Todd Wozniak is a trial lawyer who defends companies and public institutions throughout the United States in labor and employment, ERISA, and business disputes. He is experienced in ERISA and employee benefits litigation, wage and hour litigation, state and federal whistle-blower statutes, non-discrimination laws, plant closing and mass layoff laws, collective bargaining and traditional labor relations, executive contracts and compensation, noncompete 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 also a frequent lecturer and writer on a wide range of employment and business related issues, including protecting trade secrets, implementing reductions-in-force, pre-dispute arbitration agreements and programs, class action defense, ERISA compliance and preemption, e-discovery, and wage and hour compliance.
Areas of Concentration
· 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
· ERISA litigation
· Noncompete, trade secrets and intellectual property litigation
· Constitutional law
· Partnership and business disputes
· Labor and employment aspects of corporate/bankruptcy transactions
Professional & Community Involvement
· Honorary Board Member, Georgia Special Olympics
· Member, Employment & ERISA Advisory Board, Strafford Publications
· Member, American Bar Association, Litigation, Labor & Employment and Employee Benefits Sections
· Member, American Health Lawyers Association
· Member, Atlanta Bar Association
· 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
Awards & Recognition
· Listed, The Best Lawyer in America, Employment Law - Management, 2013-2014
· Recipient, Bloomberg BNA "Certificate of Appreciation" for contributions to Employment Discrimination Law, 5th Ed., 2013
· Listed, Atlanta magazine, "Top 100 Attorneys in Georgia," 2013
· Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Georgia Super Lawyers, 2009-2013
- "Top 100 Lawyers in Georgia," 2012-2013
· Listed, The Legal 500 United States, 2012
· Listed, Georgia Trend magazine, "Legal Elite," 2009-2012
· Listed, Chambers USA Guide, 2007-2013
· Listed, Law360 "Employment Practice Group of the Year," 2011
· Rated, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5
· Defended a 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 a national building supply company in a nationwide collective action alleging the company routinely allowed off-the-clock work by nonexempt employees.
· Defended a 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 a 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 a 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 a multi-state transportation company against a collective action alleging that the company misclassified as exempt from overtime hundreds of bus and van drivers.
· Defended a home-health services group with respect to a Department of Labor investigation into its wage and hour practices.
· Defended a number of other 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.
· Defended a pharmaceutical company, its board of directors, and its plan committee in an ERISA and securities class action alleging the company, the board, and several officers breached their fiduciary duties under ERISA, breached corporate fiduciary duties, and engaged in federal and state securities fraud. The allegations were centered on stock valuations performed regarding stock held by the company's stock bonus plan and whether information regarding the company's acquisition should have been disclosed to plan participants.
· Defended the ESOP Committee and board of directors of the largest U.S. sugar and citrus processor in four highly publicized ERISA class actions alleging the defendants improperly withheld material information from ESOP participants regarding an offer to purchase all of the stock of the company in an effort to cash-out employees at artificially low prices. The trial court recently granted the defendants' dispositive motions on 12 of the 13 counts alleged in the consolidated complaint. The cases subsequently settled on favorable terms.
· Defended a 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 a multistate retailer in an ERISA stock drop case.
· Advised a national airline in its defense of an ERISA stock drop case. The claims were ultimately dismissed on Railway Labor Act preclusion grounds.
· Advised a 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 a 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 a utility company in a DOL investigation related to its purchase of an ESOP-owned corporation.
· Represented a number of clients involved in Department of Labor investigations or benefits litigation.
· Resolved a 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. Todd 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 a national department store against a nationwide class action alleging race discrimination in the company's pay, evaluation, and promotion practices. We obtained a dismissal of all class claims and the plaintiff's individual claim was settled on favorable terms on the eve of trial.
· Defended a 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 a national transportation company against claims that its layoff criteria had a disparate impact on African Americans.
· Obtained a 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. We also brought claims of tortious interference with contract and misappropriation of trade secrets against the competitor and obtained a favorable, confidential settlement.
· Defended a 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 we obtained a dismissal of several claims, and won 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 our client.
· Tried a 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 our 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 a 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 a 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. We 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 noncompete 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 recently affirmed by the Georgia Court of Appeals. See opinions issued in Kuritzky v. Emory University.
· Defended Emory University against a multitude of claims brought by a former professor, including breach of contract, retaliation, defamation, fraud, and various whistleblower allegations. We also asserted a number of claims against the former professor on behalf of the University. Although the litigation is still pending, we have already obtained two contempt orders and a sanctions order against the former professor and have obtained a sanctions award in excess of $500, 000 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.
· New Process Steel, L.P. v. National Labor Relations Board, 130 S.Ct. 2635 (2010). 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 our 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. Our client disagreed and opposed the union. We 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, and we 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. This decision may impact approximately 600 cases decided by the NLRB.
· 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. We successfully 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.
· Defeated arguments made by the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen to the NLRB that a 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, noncompete and trade secrets protection, collective bargaining, union avoidance, and labor/employment law compliance.
Publications & Presentations
Articles, Lectures & Publications
· Quoted, "Train Managers on Time Sheet Red Flags," HR Magazine, July 2012
· Mentioned, "Twiqbal Gets Narrow Reading in Morgan Keegan OT Dispute," Law360, January 30, 2012
· Mentioned, "Stiefel Can't Shake ERISA, Fraud Claims Over GSK Buy," Law360, January 18, 2012
· Mentioned, "Employment Group of the Year: Greenberg Traurig," Law360, January 4, 2012
· Mentioned, "Stiefel Will Get Split Trial for ERISA, Stock Fraud Claims," Law360, November 1, 2011
· Mentioned, "Stiefel ERISA Plaintiffs Lose Class Cert. Bid," Law360, July 22, 2011
· Quoted, "Lawyers WARN of More Scrutiny for Employers," The National Law Journal, June 29, 2009
· Quoted, "The Spying Game," Corporate Counsel Magazine, January 1, 2009
· Quoted, "Fire Away: The Right Way To Get Rid Of The Wrong Employee," Modern Medicine, September 5, 2008
· Author, "Supreme Court Recognizes Implied Prohibitions on Retaliation in Employment," SHRM-Atlanta, The eHuman Resource, August 29, 2008
· Co-Author, "Department of Labor and IRS to Target Employers Who Misclassify Their Workers as Independent Contractors," SHRM-Atlanta, The eHuman Resource, July 31, 2008
· Author, "Supreme Court Recognizes Implied Prohibitions on Retaliation In Employment," Birchtree Quarterly, July 8, 2008
· Quoted, "Explanation for Termination," image, Vol. 21, No. 26, June 30, 2008
· Author, "Unions Retool Message to Organize Nurses," Managed Healthcare Executive, April 1, 2008
· Author, "Violence in the Workplace," QSR Magazine, April 2008
· Author, "Get Your Act Together," Retail Merchandizer, April 1, 2008
· Author, "ERISA Class Actions on the Rise," Atlanta Bar Labor & Employment News, Spring 2007
· Mentioned, "Homeland Security Draws Up New Immigration Rules," Law360, September 25, 2006
· Author, "Class-Wide Punitive Damages Awards: Did the Cart Get Before the Horse?" 4 Bender's Labor & Employment Bulletin 349, 360-67, August 2004
· Author, "Department of Labor Takes Aim at FLSA White Collar Exemptions," Atlanta Bar Labor & Employment News, Spring 2004
· Contributing Author, Employment Discrimination Law 5th ed., 2012
· Associate Editor, Employment Discrimination Law, 4th ed., 2009 Cumulative Supplement, Chapter 13 (Disability), Chapter 21 (Employers), Chapter 34 (Statistical and Other Expert Proof)
· Speaker, "ERISA Enforcement and Compliance: A 2013 Perspective," The Knowledge Congress Live Webcast, August 27, 2013
· Panelist, "Whistleblower & Retaliation Law Update," SHRM Atlanta Webinar, June 27, 2013
· Speaker, "Top Ten Employment Issues for 2013," SHRM-Atlanta N. Fulton GEM, May 14, 2013
· Co-Speaker, "Whistleblower & Retaliation Law Update," SHRM Atlanta, April 30, 2013
· Co-Speaker, "Hot Topics in 2012: What's on the Horizon and What You Need to Know Now," Greenberg Traurig Labor & Employment Seminar, March 2, 2012
· Speaker, "Lesser-Known Requirements of the Health Care Act," Greenberg Traurig Labor & Employment Seminar, March 23, 2010
· Speaker, "Class Actions," Greenberg Traurig Labor & Employment Seminar, January 29, 2010
· Speaker, "Georgia's New Restrictive Covenant Act: What Employees Need to Know," 22nd Annual SHRM-Atlanta HR Conference, Atlanta, GA, March 13-14, 2012
· Speaker, "Back to the Future: Increased EEOC and NLRB Enforcement Trends and What You Need to Know to Protect Your Company," 21st Annual SHRM-Atlanta Human Resources Conference, Atlanta, GA, October 17-18, 2011
· Speaker, "How the EEOC, DOL, OSHA and Other Federal Agencies are Revamping their Investigative Processes," SHRM Atlanta Human Resource Conference, Atlanta, GA, October 18, 2010
· Lecturer, "ERISA Benefits Litigation Defenses: Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies and Statute of Limitations," Strafford Publications Webinar, September, 2010
· Lecturer, "Employment Law Update: Change is in the Air," Corporate Counsel Institute Seminar, December, 2009
· Author and Speaker, "ERISA Preemption Litigation: Preserving the Defense and Crafting Benefit Plans to Minimize State Lawsuits," Strafford Publications, October 20, 2009
· Author and Speaker, "Implications of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 and Strategies for Protecting Your Company," SHRM Atlanta, July 9, 2009
· Author and Speaker, "Reducing Liability Associated with Reductions in Workforce," SHRM Atlanta, July 8, 2009
· Author and Speaker, "Top Ten Labor & Employment Issues for 2009," The Human Resource Management Association, January 22, 2009
· Author and Speaker, "Protecting Employees and Employers from Violence in the Workplace," The Seminar Group, October 2007
· Author and Speaker, "Lawfully Managing Student Records Without Violating Privacy Rights," National Business Institute, October 2007
· Speaker, "Overcoming Obstacles Presented by Difficult Adversaries and Temperamental Judges," ABA Section of Labor & Employment Law, Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee, March 2007
· Author and Speaker, "Restrictive Employment Covenants: A State-by-State Approach To Enforcement," October 2005, April 2006, and February 2008
· Author and Speaker, "Georgia Wage & Hour Regulations and Recent Developments," National Business Institute, April 2005
· Author and Speaker, "Recent Developments in Federal Wage & Hour Law," February 2004
· Panelist, "Jeopardy in the Workplace," Greenberg Traurig Labor & Employment Seminar, January 2010
· Panelist, "Employment Litigation: Avoiding it and Minimizing Exposure When it Happens," Greenberg Traurig Labor & Employment Seminar, September 2009
· Panelist, "The Mistakes of Misclassification: Avoiding Exposure by Properly Classifying Workers," Greenberg Traurig Labor & Employment Seminar, June 2009
· Panelist, "Top Ten Labor & Employment Issues You Need to Know Now," Greenberg Traurig Labor & Employment Breakfast Seminar, March 2009
· Panelist, "E-Discovery and the New FRE 502: The Law, The Issues, & Preventing Problems," Greenberg Traurig Labor & Employment Seminar, December 2008
· Panelist, "Fair Labor Standards Act: Understanding the Issues and Preventing Problems," Greenberg Traurig Labor & Employment Seminar, October 2008
· Panelist, "Drafting and Enforcing Noncompete and Other Restrictive Covenant Agreements," Greenberg Traurig Labor & Employment Seminar, April 2008