A former executive pastor is praising Clouse Brown PLLC in the Dallas-based employment law boutique’s lawyers’ abilities to secure a verdict in his favor for millions in retirement benefits for him and his wife.
Last week, a Tarrant County, Texas jury delivered a $3.7 million verdict against Crossroads Christian Church for failing to provide supplemental retirement benefits to its former executive pastor and his wife, both of whom served the church for more than 20 years. The Dietzes were represented by name partner Keith Clouse.
Mel Dietz served as executive pastor from 1995 to 2015, overseeing church operations and multiple construction projects on Crossroads’ sprawling 150-acre campus in Grand Prairie. His wife, Vicki Dietz, worked directly for Crossroads’ Senior Pastor Barry Cameron, and was his executive assistant for more than 20 years. The Dietzes were both participants in Crossroads’ supplemental retirement plan.
During trial, Clouse presented evidence showing that $4.7 million in supplemental retirement benefits were improperly taken in November 2011 and placed in Crossroads’ “We Believe” building campaign to help fund construction of a 75,000-square-foot children’s building after the church came up $22 million short in pledges and contributions needed to build the children’s building and a youth building.
On Sept. 12, after a 3-day trial before visiting Judge John Weeks in the 48th District Court of Tarrant County, jurors unanimously found that Crossroads Christian Church failed to comply with the terms of its Supplemental Retirement Plan by taking more than $3.7 million of the Dietzes’ retirement benefits.
“What Crossroads did to Mel and Vicki was flat wrong,” Clouse said. “We are thrilled the jury chose to right the wrong, and I applaud them for having the courage to hold a church accountable for its actions.”