The Labor and Employment Department of Payne & Fears specializes in representing local, regional and national employers in all aspects of labor and employment law and related litigation.  We defend employers in employment cases, ranging from single-plaintiff wage and hour actions to complex disparate treatment cases brought on behalf of thousands of employees.  We deliver cost-effective results through early, comprehensive assessment of the facts and case strategy.  While many of our cases are resolved by dispositive motions and early resolution, we are also skilled trial attorneys who successfully take employment cases of every size and type through trial, arbitrations and administrative proceedings.  Our major areas of expertise include:


Apr 10

Federal Court Grants Judgment in ERISA Case in Favor of Our Clients Before Trial Begins

In an employee benefits case brought in federal court under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) against our client, a national retailer, and its group health insurance plan for denial of an expensive surgery as not medically necessary, the court granted judgment in favor of our clients at the time of trial.  

The court ordered trial briefs from both parties in advance of trial, which plaintiff provided.  Payne & Fears went a step further and in conjunction with our trial brief, moved for judgment on partial findings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(c) based on an undisputed administrative record.  Under Rule 52(c), a federal court has discretion to enter judgment when a party has been fully heard on an issue, but can decline to render judgment until the close of evidence.

Having received our motion and plaintiff’s opposition, and having previously ruled in the plan’s favor that the abuse of discretion standard of review applied, the court took the matter under submission, took the trial date off calendar, and entered judgment in defendants’ favor.  The court thus upheld the decision of the plan administrator to deny coverage for the surgery without conducting a trial.  

Eric C. Sohlgren defended the case on behalf of the plan and prepared the motion for judgment, with Andrew K. Haeffele assisting.

Practice areas: Labor and Employment Litigation, ERISA Litigation

Attorneys: Andrew K. Haeffele, Eric C. Sohlgren

Feb 14

P&F Prevails on Summary Judgment in a Race Discrimination / Retaliation Case

Payne & Fears LLP was recently retained as trial counsel in a hotly contested race discrimination and retaliation case. At mediation, Plaintiff was demanding $6 million to settle and prior counsel had been unable to resolve the case. The trial team of Dan Fears, Jeff Brown, Ray Boggess and Sean O'Brien quickly transitioned into the case and assisted prior counsel in preparing a motion for summary judgment.  

Following oral argument by Dan Fears, the Court issued a 15-page decision granting total summary judgment as to all 10 claims and all defendants.  Payne & Fears attorneys saved the client from having to go through an expensive and time-consuming trial that would have exposed the client to considerable risk of damages, including punitive damages.

Practice areas: Labor and Employment Litigation

Attorneys: Daniel F. Fears , Jeffrey K. Brown , Ray E. Boggess, Sean A. O’Brien