Since joining Ogletree Deakins in 2008, Mr. Canales has regularly first-chaired the defense of companies, large and small, in a variety of employment litigation matters. His pragmatic approach has also led to successful results informally and at mediations and settlement conferences. To proactively help clients avoid disputes, Mr. Canales also routinely advises companies on labor and employment issues, conducts HR training, investigations, and audits, and assists with contract, non-compete, and due diligence matters. Prior to joining Ogletree Deakins, Mr. Canales was a Senior Consultant in the Human Capital practice of Deloitte, where he advised and negotiated on behalf of companies on a variety of HR issues. He was also a Judicial Extern for the Honorable Randye Kogan (Ret.) in the Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County, a Clerk for the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, and an HR Associate with a Chicago-based national employer.
Mr. Canales has first-chaired a number of complex employment matters leading to dismissals, summary judgments, and defense verdicts. Below is a representative list of some of these matters.
Trials & Arbitrations
- First-chaired defense of bank and securities company against employee before a three-member FINRA panel in Florida seeking over $10M. Handled all phases of discovery, motion practice, and arbitration with over 20 witnesses and competing experts. Received defense verdicts on wrongful termination and breach of contract claims, and a favorable verdict on defamation claim wherein the Panel rejected claimant’s request for attorney’s fees and awarded him less than 1% of his monetary demand.
- First-chaired defense of manufacturer against wage garnishment claims in Winnebago County, Illinois seeking over $1.4M. Handled all phases of discovery, motion practice, bench trial, and appeal, leading to a favorable settlement.
- Defended municipal association against employee’s age and gender discrimination claims in the Northern District of Illinois. Received a directed verdict on gender claim, a complete defense verdict from jury on age claim, and defeated motion for new trial. Vines v. Illinois Municipal League, 09C6978, 2012 WL 728304 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 6, 2012).
- Defended retailer against employee’s pregnancy discrimination claims in the Eastern District of Michigan. Prepared successful pre-trial motions and related pleadings leading to a complete defense verdict from jury.
- Defended bakery against distributor’s breach of contract claims in the District of New Mexico. After conducting extensive discovery, prepared successful pretrial motions and related pleadings resulting in a favorable settlement the week before trial.
- Defended oil company and manager against employees’ Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and state law discrimination claims in the Northern District of Illinois. Prepared successful pretrial motions and related pleadings leading to a favorable settlement on the eve of trial.
- In case of first impression under Illinois Income Withholding for Support Act, first-chaired defense of real estate company against wage garnishments claims. After receiving defense verdict at bench trial in Cook County, Illinois, won on appeal. In re Marriage of Zolen, 2016 IL App. (1st) 16-0387-U, cert. denied.
- Defended manufacturer in case of first impression under Illinois Employee Classification Act before Illinois Appellate Court, which affirmed dismissal of state-wide class action. Michael v. Pella Products, Inc., 2014 IL App (1st) 132695, 14 N.E. 3d 533 (2014).
- First-chaired defense of pest control company against applicant’s race, retaliation, and arrest records discrimination claims in the Northern District of Illinois and Seventh Circuit. Successfully dismissed complaint and compelled arbitration, which the Seventh Circuit affirmed. Johnson v. Orkin, LLC, 928 F. Supp. 2d 989 (N.D. Ill. 2013), aff’d, 556 F. App’x 543 (7th Cir. 2014).
- Defended bakery against distributor’s breach of contract claims in Colorado state court and Court of Appeals. Successfully dismissed distributor and its owner, opposed plaintiffs’ post-judgment motions, won on appeal, and received attorney’s fees and costs at both trial and appellate levels. Haynes v. Sara Lee Fresh, Inc., 12CA154, 2013 WL 1352043 (Colo. App. Apr. 4, 2013).
- In a case of first impression under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, defended chemical company’s human resources manager against former employee’s discrimination and retaliation claims in the Northern District of Illinois and Seventh Circuit. After extensive discovery, won summary judgment and on appeal. Smith v. Bianchetta, 803 F. Supp. 2d 877 (N.D. Ill. 2011), aff’d, 681 F.3d 888 (7th Cir. 2012).
- First-chaired the defense of distributor against former employee’s FMLA, ADEA, and defamation claims in Nevada, leading to a dismissal of all claims and judgment against plaintiff.
- Defended chemical company against former employee’s discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims under the FMLA, ADA, and related state law claims in Tennessee. After successful discovery motion practice, dismissed all claims against the company on summary judgment. Sloan v. Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas, LLC, No. 3:14-CV-406-TAV-HBG, 2016 WL 309818 (E.D. Tenn. Jan. 25, 2016); Id., 2016 WL 4179959 (E.D. Tenn. Aug. 5, 2016).
- Defended food company against former employee’s disability discrimination claims in the Northern District of Illinois. Successfully dismissed complaint resulting in judgment against plaintiff.
- Defended transportation company against former employee’s disability discrimination claims in the Northern District of Illinois. Successfully dismissed complaint resulting in judgment against plaintiff.
- Defended food company against employee’s age discrimination claims in the Northern District of Illinois. Successfully dismissed complaint resulting in a non-monetary stipulation of dismissal with prejudice.
- Defended pharmaceutical company against employee’s Title VII discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims in the Northern District of Illinois. Conducted internal investigation and identified dispositive evidence resulting in a dismissal of complaint after plaintiff’s counsel withdrew as counsel.
- Defended bank against employee’s Title VII claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in the Northern District of Illinois. Successfully dismissed complaint in part and conducted discovery on remaining claims, resulting in a non-monetary stipulated dismissal with prejudice. Curran v. JPMorgan Chase, NA, 633 F. Supp. 2d 639 (N.D. Ill. 2009).
Non-Compete/Restrictive Covenant Litigation
- First-chaired the enforcement of a medical practice’s restrictive covenants and breach of fiduciary duty claims against former doctor, leading to a TRO in the Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County and subsequent settlement.
- First-chaired defense of dairy industry consultant against former employer’s non-compete claims in the Southern District of Iowa. Successfully handled all phases of opposition to motion for TRO and motion for permanent injunction, which were denied in their entirety by the Chief Judge.
- First-chaired the enforcement of chemical company’s restrictive covenants against former sales representative and subsequent employer in the Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County. Successfully directed the litigation resulting in a favorable settlement prior to preliminary injunction hearing.
- Successfully enforced healthcare company’s restrictive covenants against former executive in the Circuit Court in Lake County, Illinois, obtaining a TRO and subsequent stipulated injunction order against executive.
- Defended health care sales executive against former employer’s non-compete claims in the Northern District of Illinois. Moved to dismiss claims, resulting in a favorable settlement for the sales representative and his employer prior to the court’s ruling.
Agency Matters and Advice
- Defended dozens of clients before the EEOC, DOL, NLRB, OSHA, and various state agencies against current and former employees’ discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wage and hour, vacation, commission, unfair labor practice, and other labor and employment related claims, audits, and investigations.
- Led publishing company’s post-accident investigation of warehouse employee’s death. Conducted interviews, preserved evidence, and facilitated investigations by OSHA and employee’s family attorney.
- Advised global employer on dozens of independent RIFs, plant moves, and plant closures that impacted thousands of employees’ rights under the WARN Act, OWBPA, NLRA, and state laws.
- Conducted wage and hour audit for U.S. employer on hundreds of positions, policies, and practices for compliance with FLSA and state law.
- Advised distributor on multiple acquisitions in the U.S. and Mexico, addressing labor and employment related due diligence, APA and SPA revisions, and employee onboarding strategy and execution.