Marlén Cortez Morris is a seasoned advocate and litigator for businesses on a wide range of labor and employment, franchise and distribution, and commercial litigation matters. She represents clients in courts and alternative dispute resolution venues and before government agencies across the country. Her clients represent established and emerging franchisors and businesses in a number of industries, including hospitality, retail, personal care, and financial services.
Marlén litigates complex matters from inception through trial and appeal. Her deep litigation experience includes the enforcement of contract and intellectual property rights, as well as the defense of claims for breach of contract, business torts, violations of franchise registration and relationship laws, state consumer protection violations, and employment law violations, including vicarious and joint employment liability.
Marlén defends franchisors and employers against wage and hour class and collective actions arising under federal and state laws and claims for wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment and retaliation arising under various federal, state and local laws. In addition, she is experienced with the enforcement of restrictive covenants and unemployment compensation benefits claims.
A critical aspect of Marlén’s practice involves counseling and litigation prevention. Understanding the complexities of labor and employment law and franchising, she works closely with clients to provide strategic guidance on joint employment, vicarious liability, and labor and employment law issues arising in the franchise and employment relationship, corporate transactions, and due diligence initiatives. Marlén is well versed in auditing and advising on various aspects of franchise systems and operations, as well as in preparing employment policies, handbooks and agreements, to ensure compliance and implement effective risk mitigation solutions where needed.
Before joining Ogletree Deakins, Marlén was a partner at a national AmLaw 100 firm and a top-ranked franchise boutique law firm in Chicago where she represented franchise, distribution, and dealer clients on a broad spectrum of disputes involving trademarks, trade secrets, covenants not to compete, breach of contract, franchise law violations, and employment claims. She also regularly advised clients on labor and employment law compliance and best practices for navigating joint employment issues.