Melissa focuses on litigation and advising top level corporate leadership - boards of directors, in-house counsel and chief executives - on unique, complex and often crisis-level employment affairs, including:
Executive Transitions - Drafts, negotiates, advises and litigates complex executive transitions such as employment and separation agreements, trade secret disputes, non-competes, wage and hour disputes, and compensation agreements
Unfair Competition - Litigates complex unfair competition-related claims (including breach of non-competition agreements, misappropriation of trade secrets, tortious interference and breach of fiduciary duty claims) extensively throughout the United States, advises and strategizes on handling such issues, and drafts and negotiates restrictive covenants
Whistleblowers and Retaliation Threats - Advises on all aspects of whistleblower and retaliation situations, from responding to threats to handling litigation
Regulatory Missteps - Counsels leadership in response to allegations of corporate wrongdoing related to Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank, and litigates claims alleging retaliation resulting from such reports
Major Transactions - With the goal of protecting company assets, counsels leadership during major transactions, from advising on purchase agreements, drafting employment and related agreements to navigating disputes and litigation
ERISA Litigation - Handles all aspects of retirement and benefit plan litigation
Indemnification Claims - Provides guidance to leadership and litigates indemnification suits brought by corporate officers
In addition to complex employment situations, Melissa is also regularly called upon by clients to provide advice on day-to-day employment law issues. Melissa is a frequent speaker for local and national audiences on a variety of labor and employment and litigation issues and is an active member of the American Bar Association and the Dallas Bar Association.
EducationJ.D. Creighton University, 1994, cum laude; Assistant Editor, Creighton Law Review
B.A. University of Iowa, 1991
Significant AccomplishmentsSuccessfully obtained and/or defended injunctions and litigated cases involving misappropriation of trade secrets, covenants not to compete, unfair competition, and other related torts in several states, arbitrations and in various courts of appeal. Draft covenants not to compete for employers and in business transactions.
Successfully tried several employment law cases in federal and state courts. Extensive experience in federal and state appellate courts in employment-related cases.
Extensive experience in ERISA-related cases representing plans, employers and administrators in several states, including successfully tried a multi-plaintiff lawsuit and obtaining summary judgments where plaintiffs sought several million in damages.
Advising and defending employers on whistleblower/retaliation claims, such as claims under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Dodd-Frank.
Obtaining summary judgment for employers in lawsuits involving discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, breach of contract, and employment-related torts.
Wage and hour litigation, including class actions under state law and collective actions under the FLSA.
Obtained a jury verdict for the employer in a class action case in which the class plaintiffs sought $10 million in actual damages and $20 million in punitive damages, which was affirmed on appeal.
Counseling employers on various issues concerning hiring, disciplining and terminating employees, investigating sexual harassment and employee misconduct, and covenants not to compete.
© Haynes and Boone, LLP, 2017