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Todd D. Wozniak

Todd D. Wozniak

Shareholder

Todd D. Wozniak is Co-Chair of the firm’s ERISA & Employee Benefits Litigation group. He is a trial lawyer who defends companies, fiduciaries, and public institutions throughout the United States in ERISA, ESOP, labor and employment, and business disputes. He is also experienced in wage and hour litigation, state and federal whistleblower statutes, non-discrimination laws, plant closing and mass layoff laws, collective bargaining and traditional labor relations, executive contracts and compensation, non-compete and trade secrets litigation, and partnership/business disputes. During his career, Todd has defended more than a dozen class or collective actions and tried more than 40 cases or arbitrations to verdict.

Todd is a frequent lecturer and writer on a wide range of ESOP, employee benefits, employment and business-related issues, including ERISA compliance and preemption, DOL audits and investigations, protecting trade secrets, implementing reductions-in-force, pre-dispute arbitration agreements and programs, class action defense, eDiscovery, and wage and hour compliance.

Concentrations

  • ERISA, ESOP and employee benefits disputes
  • DOL audits and investigations
  • Trial lawyer
  • Class and collective actions
  • Labor and employment
    • Discrimination, harassment and retaliation cases
    • Sarbanes-Oxley and whistleblower cases
    • Executive employment agreements and compensation
    • FLSA and state law wage and hour cases
    • WARN compliance and litigation
    • OSHA compliance and workplace injury litigation
    • OFCCP compliance
    • Traditional labor law, including union campaigns and arbitrations
  • Non-compete, trade secrets and intellectual property litigation
  • Constitutional law
  • Partnership and business disputes
  • Labor and employment aspects of corporate/bankruptcy transactions

主要执业方向

主要执业经验

  • Defending a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Secretary of Labor (“DOL”) against the plan sponsor of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (“ESOP”), as well as its Board of Directors and selling shareholders, alleging violations of ERISA in connection with the formation of the ESOP and sale of stock in the plan sponsor to the ESOP.  In particular, the DOL alleges that the independent trustee engaged to represent the ESOP in connection with the sale of the stock to the ESOP failed to perform sufficient diligence and relied upon a flawed stock valuation in violation of its ERISA fiduciary duties when it approved the stock transaction at a price that the DOL alleges was tens of millions of dollars too high and that the ESOP was damaged as a result. The DOL further alleges that Company’s Board of Directors violated ERISA by allegedly failing to monitor the independent fiduciary and by enabling and otherwise participating in in the trustee’s breach of ERISA fiduciary duties.  Todd and his team recently filed a motion to dismiss all claims asserted against all defendants except trustee (which is represented by separate counsel) and this motion is pending.
  • Defending a putative class action lawsuit filed against the plan sponsor of an ESOP, its Board of Directors, and other alleged fiduciaries accused of violating ERISA in connection with the termination of the ESOP in 2017, the redemption of the ESOP’s stock in 2017, the distribution of benefits to ESOP participants, and the sale of the plan sponsor’s assets to a private equity group.  In particular, Plaintiffs allege that the valuation used in purchasing the company stock held by the ESOP was too low and that the ESOP’s participants suffered millions of dollars in damages as a result of Defendants’ actions. This case is in the early stages of litigation.
  • Representing the plan sponsor of any ESOP with respect to a class action lawsuit alleging claims for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty under ERISA against the trustee of the ESOP. Plaintiffs allege that the trustee breached its fiduciary duties when it authorized the ESOP to purchase company stock in the transaction that created the ESOP for allegedly above fair market value.  The plan sponsor moved to intervene in the case to compel arbitration.  That motion to intervene was granted but the motion to compel arbitration was denied and the case is proceeding to discovery.
  • Hoover v. Brijon Management & Employee Leasing Services, Inc., et al. Todd obtained a historic settlement in this putative ERISA class action in which the trial court ultimately certified a non-opt out class action and dismissed all class members claims with prejudice and without Defendants paying anything of value to absent class members.  Plaintiff’s counsel also received nothing of value from the Defendants. The case was started in 2014, when a former participant of the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (“ESOP”) sponsored by Brijon Management & Employee Leasing Services, Inc. (“Brijon”) filed a putative class action lawsuit against Brijon, the ESOP, and several of the ESOP’s former fiduciaries and affiliates alleging violations of ERISA in connection with the termination of the ESOP in 2011 and the distribution of benefits to ESOP participants.  In particular, Plaintiff alleged that the valuation used in purchasing the Brijon stock held by the ESOP was too low and that the ESOP’s participants suffered millions of dollars in damages as a result of Defendants’ actions.  On June 30, 2015, the ESOP was dismissed from the case on Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss.  Discovery in the case then proceeded with both sides taking depositions of key witnesses and exchanging expert reports.  With the aid of an experienced mediator, GT convinced Plaintiffs’ counsel and the court that the key issue in the case was the valuation of the Brijon stock held by the ESOP and that the valuation issue could be decided by an independent valuation expert appointed by the court as a special master.  The parties agreed to a valuation process, which included presenting the independent valuator with copies of all prior valuations, argument by the parties, and the parties’ expert reports.  The process also called for all parties to be bound by the independent valuator’s determination and the certification of a non-opt out settlement class regardless of the outcome of the valuation.  The independent valuator ultimately agreed with Brijon’s position and determined that the ESOP was paid at least fair market value for the Brijon stock bought from it.  As a result, the independent valuator determined the class members suffered no damages.  Following a class action fairness hearing, the court (U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey) approved the settlement, settled the case as a non-opt out class action for settlement purposes, and dismissed with prejudice all claims asserted by the class.  Defendants paid no money or anything else of value in connection with the settlement and Plaintiff’s counsel received nothing.  Plaintiffs alleged damages, interest, and attorneys’ fees of approximately $10 million
  • In re United States Sugar Corporation ESOP Litigation, Southern District of Florida. Representation of most of the Board of Directors of a major sugar corporation and certain other defendants in four putative ERISA and shareholder class actions filed in the Southern District of Florida. We were able to obtain summary judgment on all but one of the claims and the cases ultimately settled on very favorable terms for our clients.
  • Finnerty, et al. v. Stiefel Laboratories, Inc.; 100079 Canada, Inc. v. Stiefel Laboratories, Inc.; Fried v. Stiefel Laboratories, Inc.; Securities Exchange Commission v. Stiefel Laboratories, Inc.; Wagner v. Stiefel Laboratories, Inc.; Beede v. Stiefel Laboratories, Inc.; and Martinolich v. Stiefel Laboratories, Inc.Todd is one of the lead trial lawyers who has been defending Stiefel Laboratories, Inc., which was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline (“GSK”), as well as the Stiefel Board of Directors and several former Stiefel officers, in a putative ERISA and securities class action, a derivative action under ERISA, three related individual lawsuits, and a lawsuit brought by the Securities Exchange Commission.  In each of these related cases, the plaintiffs allege that our clients breached their fiduciary duties under ERISA and/or engaged in federal securities fraud.  Several of the related lawsuits also allege various common law claims for breach of corporate fiduciary duties and fraud.  The allegations are centered on annual valuations of Stiefel stock held by the Employee Stock Bonus Plan (similar to an ESOP), and whether information regarding the exploration of a possible sale by Stiefel, a privately-held company, should have been disclosed sooner to plan participants and shareholders.
    • In the original putative class action filed on July 6, 2009 (Finnerty), we defeated class certification and got five of the six named plaintiffs dismissed.  We took the sole remaining plaintiff’s securities law claim to trial in May 2012.  Although the plaintiff was awarded approximately $1.5 million by the jury, this is a fraction of the $250 million original damages sought.
    • We are also defending against a lawsuit brought by the SEC in which the SEC alleges our clients defrauded shareholders out of over $110 million.  The SEC moved for summary judgment on collateral estoppel grounds arising out of the Finnerty case.  We defeated that argument and the case is set for trial starting on July 6, 2020.
    • The 100079 Canada case involved a complaint for securities fraud brought by the former Vice-Chairman of the Stiefel Board of Directors.  The plaintiff sought damages in excess of $43 million arising out of his sale of Stiefel stock to the company.  On June 21, 2013, the court granted summary judgment to our clients, agreeing that the statute of limitations had expired in light of the Vice-Chairman’s in-depth knowledge of the company and information necessary to support his claims.
    • The Fried case involves both ERISA and securities fraud claims brought by the former CFO of Stiefel Labs.  The plaintiff sought damages in excess of $2.1 million arising out of his sale of both Plan and non-Plan stock to the company.  We tried the matter in October 2013 and received a complete defense verdict.  Mr. Fried appealed the verdict and it was upheld on appeal.
    • Wagner involved six former participants in the ESBP who filed a derivative action under ERISA on behalf of the entire plan and all of its participants.  Effectively, plaintiffs were attempting to sue on behalf of the class of participants without certifying a class action.  We convinced the court that it should not allow the plaintiffs to proceed on behalf of the entire plan or absent plan participants.  We also got 5 of the 6 plaintiffs dismissed from the case.  The Company settled with the final plaintiff.
  • Representing a directed trustee against claims that the directed trustee breached various ERISA fiduciary duties. The claims arise out of a case in which a group of employees of a government contractor for the U.S. Postal Service allege that their employer and the named plan fiduciaries did not deposit employee contributions into their 401(k) plan. In addition to suing the employer and the named plan fiduciaries, plaintiffs also sued the directed trustee for allegedly not ensuring the contributions were timely made to the plan.
  • Northside Hospital, et al. v. Ambetter of Peach State, Inc., Superior Court of Cobb County, Georgia. Todd was the lead trial lawyer for Ambetter in this lawsuit.  Northside Hospital alleged that Ambetter systematically under-reimbursed it for emergency medical services that Northside Hospital provided to Ambetter insureds on an out of network basis.  Northside asserted claims involving over 3,000 patients and claimed more than $15 million in damages.  We filed a motion to dismiss and, while it was pending, the case settled on favorable terms.  We are representing affiliates of Ambetter in one other case (pending in Texas) and an arbitration (AAA) which allege substantially similar claims and issues. 
  • Emergency Coverage Corp. v. Centene - A group of out of network Healthcare Providers that staff emergency departments and other licensed health-care facilities filed suit against several health insurance providers alleging breach of an implied-in-fact contract and breach of an implied-in-law contract under the theory that the Defendants failed to fairly pay the out of network Healthcare Providers for the reasonable value of the emergency medical services provided to Insureds.  Pursuant to the terms of the agreement between Defendants and their Insureds, in lieu of directly reimbursing Insureds at contractually agreed upon rates for out of network emergency medical services, Defendants paid the contracted rate directly to the Healthcare Providers.  Although the Healthcare Providers admittedly do not have any contracts with Defendants, they seek recovery of the difference between the rate received and the rate billed to Insureds for the provision of emergency medical services from the health insurance providers. The case involves hundreds of individual claims.  On August 14, 2019 we filed a Motion to Dismiss due to the Healthcare Providers failure to establish the existence of any contract, express or implied, with Defendants, and because the Healthcare Providers theory of recovery, which seeks to hold Defendants liable for the debts of Insureds, violates the State of Frauds in the absence of any written agreement for Defendants to assume Insureds’ debts.  That motion is pending.
  • Confidential AAA Arbitration. The trustees of a large, multi-employer pension plan (“Plan”) asserted claims against our client alleging that the client violated ERISA and breached the parties’ Investment Management Agreement (“IMA”) when it invested approximately $115 million of Plan assets into proprietary funds managed by the client.  The Plan’s trustees also assert that the client violated the most-favored nations provisions of the IMA when it failed to apply more favorable management and performance fee terms to the Plan’s investments.  The trustees are seeking in excess of $8 million for alleged harm to the Plan. The client denies any violations of ERISA or the IMA and contends that the investment of Plan assets into the client’s proprietary funds was done with the approval and direction of the Plan’s trustees.  The client filed a counterclaim against the Plan’s trustees on the grounds that any alleged violation of ERISA was done with the full knowledge and consent of the trustees and, as such, the trustees should be held jointly and severally liable with the client for any alleged harm to the Plan. A five-day arbitration hearing was held in December 2019 and a ruling is expected by June 2020.
  • Almont Ambulatory Surgery Center, et al. v. Unitedhealth Group Inc., et al., Central District of California. We are representing multiple GT clients, including GlaxoSmithKline and Devry University, as well as their medical benefits plans, against ERISA breach of fiduciary duty, ERISA benefits, and California unfair competition claims arising out of the plans’ denial or partial denial of claims for services provided by out-of-network medical providers. Plaintiffs allege in this mass action filed against more than 400 defendants that the plan fiduciaries breached their fiduciary duties by outsourcing claims administration to United Healthcare (UHC) and by failing to properly monitor UHC. Plaintiffs allege that UHC denied claims in violation of the Plan terms, discriminated against certain medical conditions and disabilities, and engaged in other ERISA violations about which the plan administrators and plans should have known and corrected. We prevailed on or motions to dismiss and the case is now pending on appeal.
  • Bay Area Surgical Group, Inc., et al. v. Aetna Life Insurance Company, et al., Northern District of California. Representing multiple clients, including Xilinx, VmWare, and GlaxoSmithKline, as well as their medical benefits plans, in this mass action alleging ERISA breach of fiduciary duty, ERISA benefits, and various state law claims. Plaintiffs allege that the plans’ claims administrator, Aetna, systematically under-reimbursed participants and providers for out of network services by using falsified data to calculate “usual and customer rates” (UCR) for such services. Plaintiffs allege that the plan administrators and plans knew or should have known Aetna was intentionally underpaying out of network claims and failed to correct Aetna’s fiduciary breaches. All claims have been dismissed with prejudice without our clients paying anything.
  • Dual Diagnosis, Inc., et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of California, et al., Central District of California. Representing multiple clients, including C.R. Bard and Bayhealth Medical Centers, as well as their group welfare plans, in this mass action alleging ERISA breach of fiduciary duty, ERISA benefits, and state law claims. Plaintiffs allege that the plans’ claims administrators, all Blue Cross entities, improperly refused to honor valid patient claims assignments in violation of alleged plan terms and ERISA. Plaintiffs allege that the plan administrators and plans knew or should have known that the claims administrators were improperly refusing to honor valid assignments and therefore paying the wrong party. The court granted our first motion to dismiss but has given plaintiffs leave to amend the complaint.
  • Fiduciaries of the Premier Hospice 401(k) Profit Sharing Plan v. Jeff Smith, et al., District of Kansas. We represented the primary defendant in this very contentious lawsuit filed in the District of Kansas, as well as in a related Department of Labor investigation. Our client was the former owner and CEO of Premier Hospice. He established the Premier Hospice 401(k) Profit Sharing Plan in 2004 and served as the Plan’s initial Trustee. He later sold the business, repurchased it, and sold it a second time. After the second sale, the newly installed Trustees of the Plan brought more than a dozen claims against our client accusing him of stealing Plan money, breaching various ERISA fiduciary duties, engaging in a prohibited transaction with the Plan, failing to advise participants of their rights under the Plan, and other alleged misconduct. The Department of Labor also initiated an investigation of the Plan’s administration by our client. We were able to get the worst of the allegations against our client dismissed. The plaintiffs asked for reconsideration and the district court denied that request.
  • Defended national airline against an ERISA class action alleging a multitude of benefits and breach of fiduciary duty claims arising out of the company's administration of its medical benefits plan and the plan's reimbursement of out-of-network medical expenses. The defense involved some unique Railway Labor Act preclusion arguments.
  • Advised and defended multistate retailer in an ERISA stock drop case.
  • Advised national airline in its defense of an ERISA stock drop case. The claims were ultimately dismissed on Railway Labor Act preclusion grounds.
  • Advised national airline regarding its institution of a class action declaratory judgment lawsuit seeking a declaration that the terms of a benefit plan the airline negotiated with its pilots union complied with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and ERISA.
  • Represented Fortune 100 company in its negotiations with several states regarding the preemptive effect ERISA had on the states’ family and medical leave laws as applied to the company’s ERISA-qualified sick leave plan.
  • Defended utility company in a DOL investigation related to its purchase of an ESOP-owned corporation.
  • Represented numerous clients involved in Department of Labor investigations or benefits litigation.
  • Dillingham, et al. v. Mauser USA, LLC, S.D. Ohio. Todd was the lead trial lawyer for Mauser in this nationwide FLSA collective action and Ohio state law class action.  Plaintiff alleged that Mauser unlawfully deducted 30 minutes from each employee’s time for lunch, even if the employee worked through lunch; unlawfully rounded time entries up or down to its advantage; and engaged in other improper time keeping practices.  The lawsuit was filed in May 2018.  After significant discovery, we learned that Plaintiff had lied on his application, had committed identity theft to cover up his criminal history, and had engaged in other misconduct.  As a result of those discoveries, Plaintiff’s counsel agreed to dismiss the case with prejudice and the parties.  Plaintiff did not make a damages estimate but the putative class included approximately 4,000 current or former employees.
  • DiRocco, et al. v. Centerline Solutions, LLC, N.D.N.Y. (Sept. 2018). We represented Centerline in this nationwide-wide FLSA collective action and New York State class action.  Plaintiffs alleged that the Company failed to treat time spent riding in a vehicle to a job site as time working and, therefore, did not properly pay them overtime for all hours over forty that they worked in a workweek.  The case was filed in September 2018 and the parties agreed to bifurcate discovery into two stages.  Stage 1 related to issues surrounding the class and collective action certification motions.  The parties would then file briefs on the certification issues.  After the certification issues were resolved, the parties would move to merits discovery (either on a class basis or individual basis, depending on how the court ruled).  Unfortunately, shortly after the class certification briefs were filed by both sides, Centerline filed for bankruptcy protection. 
  • Defending a national industrial packaging manufacturer and supplier against a class action alleging that the company has failed to properly pay overtime to its California employees in violation of the California Labor Code.
  • Defending a national, for-profit operator of massage therapy schools in a nationwide class and collective action alleging that students providing massage therapy services in a clinic environment and while training to become licensed massage therapists are employees entitled to minimum wage and overtime under the FLSA and various state laws. Plaintiffs estimated the backpay liability alone exceeded $10 million. After convincing the court to bifurcate discovery and address the student-employee merits issue first, the court ruled that plaintiffs were not employees and were not entitled to minimum wage or overtime before ever addressing the pending motion for conditional class certification.
  • Defended investment bank in a nationwide collective action alleging the bank misclassified hundreds of administrative employees and failed to pay them overtime. Plaintiffs estimated damages in excess of $5 million. After we defeated the class certification motion, the case settled on an individual basis.
  • Defended a national home healthcare company against claims that it misclassified hundreds of its nurses, therapists, and other service providers. After we successfully excluded many of the employee groups from the class definition, the case settled on an individual basis.
  • Defended publishing company and its CEO in a collective action brought on behalf of all hourly employees alleging that the company manipulated its employees’ workweeks and reported hours to reduce overtime pay.
  • Defended national building supply company in a nationwide collective action alleging the company routinely allowed off-the-clock work by nonexempt employees.
  • Defended multistate services company in a collective action alleging off-the-clock work.
  • Defended a relocation company and its founder against a collective action alleging the company misclassified as exempt from overtime its relocation specialists. The case alleged a multi-state collective action.
  • Defended national operator of parking decks against New York state and federal overtime claims alleging that the company failed to properly pay overtime to its New York employees.
  • Defended national restaurant chain against claims that it misclassified as exempt from overtime thousands of store managers and assistant store managers throughout the United States. The case involved both state and federal overtime claims.
  • Defended multi-state transportation company against a collective action alleging that the company misclassified as exempt from overtime hundreds of bus and van drivers.
  • Defended home-health services group with respect to a Department of Labor investigation into its wage and hour practices.
  • Defended dozens of other individual and multi-plaintiff cases alleging minimum wage, overtime or meal period violations. Some of these claims involved unique issues under the FLSA's airline industry or transportation worker exemptions.
  • Resolved race discrimination and harassment class action brought against a national airline after the case had been settled on a class-wide basis by another law firm. The settlement agreement required all class members who did not opt-out of the settlement to arbitrate their claims within a six-month period. Acted as lead coordination counsel for all arbitration cases and acted as lead trial counsel for more than fifteen of the cases. All cases were timely arbitrated with complete defense awards being obtained in all but three cases.
  • Defended national department store against a nationwide class action alleging race discrimination in the company's pay, evaluation and promotion practices. Obtained a dismissal of all class claims and the plaintiff’s individual claim was settled on favorable terms on the eve of trial.
  • Defended U.S. airline against a nationwide class action alleging race discrimination in all of the airlines' employment practices and a racially hostile work environment.
  • Defended national transportation company against claims that its layoff criteria had a disparate impact on African Americans.
  • Defended national fast food restaurant company in three separate race discrimination class action cases alleging the Company had a policy and practice of matching the demographics of employees hired at a store to the demographics of the community in which the store was situated. Won summary judgment in two of the three cases. The third case settled after being significantly narrowed.
  • Defended dozens of single and multi-plaintiff cases alleging race, sex, age, and disability discrimination or harassment, as well as retaliation. Tried a couple of the cases to juries and or to courts in bench trials, with complete defense verdicts in each.
  • Represented Southeastern Mechanical Services, Inc. (SMS) in a case involving theft of trade secrets and unfair competition brought by SMS against a direct competitor, as well as three former SMS employees who had joined the competitor. SMS alleged that the defendants stole SMS’s trade secrets, violated the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and committed other unlawful acts under Florida law. SMS obtained a TRO and preliminary injunction against all defendants. The injunction ordered Defendants to return all SMS property within 24 hours and enjoined the Defendants from using SMS’s trade secrets or calling on SMS’s customers. It was the first time this judge had recommended preliminary injunctive relief in her more than 20 years as a jurist. Pursuing an aggressive discovery strategy, established that the three former employees had stolen SMS’s computerized trade secrets and used them to expand the competitor’s business into the Florida market, where SMS was located. Discovered that the former employees had secretly funneled customers and corporate opportunities to the competitor while still employed by SMS. The employees and others had also secretly wiped various computers and PDAs in an effort to hide their wrongdoing. Moved for sanctions due to spoliation of evidence, and the court ordered that an adverse inference jury instruction would be given. Immediately prior to trial, the matter settled on favorable financial terms, as well as the defendants’ agreement to extend both the time and scope of the already-sweeping preliminary injunctive relief. All the individual defendants, as well as the CEO, COO, and a division president of the competitor, were terminated during or as a result of this litigation.
  • Represented a sizeable dental practice in retrieving a customer list stolen by a form dentist-employee and used to set up a competing practice. After we successfully obtained a preliminary injunction against the former dentist-employee and all of his employees, we obtained evidence that the defendants spoliated evidence and likely perjured themselves. While our motion for sanctions and contempt was pending, defendants offered to settle the case by agreeing to a permanent injunction and the payment of a significant sum of money.
  • Obtained two-year permanent injunction barring a former vice president of sales from competing against national paper manufacturer. The injunction required the former employee to terminate his then-current employment with a competitor. Brought claims of tortious interference with contract and misappropriation of trade secrets against the competitor and obtained a favorable, confidential settlement.
  • Defeated efforts by a wholesale insurance brokerage firm to enforce noncompete, nondisclosure, and customer nonsolicitation agreements against a team of brokers defecting to a competitor. After defeating plaintiff’s effort to obtain preliminary injunctive relief, and the dismissal of several claims, the case settled on very favorable terms.
  • Defeated an effort by an insurance brokerage firm to prevent one of its shareholders and officers from going to work for a competitor. After we obtained a preliminary injunction ruling that the restrictive covenant agreements were likely unenforceable under Georgia law, the plaintiff filed suit in Texas seeking to enforce the covenants under Texas law. We convinced the Georgia court to enjoin the plaintiff from pursuing the Texas case, enter a nationwide injunction against enforcing the restrictive covenants, and award the former shareholder/officer more than $500,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees.
  • Defended health care entrepreneur and two of his companies against a number of tort, breach of contract and breach of non-compete agreement claims brought by the purchaser of the entrepreneur's medical device business. After obtaining a dismissal of several claims, and winning some critical discovery motions, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed all remaining claims. The court ordered the plaintiff to pay more than $150,000 in fees and expenses to client.
  • Tried case involving claims for breach of contract, unfair competition, employee pirating, misappropriation of trade secrets and quantum meruit. After a week-long trial, a favorable judgment was entered in favor of client.
  • Defeated motions for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in a case which sought to prevent an employee from working for one of our medical device clients. The case settled on favorable terms after the court denied the plaintiff's motions and we sought to dismiss several of the plaintiff's claims.
  • Represented corporate client against a number of claims brought by one of its vendors, including alleged breach of contract for nonpayment of fees and misappropriation of trade secrets.
  • Tried breach of employment contract case brought against a senior executive of a corporate client. The executive's former employer alleged that he owed it in excess of $200,000 at the time he resigned. Defended the case and asserted counterclaims for breach of contract and constructive discharge. After a multi-day arbitration, an award was entered in favor of the executive on all claims and he was awarded more than $400,000 on his counterclaims.
  • Litigated a multitude of cases arising out of partnership agreements and stock/asset purchase agreements, including claims for alleged breach of representations and warranties, alleged violations of Non-Compete agreements, and disputes over whether a material adverse change had occurred.
  • Defended Emory University in a contentious dispute with an expelled medical student. After lengthy discovery, and repeated attempts by the student to publicly paint himself as a wronged whistleblower, the court granted summary judgment on all claims and found that the student was properly expelled for misconduct. The opinion was affirmed by the Georgia Court of Appeals.
  • Defended Emory University against a multitude of claims brought by a former professor, including breach of contract, retaliation, defamation, fraud and various whistleblower allegations. Asserted a number of claims against the former professor on behalf of the University. We obtained two contempt orders and a sanctions order against the former professor and have obtained a sanctions award in excess of $1.3 million for the University.
  • Represented the City of Columbus, Georgia in the appeal of multimillion-dollar jury verdict against the City. The plaintiffs had prevailed on a number of First Amendment, Due Process and Equal Protection claims alleging that their terminations were in retaliation for their First Amendment speech and based on their race. The verdict was reversed by the Eleventh Circuit and the plaintiffs later settled for a small percentage of the original verdict.
  • Defended national employer against claims asserted by the EEOC that certain confidentiality and release language contained in its standard separation agreement was retaliatory.
  • Represented New Process Steel, L.P., the appellant, in a case before the United States Supreme Court challenging an unfair labor practices finding by the National Labor Relations Board. The case involved a labor dispute in which the union wanted to cut employees' pay, vacation and benefits in order to obtain a new contract with client. After the employees rejected the contract and declined to strike, the union filed an unfair labor practices claim with the NLRB alleging that New Process Steel failed to honor its collective bargaining agreement. Client disagreed and opposed the union. Sought review in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal challenging the merits of the NLRB's findings and argued that the Board lacked authority to issue the decision because two members did not constitute a quorum. The Seventh Circuit ruled in the NLRB's favor; filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court granted certiorari and subsequently reversed the Seventh Circuit's decision by holding that the NLRB's decision was invalid because the Board lacked authority to issue decisions when there were only two sitting Board Members. New Process Steel, L.P. v. National Labor Relations Board, 130 S.Ct. 2635 (2010).
  • Defeated efforts by the International Union of Operating Engineers to organize a client facility in South Texas. The company was unaware of the organizing campaign until after a petition was filed with the NLRB. Argued that the one facility unit proposed by the Union was inappropriate and that a multi-facility unit, which was approximately five times larger, was the proper bargaining unit. The company ultimately won the campaign by a margin of 2-to-1.
  • Represented Progress Rails Systems in a union campaign in which the United Steelworkers sought to organize a locomotive repair facility employing hundreds of workers. The Union filed dozens of unfair labor practice charges, and the NLRB filed a section 10(j) injunction action against the Company, but we were able to prevail on all but a few charges and on the injunction action. After disposing of the last ULP charges, the election was finally held and the Company won the election by a 2-1 margin of vote.
  • Defeated arguments made by the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen to the NLRB that client was a successor employer and, therefore, was obligated to recognize and bargain with the Union at ten facilities.
  • Defeated efforts by the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen to unionize three client facilities in the Chicago area.
  • Negotiated neutrality agreements and collective bargaining agreements on behalf of several clients.
  • Arbitrated several important, multimillion-dollar business issues on behalf of various clients.
  • Advised both buyers and sellers regarding potential exposure and risk mitigation strategies involving WARN Act issues, non-compete and trade secrets protection, collective bargaining, union avoidance, and labor/employment law compliance.

荣誉和领导力

  • Listed,The Best Lawyers in America
    • Employment Law - Management, 2013-2020
    • Litigation - Labor and Employment, 2016-2020
  • Listed, Chambers USA Guide, 2007-2019
  • Selected, Law360 MVP - Benefits, 2018
  • Team Member, The American Lawyer’s “Regional Litigation Department of the Year - Georgia,” 2018
  • Team Member, The Daily Report’s "Georgia Labor & Employment Litigation Department of the Year," 2017
  • Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Georgia Super Lawyers, 2009-2020
    • "Top 100 Lawyers in Georgia," 2012-2015, 2018
  • Listed, The Legal 500 United States, 2012, 2016-2019
    • Intellectual Property - Trade Secrets, 2018-2019
    • Labor and Employment - ERISA Litigation, 2017-2019
    • Labor and Employment Disputes Including Collective Actions): Defense, 2017-2018
  • Listed, Lawdragon and Human Resource Executive®magazine, 2015-2019
    • "The Nation's Most Powerful Employment Lawyers - Top 100," 2019
    • "40 Up and Comers in Employment Law," 2015-2018
  • Listed, Who’s Who Legal: Labour, Employment & Benefits 2016, "Pensions & Benefits," 2016-2017
  • Listed, Who's Who Legal, Pensions & Benefits, 2015
  • Team Member, The Daily Report’s "Georgia Labor & Employment Litigation Department of the Year," 2015
  • Listed, Atlanta magazine, "Top 100 Attorneys in Georgia," 2013
  • Recipient, Bloomberg BNA "Certificate of Appreciation" for contributions to Employment Discrimination Law, 5th Ed., 2013
  • Listed, a Law360 "Employment Practice Group of the Year," 2011 & 2013
  • Listed, Georgia Trend magazine,"Legal Elite," 2009-2012
  • Rated, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5.0

°AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell DistinguishedSM and Martindale-Hubbell NotableSM are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell® certification procedures, standards and policies.

  • Member, Board of Directors, Special Olympics Georgia
  • Past Honorary Board Member, Georgia Special Olympics
  • Member, Employment & ERISA Advisory Board, Strafford Publications
  • Member, American Bar Association, Litigation, Labor & Employment and Employee Benefits Sections
  • Past Member, American Health Lawyers Association
  • Member, Atlanta Bar Association
  • Past Member, Defense Research Institute
  • Member, State Bar of Georgia, Litigation and Labor & Employment Sections
  • Past Member, Board of Directors, Anti-Prejudice Consortium
  • Volunteer, Atlanta Legal Aid
  • Volunteer, Atlanta Volunteers Lawyer Foundation
  • Volunteer, Georgia Special Olympics

资历

教育
  • J.D., cum laude, University of Michigan Law School, 1994
    • Order of the Coif
    • Business Editor, Michigan Journal of International Law
  • A.B., summa cum laude, Duke University, 1990
获准执业地区
  • Georgia
  • Supreme Court of Georgia
  • Court of Appeals of Georgia
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • 美国联邦第九巡回上诉法院
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia