David A. Cole
Partner
Direct Dial: 770.818.1287
Fax: 770.937.9960
[email protected]
 

David A. Cole is a Partner in the Atlanta office of Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP (“FMG”).  Mr. Cole is a member of the Labor & Employment Law section and also is the national practice group leader of FMG’s Data Security, Privacy, and Cyber Liability practice group.

In his employment law practice, Mr. Cole represents businesses and local governments in all aspects of employment law and litigation, including discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims under Title VII and other state and federal discrimination laws; wage and hour claims and collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act; Family and Medical Leave Act claims; and claims for breach of contract and violations of restrictive covenants like non-compete, non-solicitation, and confidentiality agreements.  Mr. Cole also specializes in defending local governments in employment litigation under § 1983 for alleged violation of public employees’ constitutional rights.  Beyond litigation, Mr. Cole serves as outside counsel to business owners, human resources professionals, and in-house counsel on issues ranging from the preparation of personnel policies, employment contracts, arbitration agreements, and severance agreements, to advice and counseling on day-to-day personnel issues and best practices.

In his cyber practice, Mr. Cole is the national practice group leader of FMG’s Data Security, Privacy, and Cyber Liability practice group.  In this position, Mr. Cole represents organizations of every size and in every industry in matters including: (1) advising businesses on compliance with U.S. federal and state data security and privacy laws; (2) serving as breach counsel to provide comprehensive assistance in the event of a data security incident, including forensic investigations, customer notification, public relations, and state and federal regulatory investigations; and (3) helping clients proactively prevent and manage data security events through security and privacy assessments, development of written policies and procedures, drafting and negotiation of vendor contracts, and workforce training.  In addition, Mr. Cole’s technology background and legal experience uniquely allow him to defend organizations in Privacy Litigation, such single-plaintiff or class action cases and enforcement actions by government agencies, as well as in business-to-business litigation and other Technology Errors & Omissions (Tech E&O) claims. 

Mr. Cole is a frequent author and speaker on Employer Law and Data Security & Privacy Law issues.  He speaks on a national basis at industry and insurance-related conferences, has been featured on television, and quoted in multiple publications for his expertise within his practice areas.  He was recently selected for the third time as a Georgia Super Lawyers "Rising Star" as published by Atlanta Magazine, and in 2014 was selected as one of the "Top 20 Rising Stars Under 40" by Cobb Life Magazine and the Cobb Business Journal.  He is currently Chair of the Employment Law Committee for the Georgia Defense Lawyer’s Association, a member of the CLM Technology Law committee and Employment Practices Liability committee, and serves on the Executive Board of the Atlanta Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.  Mr. Cole is the former Chair of the Labor and Employment Law Section of The State Bar of Georgia, Young Lawyer's Division, and a past president of the Cobb County Bar Association’s Young Lawyer’s Division. Mr. Cole also is a graduate of the 2010-2011 class of Leadership Cobb, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Cole received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of Washington, magna cum laude, with a concentration in Computer Information Systems. He then received his Juris Doctor degree from Wake Forest University School of Law, where he was a member of the National Moot Court team and Student Trial Bar, and was selected to the National Order of Barristers.

 

Areas of Practice

  • Labor and Employment
  • Data Security, Privacy, & Cyber Liability
  • Technology E&O

Bar Admissions

  • Georgia
  • Supreme Court of Georgia
  • Court of Appeals of Georgia
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Georgia
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Georgia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

Education

  • Wake Forest University School of Law
    -Juris Doctor
    -The Order of Barristers
    -Moot Court Board
    -National Moot Court Competition Semi-Finalist
    -Region IV National Moot Court Champion
    -James C. Berkowitz Award for Best Oralist
    -Student Trial Bar
  • University of Washington
    -B.A. Business Administration, magna cum laude
    -Concentration: Information Systems
    -Phi Eta Sigma

Representative Published Works

  • The Enforcers: The Increasing Role of Government Agencies in Enforcing Cyber Security and the New Claims Risks They Present,” Litigation Management Magazine (summer 2016 issue)

  • "Sixth Circuit Buecomes Latest Court to Find Standing in a Data Breach Lawsuit," FMG BlogLine (2016)

  • "Tennessee Amends Data Breach Notification Statute," FMG BlogLine (2016)

  • "IRS Says Identity Theft Protection is No Longer Taxable," FMG BlogLine (2016)

  • "How to Conduct Workplace Investigations of Employee Complaints," 62nd Annual Institute for City and County Attorneys, CLE Program Materials (September 2015)

  • "The DOJ's Guidance for Best Practices Before, During, and After a Data Breach," FMG LawLine (May 2015)

  • Quoted in article “Latest mandate delay buys time for mid-size businesses,” Atlanta Journal Constitution (February 14, 2014)

  • "Data Breaches Under the Georgia Personal Identity Protection Act," 60th Annual Institute for City and County Attorneys, CLE Program Materials (September 2013)

  • “Lessons to Learn from the 2013 Data Breach Reports,” FMG LawLine (June 2013)

  • “New HIPAA Rule Brings Sweeping Changes,” FMG LawLine (May 2013)

  • “Employment Law Case Update,” Georgia Defense Lawyer’s Association, Quarterly Publication, (January 2012)

  • Quoted in article “Businesses come face-to-face with health care law,” Atlanta Journal Constitution(December 2012)

  • "Data Breach Liability - Are you Prepared?" Georgia Automobile Dealers Association, The Generator (Fall 2011)

  • "Is Metadata Subject to Open Records?" Georgia's Cities, Georgia Municipal Association (January 2010)

  • "Reductions in Force and Downsizing," Institute of Continuing Legal Education, The Nuts and Bolts of Employment Law, CLE Program Materials (February 2009)

  • "Metadata Discovery," Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Government Attorneys Seminar Exploring Government in the Sunshine, Evidence, and E-Discovery, CLE Program Materials (September 2008)

  • "The Rise of Retaliation Claims," Institute of Continuing Legal Education, The Nuts & Bolts of Employment Law, CLE Program Materials (May 2008)

  • "Georgia Employment Law Update," Georgia Defense Lawyers Association, Quarterly Publication (January 2008)

  • "Drafting Employment Arbitration Agreements and Challenging Arbitration Awards," Institute of Continuing Legal Education, The Nuts & Bolts of Employment Law, CLE Program Materials (May 2007)

  • "Georgia Employment Law Update," Georgia Defense Lawyers Association, Quarterly Publication (March 2007)

  • "Playing with Fire: Appealing Arbitration Awards," The Labouring Oar, Federal Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section, Quarterly Publication (May 2006)

Representative Cases

  • Griffin v. City of Demorest et al., No. 15-11129, 2015 WL 9299876 (11th Cir. Dec. 22, 2015)
  • Hampton v. Macon-Bibb County Transit Authority, 2014 WL 2916849, Case No. 5:14–CV–111 (MTT) (M.D. Ga. 2015).
  • German v. Agri Dynamics, Inc., 2013 WL 4501018 (M.D. Ga. 2013)
  • Araka v. CobbWorks, Inc., Case No.: 1:11-cv-01616 (N.D. Ga. 2013)
  • Trevillion v. City of Fairburn, Case No.: 1:11-cv-01589 (N.D. Ga. 2012)
  • Shelton v. Ken’s Beverage, Inc., Case No.: 1:09-cv-03422 (N.D. Ga. 2011)
  • Boutte v. City of Fairburn, Case No.: 1:10-CV-1725 (N.D. Ga. 2011)
  • Broughton v. Douglas County Board of Elections, 286 Ga. 528, 690 S.E.2d 141 (2010)
  • Whitner v. Emory University, 2008 WL 4224407 (N.D. Ga. Sept. 12, 2008)
  • Fitzgerald v. Asbury Automotive Atlanta, LLC, 2008 WL 544744 (N.D. Ga. Feb. 26, 2008)
  • Anderson v. Owens, 2007 WL 4200208 (N.D. Ga. Nov. 15, 2007)
  • Hyde v. Storelink Retail Group, Inc., 2007 WL 1831683 (M.D. Fla. June 25, 2007)

Classes/Seminars Taught

  • “Restrictive Covenants and Trade Secrets: How to Protect Your Confidential Information and Business Interests,” FMG Client Webinar (November 2016)

  • “Elections, Politics, and Your Employees: Key Issues for Government Employers,” Georgia PRIMA Annual Conference (October 2016)

  • “When Municipal Employees Talk: The Peril of Unsupervised Statements and the Importance of Getting Control,” CLM Professional Liability Conference (July 2016)

  • “How to Prepare for and Respond to a Data Breach,” Atlanta Cyber Liability Summit (May 2016)

  • "Independent Contractors and Employees," Georgia State Senate Study Committee (October 2015)

  • “The Past, Present, and Future of Cyber Liability,” Professional Liability Attorney Network (Panel Member, October 2015)

  • "How to Conduct Workplace Investigations of Employee Complaints," 62nd Annual Institute for City and County Attorneys (September 2015).

  • "Compliance with Legal Requirements of Employee Wellness Programs," Health Care Summit, Cobb Chamber of Commerce (August 2015)

  • "Update on the Affordable Care Act and Its Impact on Employers," South Cobb Business Association (May 2015)

  • "Best Practices for Preventing and Responding to a Data Breach," Cumberland Area Council, Cobb Chamber of Commerce (March 2015)

  • "HIPPA Compliance for Fire and Public Safety Officers," Clayton County Government (August 2014)

  • "Employer Requirements under the Affordable Care Act," Professional Liability Underwriting Society (August 2014)

  • “Best Practices for Avoiding Privacy and Cyber Liability Claims,” Georgia Automobile Dealers Association (May 2013)

  • “Latest Trends and Developments and Data Breach and Cyber Litigation,” Atlanta Chapter of the Federal Bar Association (March 2013)

  • “Employer Responsibilities Under the Affordable Care and What the Law Means for Businesses,” 2013 Healthcare Summit, Cobb Chamber of Commerce (October 2013) 

  • “Data Breaches Under Georgia the Personal Identity Protection Act,” 60th Annual Institute for City and County Attorneys (September 2013)

  • “Cyber Liability and Technology in the Workplace,” SHRM Atlanta, Northwest GEM Meeting (July 2013)

  • “Cyber and Technology Law Update,” Georgia Chapter of the Government Management Information Sciences (May 2013)

  • “New Frontiers: Healthcare, Cyber Liability, and Social Media,” PLAN Atlanta Regional Meeting (April 2013)

  • “Advanced Human Resources Management: Perspectives Learned from Litigation,” ACCG Annual Conference (April 2013)

  • “The Federal Healthcare Act: What Every Employer Needs to Know,” Risk Management Society, Atlanta Chapter Educational Conference (February 2013)

  • “Employment Laws for County Governments,” Association County Commissioners of Georgia, Annual Training Conference (December 2012)

  • “What You Can and Can’t Say To Your Employees,” Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, Annual Training Conference (December 2012)

  • “Social Media for Government Employers,” Georgia Municipal Association, 2012 Annual Conference (June 2012)

  • “The Fair Labor Standards Act,” Lorman Education Services, Atlanta, Georgia (June 2012)

  • “The Federal Healthcare Act: What It Means to Every Employer,” Panelist, Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP (May 2012)

  • “Technology in the Government Workplace,” Georgia Chapter of the Government Management Information Sciences, Amelia Island, Georgia (May 2012)

  • “Managing Public Employees In Difficult Times,” Georgia City-County Management Association, Spring Conference (March 2012)

  • "Top 10 Policies for Every Employer," Athens Area Society for Human Resources Management (February 2012)

  • "Employment Law Issues for IT Professionals," Georgia Management Information Systems Society (October 2011)

  • "Sexual Harassment Law Update," University of Georgia, Carl Vinson Institute of Government (September 2011)

  • "Georgia's New Restrictive Covenant Law," Gwinnett County SHRM (September 2011)

  • "Issues and Professionalism in Electronic Discovery," Cobb County Bar Association, Annual Business Law & Litigation Section CLE (February 2011)

  • "Top 10 FLSA Mistakes and How to Avoid Them," SHRM Webinar (October 2010)

  • "Assessing Your Company's Union Vulnerability," Projections, Inc. Webinar (March 2010)

  • "Reductions in Force and Downsizing," Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Atlanta, Georgia (February 2009)

  • "Understanding and Appreciating Diversity in the Workplace," Newton County, Covington, Georgia (November 2008)

  • "Top 10 Must-Have Policies For Every Employer," Cobb County Chamber of Commerce, Atlanta, Georgia (October 2008)

  • "Electronic Discovery," Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Cartersville, Georgia (September 2008)

  • "The Rise of Retaliation Claims," Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Atlanta, Georgia (May 2008)

  • "The State of Employment Law and Policies Every Employer Should Have," Southern Insurance Underwriters, Alpharetta, Georgia (March 2008)

  • "Bullet-Proof Your Terminations: Advanced Discharge Strategies," Cobb County Chamber of Commerce, Atlanta, Georgia (August 2007)

  • "The Nuts and Bolts of Employment Law," Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Atlanta, Georgia (May 2007)

  • "Avoiding the Top 10 FMLA Landmines," Lorman Education Services, Athens, Georgia (June 2006)

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Claims & Litigation Management Alliance (CLM) (Technology Law Committee and Employment Practices Liability Committee)
  • Georgia Defense Lawyer's Association (Chair, Employment Law Committee)
  • State Bar Georgia (Past Chair, YLD Labor and Employment Committee)
  • Cobb County Chamber of Commerce, (Board of Directors; 2013 - Present)
  • Cobb County Bar Association (Past President, Young Lawyer's Division)
  • Leadership Cobb Alumni Association
  • Federal Bar Association, Atlanta Chapter (Executive Committee Member; 2013 - Present)
  • Technology Association of Georgia
  • Safe Path Children's Advocacy Center (Board of Directors 2013 - 2016)

Awards:

  • Selected three times as a Georgia Super Lawyers "Rising Star" as published by Atlanta Magazine
  • Selected in 2014 as one of the "Top 20 Rising Stars Under 40" by Cobb Life Magazine and the Cobb Business Journal