Kathryn S. Wood

Member and South Region Labor & Employment Practice Group Co-Chair
Katy focuses her practice on employment litigation, commercial litigation and appellate practice, including discrimination, harassment and whistleblower/retaliation claims, class actions, non-compete/non-solicitation matters, defamation clams, contract disputes, fraud claims, and business tort claims. She is also an experienced advisor to employers regarding employment issues that arise outside of the litigation context.  
 

Education & Credentials

Education

University of Michigan

B.G.S., 1990

University of Michigan Law School

J.D., 1995

Bar Admission

  • Michigan

Acknowledgements

Representative Clients

  • AT&T Inc.
  • CARite, Inc.
  • DuPont
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Michigan House of Representative

Prominent Assignments

Employment Discrimination/Harassment/Retaliation/Whistleblower Claims

  • Extensive trial and arbitration experience.
  • Represented clients in single and multi-plaintiff actions alleging violations of federal and state civil rights laws, at both the trial court and appellate level.
  • Represented multiple public sector clients in high-profile whistleblower claims that garnered state and national media attention.
  • Successful defense of public institution on 14th Amendment and 1981 claims involving rights of privacy (obtained Sixth Circuit opinion, on issue of first impression, affirming summary judgment).
  • Successful defense of multiple attempted class actions (each resulting in denial of class certification).
  • MDCR and EEOC claim defense, including position statements, mediation and conciliation.
  • Extensive experience regarding joint-employer obligations and liabilities.

Employment Counseling and Litigation Prevention on issues including:

  • Experience in conducting harassment/discrimination investigations;
  • Document/personnel file retention and production issues;
  • FMLA;
  • Discipline and termination issues;
  • ADA/ disability accommodation obligations;
  • Email and internet policies and privacy rights;
  • Pre-employment and employee drug testing; and
  • Enforceability of arbitration clauses in employment agreements.

Commercial Litigation

  • Extensive trial and arbitration experience.
  • Successfully obtained a no cause of action in a jury trial where damages alleged were one billion dollars.
  • Successfully obtained a no cause of action in a trial where plaintiffs were asking for equitable relief that could have altered all Michigan public utilities’ obligations to property owners statewide.
  • Successfully obtained a no cause of action in a multi-plaintiff contractual dispute seeking damages in excess of 4 million dollars.

Defamation Claims:

  • Represented numerous clients in prosecuting and defending defamation claims.
  • Obtained numerous retractions of defamatory statements prior to commencement of litigation, including an internationally disseminated retraction from Reuters.
  • Experience in prosecuting "John Doe" actions, where defamatory material is posted anonymously on internet chat room sites.

Professional Involvement

  • Michigan Bar Association, Labor and Employment and Litigation Sections
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Fellow, Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Trial Skills presenter for Federal Bar Association, 2015
  • Inns of Court (2012-2014)

Community Involvement

  • VIP Mentoring, Trustee (2003-2016)
  • Franklin Community Preschool, Board Member (1999-2000)
  • University of Michigan Student Funded Fellowship, Board Member (1994-95)

Publications/Presentations

  • Employment Litigation in Michigan, Second Edition (ICLE), Chapter Author, "Discrimination Claims"
  • Michigan Business Torts (ICLE), Contributing Chapter Author, "Defamation"
  • Employment Litigation in Michigan, First Edition (ICLE), Chapter Author, "Title VII and Related ELCRA Claims"
  • Bloomberg/BNA Workplace Harassment Treatise - 2d Ed., Contributing Chapter Author, “Constructive Discharge”
  • Whistleblowing, Reporting and Retaliation, Michigan Chamber Services Webinar, 2013\
  • Inside the Minds -- Employment Discrimination Lawsuits, Chapter Author, "Effective Employer Strategies in Employment Discrimination Litigation", Aspatore Books, 2008
  • Employment Discrimination Law, Fourth Edition (ABA), Contributing Chapter Author, "Unions"
  • Labor and Employment Lawnotes, Volume 17.N.2 "The New Wave in Employment Litigation: Family Responsibilities Discrimination".
  • Multiple speaking engagements for ICLE and the Michigan Bar Association Labor and Employment Section
 
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