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Benjamin Dower

For over a decade, Benjamin (“Ben”) Dower has litigated complex civil cases in state and federal courts across Texas. Ben has experience with high-stakes litigation over wide-ranging issues: from ownership disputes over personal and real property to wrongful death claims, disability accommodations, university tenure denials, and governmental authority during a global pandemic. Ben has a long track record of securing dismissals for defense clients, positive trial outcomes, favorable settlements, and appellate victories. Clients value his strategic advice, attention to detail, diligent communication, and personable litigation style.

 

Outside the courtroom, Ben draws on his knowledge of recent developments in the law to counsel clients on employment issues, external investigations, and other pre-litigation matters. He also mentors and trains young litigators by delivering multiple CLEs annually, speaking at law conferences, and creating training materials. 

 

Before joining Terrazas PLLC, Ben worked at the Office of the Attorney General of Texas, serving as Deputy Chief of the General Litigation Division and most recently Special Litigation Counsel in the Law Enforcement Division.  

 

J.D., The University of Texas at Austin School of Law

B.S. Economics & Finance, magna cum laude, The University of Texas at Dallas

 

State Bar of Texas, 2012; admitted to all federal district courts in Texas and the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

 

Representative Cases

 

  • Presented oral argument to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in a whistleblower case. At issue were one (of five) plaintiff’s appeal of a summary judgment order and the defendant’s cross-appeal of various trial and post-trial orders. Mahan v. Dep’t of Public Safety, 2024 WL 1216561 (5th Cir. March 21, 2024)

  • Represented a university, a doctor, and two nurses in a wrongful death case filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Blackmon v. UTMB Correctional Managed Care, Civ. A. No. 9:22-cv-182 (E.D. Tex.) (most active in 2023–24)

  • Successfully represented the Uvalde District Attorney in her August 2022 intervention into a lawsuit filed under the Public Information Act by Texas Senator Roland Gutierrez to prevent pre-grand jury disclosure of a Texas Rangers’ investigation. Gutierrez v. Tex. Dep’t of Public Safety, No. D-1-GN-22-002848 (419th Judicial District, Travis County)

  • Defended UT Austin as attorney against claims of sex and pregnancy discrimination in the denial of tenure (disparate treatment and disparate impact), retaliation, and pay discrimination, resulting in the plaintiff dropping several of her claims. Nikolova v. Univ. of Texas at Austin (W.D. Tex.) (jury trial held March 7–11, 2022)

  • In over a dozen lawsuits filed between 2020 and 2022, led the defense of the Texas Governor’s pandemic-related executive orders. temporary injunction hearings with live witness examination, followed by interlocutory appeals. E.g., Stand for Something Group Live, LLC v. Abbott, No. 13-21-00017-CV, 2022 WL 11485464 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi Oct. 20, 2022, pet. denied); Abbott v. Harris Cty., 641 S.W.3d 514 (Tex. App.—Austin 2022), rev’d, 672 S.W.3d 1 (Tex. 2023)

  • Served as both lead trial and appellate counsel in an election case with only 22 days elapsing between the filing of plaintiffs’ original petition and the Texas Supreme Court opinion—with dispositive motions, a temporary injunction hearing, and the intermediary court of appeals (with a brief due every day) happening in-between—Anti-Defamation League v. Abbott, 610 S.W.3d 911 (Tex. 2020)

  • Obtained summary judgment in a race/color discrimination and retaliation employment case brought by a nurse under Title VII and successfully defended the dismissal order on appeal. LaVergne v. Univ. of Texas Med. Branch, 2020 WL 5083465 (S.D. Tex. July 31, 2020), aff’d 852 F. App’x 142 (5th Cir. July 7, 2021)

  • Obtained summary judgment in a national origin employment discrimination case brought by a correctional officer under Title VII. Campbell v. Tex. Dep’t of Criminal Justice, 2019 WL 4858424 (S.D. Tex. October 2, 2019)

  • Advised a faculty tribunal before, during, and after a university tenure termination proceeding (hearing held July 29–31, 2019)

  • First-chaired a federal bench trial regarding an inmate’s challenge to a prison policy on religious grounds, including expert witness examination and the closing argument. White v. Davis, 1:16-cv-59 (W.D. Tex.) (bench trial held Jan. 28, 30, 2019)

  • Examined witnesses and gave the closing argument in a jury trial regarding an inmate’s religious rights under the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Walters v. Collier, Cause No. D-1-GN-12-003493 (126th Judicial District Court, Travis County) (jury trial held Sept. 10–13, 2018);

  • Gave opening statement and conducted expert witness examination in a federal bench trial regarding an inmate’s challenge to a prison policy on religious grounds. Goodman v. Davis, 2:12-cv-166 (S.D. Tex.) (bench trial held August 29–31, 2018)

  • Obtained dismissal on the pleadings in a wrongful death negligence case brought by the beneficiary and estate of a murdered correctional officer. Johnson v. Tex. Dep’t of Criminal Justice, Cause No. 27380-B (104th Judicial District Court, Taylor County, Texas) (final judgment entered January 24, 2019)

  • Gave opening statement, examined key defense witness, and cross-examined plaintiff’s damage expert in a successful jury trial regarding whether the employer retaliated against an employee. Jones v. Texas Dep’t of Criminal Justice, Civ. A. No. 4:16-cv-2232 (S.D. Tex.) (jury trial held Feb. 12–16, 2018)

  • Obtained dismissal via a plea to the jurisdiction in a disability discrimination employment case brought under the Texas Labor Code; successfully defended the dismissal on appeal, including at oral argument. Carter v. Hegar, No. D-1-GN-14-00943 (345th Judicial District Court, Travis County, Texas), aff’d 2018 WL 2375815 (Tex. App.—Austin May 25, 2018, no pet.)

  • Obtained dismissal via a plea to the jurisdiction in an employment retaliation claim brought by a child support employee under the Texas Labor Code and successfully defended the dismissal order on appeal. Williams v. Office of the Attorney General, D-195693 (136th Judicial District Court, Jefferson County, Texas), aff’d 2019 WL 3720100 (Tex. App.—Beaumont 2018, pet. denied)

  • Successfully defended the constitutionality of a state law empowering the state to reclaim state funds and property purchased therewith from failed charter schools. Transformative Learning Systems v. Texas Educ. Agency, Cause No. D-1-GN-15-003711 (98th Judicial District Court, Travis County, Texas) (plea to the jurisdiction granted on January 24, 2017), aff’d 572 S.W.3d 281 (Tex. App.—Austin 2018, no pet.)

  • Presented oral argument to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of UT Southwestern in a student due process case, obtaining a favorable opinion. Shah v. Univ. of Tex. Southwestern Med. Sch., 668 F. App’x 88 (5th Cir. 2016)

  • Gave opening statement and conducted witness examination in a successful jury trial regarding an employee’s disability accommodation claim under the Texas Labor Code. Rockwood v. Department of State Health Services, No. 2011-CI-04447 (131st Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas) (jury trial held October 19–23, 2015)

  • Represented the state of Texas in a high-profile lawsuit in 2015–16 over who owned the items and artifacts in the Alamo library. Daughters of the Republic of Texas v. Texas General Land Office, Cause No. 2015CI04796 (131st Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas)

  • Deposed over 40 witnesses, including the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) as an entity, in an Fair Labor Standards Act unpaid overtime case brought by the DOL on behalf of 807 employees; co-drafted defendants’ summary judgment motion. Perez v. State of Texas, 1:11-cv-00469 (W.D. Tex.) (most active in 2014–15)

  • Obtained dismissal via a plea to the jurisdiction of a lawsuit filed by a then-Assistant Attorney General against his employer under the Texas Whistleblower Act. Ritter v. Office of the Attorney General of Texas, Cause No. D-1-GN-13-003444 (126th Judicial District Court, Travis County, Texas) (dismissal entered April 14, 2014)

  • Examined witnesses and gave the closing argument in a successful jury trial rebutting claims of sex discrimination and retaliation brought under the Texas Labor Code. Preston v. Texas Department of State Health Services D-1-GN-06-003121 (126th Judicial District, Travis County, Texas) (jury trial held Feb. 24–28, 2014)

 

Publications

  • The Origins of Lodestar, Austin Lawyer, Official Publication of the Austin Bar Association (Feb. 2020)

  • The Scylla of Sexual Harassment and the Charybdis of Free Speech: How Public Universities Can Craft Policies to Avoid Liability, The Review of Litigation, 31 Rev. Litig. 703 (Summer 2012)

 

Recent Presentations

 

  • 12(b) Motion Practice: Organization and Framing (CLE) (March 2024)

  • Discovery in a Nutshell: Thinking Strategically (2024 TDCJ OGC-OAG Legal Conference) (Feb. 2024)

  • RLUIPA: Religious Rights Claims (2024 TDCJ OGC-OAG Legal Conference) (Feb. 2024)

  • Prisoner Rights & Incarceration Issues (Dec. 2023)

  • Liability of State Officials (2023 Government Law & Liability Conference) (Nov. 2023)

  • Tips for Effective Advocacy: TRO/TIs/PIs (CLE) (Oct. 2023)

  • “Do-You-Think-He-Sue-Us: A Jurassic Park Themed Trial Teaching Making and Meeting Objections” (Inn of Court team presentation) (April 2023)

  • The What, When, How, and Why of Interlocutory Appeals (CLE) (March 2023)

  • Free Speech & On-Campus Protests (presentation to university police chiefs) (Nov. 2022)

  • Litigation Trends and Updates: Litigating in Texas Post-Pandemic (CLE) (Sept. 2022)

  • Tips for Effective Advocacy and TRO/Preliminary Injunction (panel) (March 2022)

  • Bail Reform in Texas (Inn of Court presentation) (Dec. 2021)

  • Liability of State Officials (2021 Government Law & Liability Conference) (Dec. 2021)

  • Sovereign Immunity: You Come at the King, You Best Not Miss (CLE) (Dec. 2021)

  • TROs & TIs: How to Get Them and How to Defend Against Them (CLE) (July 2021)

  • State Court for the Federal Practitioner (CLE) (June 2021)

  • The Lady Bunch: Women & the Law (Inn of Court presentation) (Dec. 2020)

  • Employment Law Fundamentals: Discrimination & Retaliation (CLE) (Oct. 2020)

 

Professional Activities and Memberships

 

  • Barbara Jordan American Inn of Court, member (January 2016 – present)

  • Austin Young Lawyers Association (“AYLA”) (Director, June 1, 2019 – June 1, 2022)

  • The University of Texas School of Law Mentoring Program (January 2019 – present)

Contact

Tel: 512-788-4593

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