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Moyenda M. Knapp

Moyenda Mutharika Knapp is an experienced employment, ERISA, and commercial litigator. Moyenda defends employers against claims of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination. She also handles wage and hour disputes. Moyenda represents clients in state and federal courts, serves as first chair in jury trials, and represents clients before administrative agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR), the Illinois Human Rights Commission (IHRC), and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). She also defends claim and plan administrators, welfare disability plans, and employers from long-term disability claims arising under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). In addition to litigating on behalf of clients, Moyenda counsels employers on various employment practices, conducts workplace investigations, and drafts and reviews employment related documents, such as separation agreements and employment manuals.

In her commercial litigation practice, Moyenda represents clients in claims for breach of contract and matters involving fraud, unjust enrichment, conversion, quantum meruit, violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act, actions for an accounting, and Carmack Amendment cases arising from interstate trucking losses.

Moyenda’s experience also includes insurance coverage litigation, including the defense of breach of contract and declaratory judgment actions, as well as bad faith matters. She has tried insurance coverage matters to verdict at bench and jury trials.

Concentrations

  • Discrimination and harassment
  • Wrongful termination
  • Employment litigation (both state and federal courts)
  • Employment and labor counseling and compliance
  • Wage and hour disputes
  • Leave and disability disputes

Capabilities

Experience

  • Motion for summary judgment granted in ERISA long-term disability case pursuant to a group disability insurance policy in which the plaintiff complained of and/or was diagnosed with a myriad of conditions, including essential tremor, daytime sleepiness, fatigue, low back pain, and difficulty focusing.°
  • Motion for summary judgment granted on behalf of claim administrator, and denial of motion for leave to conduct discovery filed by the plaintiff in district court, were upheld by the court of appeals in an ERISA action in which the plaintiff alleged the wrongful termination of long-term disability benefits arising from claimed L5-S1 discectomy as well as bilateral ankle pain with avascular necrosis of the bilateral talar bones. Defense of the claim administrator before the district court and the court of appeals.°
  • Motion for summary judgment granted on behalf of claim administrator, employer, and long-term disability plan in ERISA case in which the plaintiff alleged wrongful termination of long-term disability benefits due to claimed disability arising from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety, and the failure of the employer to provide the plaintiff with a voluntary appeal under the terms of the plan.°
  • Numerous rulings obtained denying plaintiffs leave to conduct discovery in ERISA actions.°
  • Represented broker-dealer during pre-arbitration, including discovery phase, and as second chair at arbitration before FINRA in defense of case in which its former financial adviser sued for over $7 million in damages arising from alleged wrongful termination, breach of contract, defamation, tortious interference with prospective business expectancies, unjust enrichment, and negligence, and sought U5 expungement.°
  • Numerous matters defending discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims before the IDHR and EEOC.°
  • Motion for summary judgment granted as to plaintiff’s intentional infliction of emotional distress claim in a religious discrimination case.°
  • Motion to dismiss plaintiff’s sex discrimination count granted.°
  • Dismissal with prejudice of plaintiff’s breach of contract claim seeking property damages under a homeowner’s policy due to the policy’s suit limitations provision.°
  • Defense of insurance company in a jury trial as first chair in a breach of contract case relating to a homeowner’s insurance policy, in which the jury returned a defense verdict in minutes.°
  • Decision at bench trial for an insurance company in case in which the plaintiff sought coverage for home and personal property damages due to a fire. Handled the case pre-trial and as second chair at bench trial.°
  • Dismissal with prejudice on motion to dismiss of the plaintiff’s amended complaint against an insurance company for breach of contract and bad faith damages was upheld by the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District.°
  • Obtained the dismissal with prejudice and without leave to re-file of a plaintiff’s cause of action for breach of contract and negligence against its insurance broker, alleging that the broker failed to properly procure insurance to cover a parking lot at which a cargo loss occurred.°
  • Represented a bank in its suit against an insurance mortgage broker, an insurance mortgage brokerage, and its president in action claiming breach of contract, fraud, unjust enrichment, conversion, violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act, and an action for an accounting arising from the alleged erroneous placement of force placed insurance.°
  • Obtained the dismissal with prejudice of a homeowner’s claim for breach of contract and bad faith damages as a discovery sanction.°
  • Vacated a final default judgment in excess of 30 days after entered and obtained the dismissal of garnishment proceedings.
  • Represented a subcontractor in the defense of a complaint for restraining order, injunctive relief, damages, and other relief in which the plaintiff sought to prevent the claimed disclosure of confidential alleged business strategy and pricing information arising from a Contractor Confidentiality, Nondisclosure, Developments and Non-Solicitation Agreement, leading to the denial of the plaintiff’s motion to bar the subcontractor from participating in a pending bidding process.°
  • Defended a municipality in a suit by an electric energy services company in which the company alleged breach of contract, account stated, unjust enrichment, quantum meruit, and a violation of the Local Government Prompt Payment Act for the alleged failure of the municipality to pay for energy services, resulting in the plaintiff voluntarily dismissing its suit following filing of motion to dismiss.°
  • Defended a municipality in a lawsuit filed by a law firm claiming the municipality improperly redacted information from Illinois Traffic Crash Reports in violation of the Freedom of Information Act. The plaintiff voluntarily dismissed its suit with prejudice after summary judgment briefing.°
  • Obtained defense verdict in favor of a demolition company as first chair at jury trial in an action alleging property damages to a home arising from the Illinois Adjacent Landowner Excavation Protection Act and nuisance.°
  • Motion to dismiss breach of contract and fraud complaint arising from alleged breach of ghostwriting author agreement granted with prejudice.°
  • Motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint alleging a First Amendment rights violation against a municipal corporation was granted by the district court and upheld by the court of appeals. Handled the case before the district court and court of appeals.°
  • Obtained dismissal with prejudice and without leave to re-file in wrongful death and negligence suits.°
  • Represented a Canadian transportation broker in the pursuit of a Carmack Amendment, breach of contract, and negligence action against an Illinois transportation company.°
  • Dismissal with prejudice and without leave to re-file of a plaintiff’s wrongful death and negligence suit against a municipality on motion to dismiss.°
  • Dismissal with prejudice and without leave to re-file of plaintiff’s negligence action based on argument that the plaintiff failed to use reasonable diligence in serving the defendant.°
  • Served as sole counsel for breach of contract, negligence, and bailment case in which millions in damages were sought.°

°The above representations were handled by Ms. Knapp prior to her joining Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

  • Staff Attorney, The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, 1995-1997
  • Adjunct Professor, Northwestern University, Pritzker School of Law, 2005-Present
    • Civil Discovery, 2006-Present
    • Introduction to Trial Advocacy, 2005-Present
  • Legal Intern, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, 1992

Recognition & Leadership

  • Recipient, Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, “Meritorious Service Award,” 2011 and 2013
  • Recognized, Woman’s Club of Evanston, “Community Service Award,” 2010
  • Member, Women of Dartmouth Chicago, 2016-Present
    • Professional Development Co-Chair, 2018-Present
  • Member, Carleton College Parents Advisory Council, 2020-Present 
  • Member, Board of Directors, Compatible Technology International, 2016-2019
  • Member, Board of Visitors, Mary Institute of St. Louis Country Day School, 2016-2020
  • Member, Women’s Board, Misericordia, 2014-Present
    • Solicitation Committee, 2018-Present
  • Member, Defense Research Institute, 2018-Present
  • Member, American Bar Association, 2019-Present
    • Member, Labor & Employment Section
    • Member, Litigation Section
  • Former Member, Chicago Lincoln American Inn of Court
    • President, 2014-2016
      • Led the Chicago Lincoln American Inn of Court to platinum status, the highest level an Inn of Court can achieve, and was twice invited to and attended a celebratory dinner and awards ceremony at the Supreme Court of the United States.
    • Vice President and Treasurer, 2012-2014
    • Membership Co-Chair, 2010-2012
    • Hospitality Chair, 2008-2010
  • Former Member, Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
    • Member, Board of Directors, 2011-2013
    • Co-Chair, Employment Law Committee, 2009-2011

Credentials

Education
  • J.D., Boston University School of Law, 1994
  • A.B., Dartmouth College, 1991
Admissions
  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, including Trial Bar
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit