms. Palamountain also defends large retailers against lawsuits brought by their employees.  She has extensive experience dealing with governmental entities at all phases of the litigation process, and she both defends clients against suits brought by the government and sues the government for failure to properly carry out its statutory duties and constitutional obligations.

Chris Palamountain is Senior Counsel at Seyfarth Shaw’s Houston office.  With over 18 years experience, Ms. Palamountain’s primary emphasis is litigating complex civil litigation, defending clients in the retail, professional services, energy services, and financial services sectors.  She represents parties in employment discrimination class actions, wage & hour collective actions, EEOC pattern or practice lawsuits, and civil rights/denial of access class actions brought in federal and state courts throughout the United States.  She also has significant experience defending against ADA Title III class and individual actions brought against public accommodations, as well as toxic tort and commercial disputes.

Among her various cases, Ms. Palamountain serves as defense counsel in one of the largest ongoing EEOC pattern or practice actions ever prosecuted by the U.S. Government.  Ms. Palamountain also defends large retailers against lawsuits brought by their employees.  She has extensive experience dealing with governmental entities at all phases of the litigation process, and she both defends clients against suits brought by the government and sues the government for failure to properly carry out its statutory duties and constitutional obligations.

Education

  • Stanford University Law School (1995)
    with distinction
  • B.A., University of Texas, Austin (1990)
    cum laude

Admissions

  • Texas
  • California

Courts

  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Eastern and Central Districts of California
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, Southern and Western District of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Clerkship

  • Hon. Thelton E. Henderson, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (1995 - 96)

Representative Engagements

Trial Experience

Ms. Palamountain has tried over 5 cases to verdict in federal and state courts throughout the United States, and she has substantial experience conducting arbitration proceedings. 

Title III Cases

  • Marie Bowman v. Rosbro Holding Corp. et al., No. 1:14-cv-05427-NRB (U.S. District Court/Southern District of New York) (representation of defendant in Title III litigation).
  • Howard Cohan v. 1st Hospitality Group d/b/a Hilton Chicago/Indian Lakes Resort, No. 15-cv-04869 (U.S. District Court/Northern District of Illinois) (representation of defendant in Title III litigation).
  • Access for the Disabled, Inc. et al. v. JPMorgan Chase & Co. d/b/a Chase National Bank, No. 9:15-cv-80362-DMM (U.S. District Court/Southern District of Florida) (representation of defendant in Title III litigation).
  • Deborah Thomas v. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. 3:14-cv-00622-JJB-SCR (U.S. District Court/Middle District of Louisiana) (representation of defendant in Title III litigation).
  • Jennifer McPhail v. Simon Property Group (Texas), L.P. et al., No. D-1-GN-11-002262 (98th Judicial District Court, Travis County, Texas) (representation of defendant in Title III litigation).
  • E. L. Corey v. Durant Commercial, LLC et al., No. 3:14-cv-03326-EDL (U.S. District Court/Northern District of California) (representation of defendant in Title III litigation).

Class Action Cases

Set out below are representative samples of Ms. Palamountain’s experience in class action litigation.  These cases are divided into categories involving: (A) private plaintiff class actions; (B) pattern or practice lawsuits brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; (C) wage & hour collective actions under 29 U.S.C. §216(b); (D) denial of access/civil rights class actions; and, (E) defending against individual claims

A. Private Plaintiff Class Actions

  • Jock, et al. v. Sterling Jewelers Inc., No. 08-CV-2875 (U.S. District Court/Southern District of New York) (ongoing representation in class action alleging gender discrimination in pay and promotions)
  • Scott, et al. v. Family Dollar Stores, Inc.; Civil Action No.:  3:08-cv-540-MOC-dsc (U.S. District Court/Western District of North Carolina) (obtained dismissal of class claims for potential class of 18,000 employees with no leave to amend in lawsuit regarding discrimination in pay and promotions on January 13, 2012).

B. EEOC Pattern Or Practice Lawsuits

  • EEOC v. Sterling Jewelers Inc., No. 08-CV-706 (U.S. District Court/Western District of New York) (ongoing representation in EEOC pattern or practice case alleging gender discrimination in pay and promotions).

C. Wage & Hour Collective Actions

  • Glass v. Konica Minolta Business Solutions, U.S.A., Inc., No. 4:11-cv-02172,
  • (S.D. Tex.) (obtained order striking over 80 consents to join FLSA collective action as procedurally improper on January 26, 2012).
  • Watson v. Konica Minolta Business Solutions, U.S.A., Inc., No. 10-CV-0986 (U.S. District Court/Southern District of Texas (ongoing representation in FLSA collective action)

D. Denial Of Access Class Actions

  • Linda Miller and Rebecca Wylie, individually on behalf of themselves and all other persons similarly situated v. See, Inc., a Michigan corporation; Case No.  1:11-cv-5161 (U.S. District Court/Northern District of Illinois) (ongoing representation in purported nationwide class action alleging violation of ADA in optometry services environment).
  • Celano, et al. v. Marriott Inc., No. 05-CV-4004 (U.S. District Court/Northern District of California) (representation in nationwide ADA denial of access class action regarding wheelchair accessible golf carts; class certification defeated on April 18, 2007).

E. Defense of Individual Claims or EEOC Charges

  • Safavi v. AECOM
  • Bascle v. JPMorgan, Case No. 11-cv-02845 (E.D. La.) (ongoing representation in ADA denial of access case to bank branch facilities)
  • Amanda Lawrence v. Schering-Plough Corporation. et al., Case No.  153-253404-11 (153rd Judicial District Court of Tarrant County, Texas)

Reported Cases At The Trial Level

  • Maria Caballero, et al., v. Kelly Services, Inc., Case No. H-14-1828, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137475 (S.D.TX 2015)
  • Isabel Mortera v. North America Mortgage Company, 172 F. Supp. 2d 1240 (N.D. Cal. 2001)
  • Ho v. Greene, 204 F.3d 1045 (10th Cir. 2000)
  • Nhoc Danh and Uong Ly v. Charles Demore, Acting District Director, San Francisco District Office, U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service, 59 F. Supp. 2d 994 (N.D. Cal. 1999)

Presentations

  • “High Courts Review: An Analysis of Recent Major Business Decisions and What to Expect Next,” Houston, Texas (November 2010)
  • ”Annual Supreme Court Roundup:  Key Decisions for Business from the Texas Supreme Court” (annually from October 2007 – October 2010)
  • “12th Annual Consumer Financial Services Litigation Institute:  PLI faculty member FDCPA /FCRA /Privacy Litigation Developments” (May 2007)
  • “SSI for Children with Disabilities,” San Francisco, CA (March 1997) Albuquerque, NM (June 1997) Houston, TX (August 1997) Austin, TX (January 1998) Los Angeles (February 1998)
  • “Health Issues Facing Children in Foster Care,” Kona and Honolulu, HI (July 1998)
  • “Federal Fair Housing Law for Families with Children,” Seattle, WA and Portland, OR (October 1996) Tucson, AZ (February 1996) Boise, ID (March 1997) 
  • “The Rights of Foster Parents,” California State Foster Parents Association Conference, Sacramento, CA (October 1996)

Publications

  • “NLRB Rulings Could Undermine Social Media Policies,” Medical Practice Insider (June 4, 2014)
  • Co-Author, "Don’t Mess with It: Texas Fires Back At EEOC’s Motion To Dismiss The State’s Challenge To The 'Felon Hiring Rule'," EEOC Year-End Countdown Blog, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (April 24, 2014)
  • Co-Author, “Rise Of The Zombie Lawsuit: Fifth Circuit Revives Former Dukes Class Member’s Individual Claims Against Her Former Employer,” Workplace Class Action Blog, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (April 15, 2014)
  • Co-Author, “No Love: Florida District Court Dismisses Class Allegations Filed As Untimely Under Eleventh Circuit’s “No-Piggyback Rule”,” Workplace Class Action Blog, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (October 1, 2013)
  • “Louisiana Federal Court Denies EEOC’s Request To Put Punitive Damage Cart Before the Compensatory Damage Horse,” Workplace Class Action Blog, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (August 23, 2013)
  • “Standing Up On Standing, Part II: North Carolina Court Permits Defendant’s Motion for Attorney’s Fees Against Serial Plaintiff,”ADA Title III News & Insights, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (March 13, 2013)
  • “Sixth Circuit Lends Its Voice To Chorus Of Denials Of Class Certification In Subjective Discretion Situations,” Workplace Class Action Blog, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (January 31, 2013)
  • “Down The Rabbit Hole: Seventh Circuit Continues Piecemeal Adjudication Of McReynolds By Affirming Dismissal Of Retention Program Discrimination Claims,” Workplace Class Action Blog, Seyfarth Shaw LLP  (September 22, 2012)
  • “Neither A Borrower Class Nor An Employee Class Be: Court Decertifies Mortgage Borrower Class In Light of Wal-Mart v. Dukes,Workplace Class Action Blog, Seyfarth Shaw LLP  (September 20, 2012)
  • “Get Well, Soon: Eleventh Circuit Upholds Charges For Employees Who Refuse To Participate In Wellness Program,” Workplace Class Action Blog, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (August 25, 2012)
  • “Drive Through Banking and Drive By Suing: Texas Banks Experiencing Rash of ADA Lawsuits Over Access To ATMs,” ADA Title III News & Insights, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (August 3, 2012)
  • “Wine and Roses, Part III: District Court Sanctions Class Counsel For Improper Expense Requests,” Workplace Class Action Blog, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (August 3, 2012)
  • “Fourth Circuit Finds Insufficient Allegations To Support Class Claims In Workplace Class Action RICO Claim,” Workplace Class Action Blog, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (July 22, 2012)
  • “Wine and Roses, Part II: District Court Initiates Disciplinary Proceedings Following Class Counsel’s Improper Expense Request,”Workplace Class Action Blog, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (June 4, 2012)
  • “Reach Out And Touch Someone: Illinois District Court Enforces EEOC Subpoena Regarding Contact With Former HR Managers,” Workplace Class Action Blog, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (April 30, 2012)
  • “Wait! Don't Tell Me! - Court Finds That An Employer Raised Appropriate Challenges To Class Claims At The Wrong Time,” Workplace Class Action Blog, Seyfarth Shaw LLP  (April 14, 2012)
  • “What Happens In New Jersey Stays In New Jersey: Court Rejects Nationwide Class Claims Brought Under New Jersey Law,” Workplace Class Action Blog, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (April 3, 2012)
  • “When Wine and Roses Backfire:  Court Contemplates Disciplinary Action Following Post-Settlement Reimbursement Request by Plaintiffs' Class Action Lawyers,”  Workplace Class Action Blog, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (March 7, 2012)
  • “Sasquatch Sightings And Other Improbable News:  Texas Court of Appeals Awards Lodestar Enhancement,” Workplace Class Action Blog, Seyfarth Shaw LLP  (February 26, 2012)
  • “Second Circuit Finds Releases Limit Application of Fair Pay Act's Retroactivity Provisions,”  Workplace Class Action Blog, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (December 6, 2011)
  • “Eight Circuit Rejects Class Claims Based On Attempts To Distinguish Dukes While Affirming Judgment On Individual Claims Based In Part Upon Evidence Concerning Third Parties,” Workplace Class Action Blog, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (September 29, 2011)
  • “Federal Court Extends Fair Housing Protections to Children in Group Homes,” Youth Law News (March - April 1997)
  • “Interim Regulations Issued for Children’s SSI,” Youth Law News (January - February 1997)
  • “Discriminatory Land Use Practices Violate Fair Housing Rights of Children in Group Homes,” Youth Law News (September - October 1996)

Community Involvement

San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, Commissioner May 2000- May 2005 and Vice President 2003 (San Francisco, CA)

  • Appointed member of citizen review board overseeing redevelopment activities of governmental entity with both residential, commercial, and public infrastructure properties.
  • Served on management side of labor negotiations
  • Reviewed and approved complex financing agreements
  • Served on management side of labor negotiations
  • Participated in environmental review process

Stanford Public Interest Law Foundation Board (Palo Alto, California)

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (San Francisco, CA and Houston, TX)

  • Team in Training Participant, Mentor, and Captain, January 2000 – October 2003
  • Neighborhood Organizer, 2010 - 2011