Melissa Goodman

Practices

Education and Clerkships

J.D., Creighton University, 1994, cum laude; Assistant Editor, Creighton Law Review

B.A., University of Iowa, 1991

Bar Admissions

Texas

Court Admissions

United States Supreme Court

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas

Texas Supreme Court

Profile

Melissa Goodman is Co-Chair of the firm’s Trade Secrets Practice Group, and the former Chair of the firm's Labor and Employment Practice Group. 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. She is known for litigating and agilely managing sophisticated employment issues during mission critical scenarios, 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 

Melissa is a skilled litigator with nearly 20 years of experience. She has litigated in multiple states, including having argued en banc in a case that created new noncompete law. She has also represented parties in employment arbitration before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and other arbitration forums. 

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 on employment and litigation issues and she is a member of the Executive Leadership Team in Dallas for the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women. 

Selected Publications

  • "Examining the Duty of Loyalty and the Corporate Opportunity Doctrine," co-author, Business Torts & Unfair Competition, Summer 2014, Vol. 21, No. 4 

Professional Recognition

  • Named a Texas Super Lawyer in Employment & Labor in 2009, 2011-2013; in Employment Litigation in 2010-2013 
  • Named a Texas Rising Star in Employment Litigation and Labor and Employment Law in 2004 and 2005. 
  • Named in The Best Lawyers in America® for Litigation - Intellectual Property (2013) and Litigation - Labor and Employment (2013-2015).

Selected Client Representations

  • Successfully 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.

Professional and Community Activities

  • Federal Bar Association; Past President, Dallas Chapter
  • American Bar Association; Labor and Employment Law and Litigation Sections and Subcommittees on Covenants Not to Compete, Trade Secrets and Duty of Loyalty and ERISA Litigation
  • Dallas Bar Association; Labor and Employment Law Section

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