Employment

Many employment law practice groups claim to have significant litigation experience, but few can demonstrate that their litigators actually try cases on a consistent basis. Brownstein’s Employment Group attorneys are effective litigators and business lawyers who have tried countless employment and other types of cases throughout their careers. Our collective experience in the courtroom provides a unique perspective and distinct advantage to companies faced with a wide variety of employment-related claims.

The experience of repeatedly defending claims through trial helps us effectively advise clients on whether particular claims should be resolved or defended. We have developed unique pre-litigation strategies designed to resolve cases at an early stage. At trial, we have successfully defended high-profile cases involving alleged violations of federal and state employment laws, including Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act. Our group members also have significant experience pursuing and defending claims for breach of restrictive covenants, misappropriation of trade secrets and other business torts.

Through long-term, collaborative partnerships with our clients, we help develop innovative strategies for resolving workplace issues before they lead to costly litigation. We are adept at drafting employer handbook policies, employment contracts and non-compete and confidentiality agreements. We also provide knowledgeable counsel on how to conduct internal audits and investigations. 

Representative Matters
  • Provided advice and counsel to an international company regarding employee requests for reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  • Counsel to Canyon Bakehouse in its $205M sale to Flower Foods, one of the largest producers of packaged bakery foods in the country. We advised on the mergers and acquisitions, employee benefits and executive compensation, labor law, intellectual property and real estate aspects of the transaction. The firm’s role in the deal highlights our multidisciplinary expertise and our footprint in the natural foods industry.

  • Successfully defeated numerous claims of discrimination, retaliation, and other torts through a four-day jury trial in federal court. Former Director of Human Resources for a professional services agency alleged claims of discrimination and retaliation and Title VII and the Equal Pay Act. Jury returned a verdict finding no discrimination or retaliation, and only awarded a token amount of damages in connection with a limited subset of the plaintiff’s defamation claims.

  • Represented Mai Mechanical, Corp. in connection with employment matters involved in the sale of all its shares of capital stock to J.R. Hobbs Co-Atlanta LLC, a portfolio company of Gladstone Investment Corporation.

  • Represented Bow River Capital Partners as employment counsel in its acquisition of and acquisition financing for Control Technology & Solutions L.L.C., a leading energy retrofit company based in St. Louis, Missouri.

  • Represented VetScience LLC and its Fruitables brand of natural dog treats and food supplements in connection with employment issues involved in its sale to Manna Pro Products, LLC.

  • Represented Subsea Global Solutions, a portfolio company of Lariat Partners, in connection with employment issues implicated in its sale to GenNx360 Capital Partners. Subsea Global Solutions is a leader in underwater ship maintenance, repair and marine construction.

  • Served as employment counsel for Midstate Energy, L.L.C., a portfolio company of Bow River Capital Partners, in its acquisition of and acquisition financing for Urban Energy Solutions, LLC, an independent provider of comprehensive development, design and engineering services relating to energy efficiency solutions.

  • Represented NexusTek Holdings, LLC in connection with employment issues involved in the sale of its LLC interests to ABRY Partners.

  • Coordinated internal California based privileged investigation of tech-company in connection with alleged officer misconduct.

  • Drafted separation agreement and revised healthcare clinic policies for a Los Angeles based healthcare clinic where employees move between offices throughout the day and week.

  • Serve as chief employment counsel for California based company with employee related issues from around the country, including but not limited to guidance on terminations, privacy actions, misconduct investigations, and policy development.

  • Represented the stockholders of Sweet Earth Inc., a California-based manufacturer of plant-based protein food products, in connection with employment-related due diligence and negotiation and preparation of various employment-related agreements and employment aspects of transaction documents in connection with the sale of all of the issued and outstanding equity interests and owned real property to Nestlé USA, Inc.

  • Represented Clarion Capital Partners, LLC in connection with employment and labor matters in its acquisition of and acquisition financing for AML RightSource, LLC, a Gabriel Partners company.

  • Defended California company in multiple lawsuits related to alleged officer sexual harassment and retaliation claims.

  • Represented Global Employment Solutions, a portfolio company of TZP Group and leading provider of professional staffing services, with respect to employment issues in its acquisition of the Halo Group, an IT staffing company.

  • Represented EMS USA, Inc., a portfolio company of Victory Park Capital and provider of pipeline integrity, maintenance and repair services, with respect to employment matters in the sale of its Integrity Maintenance platform to First Reserve Advisor.

  • Represented healthcare clinic in pre-litigation wage and hour dispute related to alleged unpaid overtime, meal breaks and rest breaks.

  • Represented hospitality company in defense of California based class action wage and hour case related to alleged failure to properly provide meal breaks and rest breaks.

  • Successfully obtained a $19.5 million interest arbitration ruling for the Clark County Association of School Administrators and Professional-Technical Employees (CCASA) against the Clark County School District, the fifth largest school district in the nation. After an arbitration hearing, the arbitrator determined that the District had the ability to pay CCASA’s offer and the administrators were historically and comparatively underpaid while work requirements were increasing.

  • Pursued former employee who embezzled money from corporation and obtained a significant judgment.

  • Represented nutritional supplement company in employment lawsuit involving former high-level executive.

  • Represented Bow River Capital Partners with respect to employment issues arising in connection with its acquisition of and acquisition financing for Midstate Energy, L.L.C. Midstate Energy is an independent provider of comprehensive development, design and engineering services relating to infrastructure upgrades and energy efficient, asset sustainability solutions.

  • Successfully resolved dispute between publically traded company and former employee involving trade secrets and other contractual disputes.

  • Represented Pico Digital, Inc. in its sale to ATX Networks, a portfolio company of H.I.G. Capital, LLC, with respect to employment issues, including contract negotiation.

  • Represented Clarion Capital Partners, LLC in its acquisition of and acquisition financing for Madison Logic, Inc. from an employment standpoint, including conducting due diligence on employment issues and preparing employment agreements.

  • Defended satellite imagery public company in million dollar breach of contract dispute with former consultant. Resolved on highly favorable terms to client.

  • Counsel to Gaia in the $145.7M sale of its branded fitness equipment and apparel business to Sequential Brands and Fit for Life.

  • Counsel to music management company against former employee who took the company’s intellectual property and relationships.

  • Counsel to Gilbert Hospital, a general acute-care hospital based in Gilbert, Arizona in its merger with Florence Hospital at Anthem pursuant to a confirmed Chapter 11 plan of reorganization. We advised on all aspects of a sophisticated merger transaction, including transition of the two hospitals under joint ownership and operation, coordinating employment and equity compensation documents for employees, and identifying and resolving health care regulatory aspects of the foregoing.

  • Representing publically traded company in employment dispute with former executive.

  • Counsel to MGM in the sale of Circus Circus Reno’s assets and MGM’s 50% equity interest in Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno, as well as the sales of the Gold Strike Hotel & Casino and the Railroad Pass Hotel & Casino.

  • Counsel to Encore Consumer Capital in its acquisition of Full Sail Brewing Company, a craft brewery located in Oregon.

  • Represented employer and employee in harassment and restraining order bench trial.

  • Successfully negotiated the shutdown of a longstanding unionized business then arbitrated a reduction of just over 50% to the union pension plan’s multi-million dollar assessment of withdrawal liability.

  • Successfully represented employers in union organizing campaigns where the employers did not believe that unions were not needed in the workplace and negotiated first collective bargaining agreements.

  • Successfully navigated employer through a decertification campaign by workers who ultimately voted to de-certify the union, ending with no charges filed against employer.

  • Successfully developed and implemented strategies for C-level executive separations, including oversight of related investigations, then negotiated and litigated to favorable results issues related to the separation, including severance, equity-related transactions and other complex terms.

  • Represented an affiliate of Lion Equity Partners, a Denver-based private equity firm, in its acquisition of Homes & Land, an integrated real estate media platform, providing local real estate information throughout the U.S. and parts of Canada.

  • Successfully negotiated multiple collective bargaining agreements for national employers, with unions including Service Employees International Union, Teamster, Carpenter and Laborer locals.  

  • Successfully represented mutual fund against all claims brought by former senior sales executive in FINRA arbitration; following hearing obtained decision for client on all claims.

  • Primary outside intellectual property counsel for restaurant and world famous chef regarding intellectual property and employment issues. Recently litigated potential TTAB opposition for one of the registered marks.

  • Obtained summary judgment in federal court case involving claims of sexual harassment and retaliation.

  • Counsel to KSL Capital Partners with respect to employment and related issues in the sale of five iconic resort properties to TRT Holdings, owner of Omni Hotels & Resorts, in a series of five related transactions. Transferred properties include Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas; La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California; Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, California; Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina; and The Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia. Brownstein acted as lead counsel on the transaction, facilitating the buyer's due diligence review of the properties and resorts, the negotiation of five separate purchase agreements, the transition of employees, and completion of all closing conditions.

  • Represented Alliant Energy Services, LLC in its disposition of 100% of the stock of its subsidiary, RMT, Inc. to Infrastructure Energy Services, LLC (IEA).

  • Represented client in connection with class action employment claims brought before the OFCCP and the EEOC and in federal district court and obtained dismissal of these claims in all venues.

  • Represented client company and employees in connection with trade secret and unfair competition claims. Successfully compelled arbitration of virtually all claims and obtained stay of entire action. Forced arbitration in more favorable jurisdiction for our clients. Secured settlement with no monetary payout by our clients and favorable covenants in favor of our clients.

  • Successfully represented international software company in enforcing its proprietary information agreement, including non-competes, both through formal court order and informal negotiations.

  • Successfully represented employers in EEOC, CCRD or other agency investigations and, if necessary, in litigation, including trying to a favorable decision a multi-week multi-plaintiff multi-million dollar case alleging discrimination and retaliation.

  • Served as on-going outside counsel to The Wellbridge Company in connection with its ownership and operation of health club facilities located in various states. This representation includes corporate structuring; real estate and club acquisition, development and financing; dispositions and leasing; contracts incidental to operations; and coordination of employment and labor matters and litigation prosecution and defense.

  • Represented a hospital client in several employment cases resulting in complete defense verdicts after jury trials.

  • Provided employment advice in connection with Vail Resorts, Inc.'s $63 million acquisition of Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort in California.

  • Provided ERISA and employment advice in connection with Vail Resorts, Inc.'s $63 million acquisition of Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort in California.

  • Assisted Graham Packaging Company, L.P. in a $568 million strategic acquisition of another manufacturer and supplier. In the transaction, Graham Packaging Company acquired all of the limited partnership units of the target company from the company's limited partners and all of the stock of each of the company's three corporate general partners from their stockholders. A manufacturer and supplier of technology-based, customized blow molded plastic containers for the branded food and beverage, household, personal care/specialty and automotive lubricants product categories, Graham Packaging Company is a portfolio company of Blackstone Capital Group.

  • Represented Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN) in its acquisition of Mountain News Corporation (MNC), which operates the world's most visited online snow sports portal, OnTheSnow.com. Mountain News Corporation is the top provider of snow reports to more than 1,200 web sites throughout the world, including approximately 400 news media websites.

  • Serves as employment counsel for various national companies in industries ranging from health care, energy and engineering/construction to manufacturing, retail and telecommunications. Brownstein provides both pro-active counsel and litigation services for these companies.

  • Represented major sports unions in various matters including grievances and arbitration and general litigation.

  • Defended a financial services company and its employee in a case brought by a competitor alleging the company and the employee stole trade secrets when the employee left employment with the competitor

  • Following a three week jury trial, Brownstein attorneys successfully obtained a complete defense verdict on behalf of Colorado College, one of Colorado's preeminent private colleges, and five individual defendants. The case involved issues of academic freedom related to the termination of a tenured professor.

  • Represented a large utility provider in a case involving multi-plaintiff discrimination claims. Brownstein obtained judgment in favor of the client as a matter of law. The Tenth Circuit, on appeal of the District Court's ruling, issued a published opinion regarding the lawfulness of our client's actions and hiring processes in particular.

  • Successfully defended claims for hostile work environment, discrimination, retaliation and state law claims brought against EchoStar Communications Corporation, a publicly-traded company in Colorado. The plaintiff, a former employee, alleged that the highest level executives engaged in unlawful behavior and engaged multiple plaintiffs' firms. After a two week trial, the jury returned a complete defense verdict.

  • The Firm successfully defended the largest casino in Colorado in various employment suits including two that resulted in week-long trials. In the first, a jury returned a complete defense verdict against a former employee who alleged his termination was both discrimination because of his marriage to a co-worker and retaliation for his wife filing a complaint with OSHA. In the second trial, the judge entered a complete defense verdict after the plaintiff presented his case alleging the casino reassigned him to part-time status in violation of the ADA.

  • Represented Critical Homecare Solutions, Inc. in its $8.1 million acquisition involving 100 percent of the capital stock of Infusion Solutions, Inc.. The acquisition was funded by a draw on Critical Homecare Solutions' revolving credit facility with Jefferies Finance, LLC.

  • Created all employment policies for New York headquartered, but national footprint company.

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Publications
Recognition

Chambers USA, 2017

Colorado: Labor & Employment

What the team is known for: A comprehensive team that combines a strong labor and employment offering with an excellent employee benefits and executive compensation practice. Able to handle a range of high-end matters ranging from class action defense to compliance audits and workforce reorganizations. Clients include companies from the healthcare, real estate and hospitality sectors.

Strengths: Clients call the team "an excellent partner" and say the lawyers are "responsive, creative and knowledgeable." 

Meet The Team

Lisa Hogan Shareholder T 303.223.1185 lhogan@bhfs.com
Christine A. Samsel Shareholder T 303.223.1133 csamsel@bhfs.com
Jonathan C. Sandler Shareholder T 310.564.8672 jsandler@bhfs.com
Adam P. Segal Shareholder T 702.464.7001 asegal@bhfs.com
Martine Tariot Wells Shareholder T 303.223.1213 mwells@bhfs.com
Eric R. Burris Shareholder T 505.724.9563 eburris@bhfs.com
Craig M. Finger Associate T 303.223.1135 cfinger@bhfs.com
Hannah M. Caplan Associate T 303.223.1258 hcaplan@bhfs.com
Karen Dinino Senior Counsel T 310.500.4619 kdinino@bhfs.com
Michael A. Freimann Shareholder T 303.223.1195 mfreimann@bhfs.com
Sherli Frank Associate T 310.500.4618 sfrank@bhfs.com
Allison L. Gambill Of Counsel T 303.223.1175 agambill@bhfs.com
Matthew C. Onyett Associate T 310.500.4615 monyett@bhfs.com
Jesse D. Sutz Associate T 303.223.1285 jsutz@bhfs.com
Nicholas R. Santucci Associate T 303.223.1246 nsantucci@bhfs.com