Know Your Judge: Barbara M. Lynn

Employee Benefits News examines legal developments that impact the employee benefits and executive compensation employers provide, including federal and state legislation, rules from federal...

By Carmen Castro-Pagan

This week in Know Your Judge we feature Chief Judge Barbara M. Lynn of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Lynn was appointed in 1999 by President Bill Clinton. In 2016 she became chief judge, the first woman to hold that position in the Northern District of Texas.

Last year, Lynn became the third federal judge to uphold the Labor Department’s Obama-era fiduciary rule that regulates the financial advice given to retirement investors and requires financial advisers to put their clients’ best interest first. Lynn’s 2017 ruling on the fiduciary rule was a loss for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other industry groups that challenged the rule on multiple grounds.

That decision was overturned last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The Fifth Circuit vacated the Labor Department’s rule in its entirety, igniting heavy discussion over what the decision could mean for the controversial rule.

Number & Statistics

The odds of having Lynn deny motions to dismiss in labor relations and employee benefits cases are greater than in employment law disputes. Her rulings in employment law cases are equally divided between full grants and denials, however she has slightly fewer partial grants.

Lynn’s labor law rulings are more likely to be affirmed by the Fifth Circuit than those involving employment and employee benefits issues. She has no overturned opinions on labor law cases and the Fifth Circuit has reversed one of her employment law rulings and two of her opinions involving employee benefits.

Lynn generally takes less than a year to resolve employment discrimination, labor relations, and employee benefits cases. It took hear an average of

  • 272 days to resolve 25 labor relations disputes
  • 285 days to close 200 wage and hour cases
  • 306 days to resolve 34 disputes over disability discrimination
  • 335 days to resolve 34 cases under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and
  • 365 days to close 197 lawsuits involving issues like sex and age discrimination


Looking for more analytics on judges? Check back each Wednesday for our Know Your Judge feature, or try Bloomberg Law’s Litigation Analytics. And contact us if there’s a judge you want us to feature.

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