Chuck Knapp leads Faegre Baker Daniels' employment litigation team and focuses his practice on representing employers in employment-related litigation. He has been nationally recognized as a top employment litigator by The Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA and Intellectual Asset Management IOCO. Chuck also has been identified as among the top regional defense-side employment litigators by Minnesota Law & Politics and Minnesota Lawyer. Clients have recognized Chuck as "unbelievably terrific on his feet," "amazing in cross examinations: tenacious yet at the same time very understated and humble," "proactive" and someone who "really tailors his service for clients' needs."
Chuck has served as lead trial counsel in employment cases venued throughout the country in state and federal courts. His litigation outcomes have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Reuters, Chicago Tribune, ABA Journal and Bloomberg's. Chuck's litigation experience has included the following:
- Trade secret, non-competition, business interference and CFAA claims
- Wage and hour claims, including exempt/non-exempt classification, off-the-clock work and tip pooling claims
- ERISA benefit and breach of fiduciary duty claims
- Executive compensation disputes
- Class action employment discrimination and breach of contract cases
- Discrimination, harassment, disability, retaliation and leave claims
Chuck has litigated cases in federal and state district courts throughout the country, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. He also has successfully briefed and/or argued petitions for certiorari and appeals before the United States Supreme Court; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth, Eighth and Ninth Circuits; and the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
Representative Litigation Work
- Lead trial counsel in noncompete/trade secret lawsuit venued in Delaware Chancery Court that resulted in a favorable settlement following two-week bench trial in which our client sought damages in excess of $20 million.
- Lead counsel in class action FLSA case venued in District of Minnesota alleging misclassification and recordkeeping claims on behalf of more than 100 management personnel in which plaintiffs' counsel voluntarily dismissed all claims.
- Lead counsel in class action pension termination case venued in District of Minnesota involving ERISA and state common law claims asserted on behalf of more than 400 plan participants; successfully dismissed ERISA claims in issue of first impression in the Eighth Circuit on the grounds that the plan at issue was an exempt "church plan."
- Defense judgment following trial of class action vacation pay dispute involving class of approximately 300 employees who sought damages in excess of $1 million.
- Lead trial counsel in trade secret lawsuit venued in Delaware Chancery Court in which client secured more than $35 million damages judgment and court ordered 10-year permanent "production injunction."
- Lead trial counsel in noncompete matter litigated in both Maryland federal court and Texas state court and involving technical and business leader of manufacturing company who had accepted employment with competitor; obtained TRO in Maryland and preliminary injunction in Texas.
- Lead counsel in class action FLSA matter venued in federal district court involving whether call center employees had been properly classified as exempt employees; obtained early dismissal of ERISA and unjust enrichment claims in issue of first impression in District of Minnesota.
- Lead counsel in federal class action ERISA lawsuit venued in District of Arizona; obtained summary judgment and successfully argued against appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
- Obtained temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions in a number of noncompetition cases in Minnesota, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Texas and Virginia.
- Obtained summary judgment in age discrimination and ERISA retaliation claims in District of Minnesota; affirmed by Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Obtained summary judgment on age discrimination, sexual harassment, battery and other tort claims in Hennepin County court; affirmed by Minnesota Court of Appeals.
- Obtained dismissal of certain plaintiffs and claims, and favorably resolved remaining claims of other plaintiffs in complex, multi-plaintiff age and disability discrimination lawsuit arising out of reduction in force (RIF) in Maryland.
- Co-counsel for national restaurant chain in class action tip pooling case.
- Served as trial counsel in an eight-week trial in the individual damages phase of the first federal class action harassment lawsuit.
Employment Counseling Experience
Chuck's employment litigation experience also has given him the experience necessary to advise employers regarding a variety of workplace issues. He has been a featured speaker on MPR's Mid-Morning Series and Sirus Business Radio's "In the Workplace," as well as in articles featured in the Wall Street Journal, Law360 and other publications. Chuck's experience in this area has included:
- Development of non-competition, non-disclosure, non-solicitation and other employment agreements and strategies for clients in diverse industries
- Implementation of company-wide wage/hour audit and development of strategies for issues identified therein for a Fortune 500 company
- Serving as interim in-house employment counsel for a national financial services company
- Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) Patent 1000: The World's Leading Practitioners, 2014
- The Best Lawyers in America — Labor & Employment Law, 2001-16; Employment Law – Management, 2015-16
- Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business — Labor & Employment, 2007-16
- Minnesota Law & Politics — Top 40 Employment Lawyers
- Minnesota Super Lawyers — Employment Litigation: Defense, 2003-16
- Martindale-Hubbell — AV Peer Review Rating
- Minnesota State Bar Association — Labor and Employment Section Governing Council (Chair)
- American Bar Association — Labor and Employment Law Section
- St. Paul Chamber Orchestra — Governing Member
- Minneapolis Hockey Association — Vice President
- Notre Dame Club of Minnesota
- Complex Employment Litigation Trends to Watch in 2016
Co-presenter, Employment Law Today: In-Depth Discussions on Complex Issues, Complex Employment Litigation Seminar, 2015
- Corporate Wellness Update — What Can You Do? What Can’t You Do?
Co-presenter, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, 2015
- Hiring From a Competitor: Tips for Mitigating Your Risk
- Client In-House Presentation, 2014
- Restrictive Covenants in the Global Workplace
Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, 2013
- Ethical Traps for In-House Counsel
Client In-House Presentation, 2013
- Drawing the Line Between Possibility and Plausibility: An Update on Federal Courts' Application of Twombly's/Iqbal's Pleading Standards in FLSA Collection Actions
Minnesota CLE, 2013
- The Fair Labor Standards Act
Client In-house Presentation, 2013
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act: Recent Developments and Implications for Employers
American Conference Institute, New York City, 2012
- The New World of Reprisal and Retaliation Claims
Human Rights Symposium, Minnesota Department of Human Rights, St. Paul, 2012
- Special Wage-Hour Issues
Minnesota CLE, 2011
- Strategic Discovery Practice
Minnesota CLE, 2010
- Anatomy of a Wage/Hour Case
Minnesota State Bar Association, 2009
- Introduction to the Fair Labor Standards Act
United States District Court Judicial Clerk Seminar, District of Minnesota, 2009
- Advanced Trial Practice: Successfully Defending the Retaliation Case
Minnesota CLE, 2008
- Telecommuting and Wage/Hour Disputes
Stafford Publications, 2008
- Employee Personal Data, Are You Compliant?
Minnesota CLE, 2007 and 2008
- Strategies for Defeating FLSA Collective Actions
Strafford Publications, 2007
- Recurring Pitfalls in Drafting and Seeking Enforcement of Non-Compete Agreements
Strafford Publications, 2007
- Talking Turkey About EEOC Overreach
- CFAA: Sharpened Sword or Extra Baggage?
Employment Law360, 2009
- A Primer on Noncompetition Agreements: Ten Questions You Should Answer
MedTech Legal Update, 2009
- Disclosure of Employee Personal Data: What Are an Employer's Legal Obligations?
World Data Protection Report Adviser, Expatriate Adviser, National Association of Church Business Administration, 2006