Benton J. Mathis, Jr.

Managing Partner

Atlanta, GA
D 770.818.1402 | C 770.361.7839 | F 770.937.9960
[email protected]

Education

  • Washington and Lee University School of Law, Juris Doctor, cum laude. Washington and Lee Law Review, Member
  • Georgia Institute of Technology, B.S. Management, with honor; President Senior Class; member ANAK

 

Overview

 Best Lawyers Award Badge

 

Ben Mathis is the firm-wide Managing Partner of Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP. He is a nationally recognized trial attorney who has been lead counsel in 45 states. He has concentrated his practice for over thirty five years in labor and employment law, and he also has handled numerous high exposure commercial litigation and directors and officers cases.

Mr. Mathis has been selected one of the "Premier Top 100 Trial Attorneys in the State of Georgia" by the American Academy of Trial Attorneys. He ‎has been named the "Atlanta Lawyer of the Year for Labor and Employment Law-Management" by Best Lawyers in America, a Georgia "Super Lawyer" by Atlanta Magazine, a Georgia "Legal Elite" by Georgia Trend Magazine, one of Georgia's "Top Rated Lawyers" by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, a Leading Lawyer by Chambers USA, and a “Star Litigator” by Benchmark Litigation.

He was nominated by the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and was selected as a defense representative to the Federal Rulemaking Advisory Committee in Washington, D.C. He has testified before United States Senate and House Committees on multiple occasions as a legal expert on pending legislation. He also has served as Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Georgia.

Read More

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia

Georgia

U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit

U.S. District Court Middle District of Georgia

U.S. District Court Northern District of Georgia

U.S. District Court Southern District of Georgia

U.S. Supreme Court

Publications & Engagements
  • Editor-In-Chief: Personnel Law Desk Manual, Georgia Chamber of Commerce
  • Co-Editor: Employment Law for Georgia Employers, Business Council of Georgia
  • Co-Editor: Labor Relations Law for Georgia Employers, Business Council of Georgia
  • Co-Author: Eleventh Circuit Survey: “Labor Law”, 45 Mercer Law Review 1332
  • Co-Author: Eleventh Circuit Survey: “Trial Practice and Procedure”, 43 Mercer Law Review 1237
  • Author: Gissell Bargaining Orders: Circuit Courts Struggle To Limit NLRB Abuse, 40 Washington and Lee Law Review 1661
  • Author: Arbitrators Authority And The Common Law Of The Shop, 40 Washington and Lee Law Review 790
  • Author: Discipline And Discharge In Litigious Times, For The Defense
Representative Cases & Clients

Representative Trials:

German v  AgriDynamics, Inc.– Ben Mathis and David Cole obtained a defense verdict in a sex discrimination case in federal court in the Middle District of Georgia after a 5 day trial. The plaintiff sought over $700,000 in backpay, fees, and compensatory damages. The jury found in favor of our client on all claims.

Brown v Catoosa County– Ben Mathis and Mary Anne Ackourey were retained after the close of discovery to try this gender discrimination and retaliation case in federal district court. The claim was the first of three scheduled jury trials by a group of female employees who contended that they were unlawfully fired after participating in a sexual harassment investigation. Demand prior to trial was over $800,000. After a 9 day trial, the jury returned a defense verdict on all counts in favor of our client. The other related cases set for trial soon settled on highly favorable terms to our client.

Fraternal Order of Police v City of Smyrna– Ben Mathis successfully tried this lawsuit brought by the FOP and eight individual plaintiffs who claimed unlawful pay practices and job conditions on the basis of age. The plaintiff’s demand immediately prior to trial was over 1.4 million dollars. After a 7 day trial, the jury returned a defense verdict on all claims in favor of our client.

Bostick v Swatch– Ben Mathis and Mary Anne Ackourey won this Title VII and EPA claim by the former Vice President of sales. The plaintiff contended that she and other women were paid less than similarly situated men and that she was terminated in retaliation for complaining of unlawful treatment. After a 21 day trial in New York City, our client obtained a verdict on all claims.

Springer v Chicago Title– Ben Mathis represented the company in an age discrimination suit in federal court in the Middle District of Florida. The case involved a Senior Executive terminated for unsatisfactory performance. Following a 6 day trial, the jury deadlocked at 11-1 in favor of the company. Prior to trial, the plaintiff’s final demand was $850,000. After trial, the case resolved for less than $10,000.

Beckmann, et. al and EEOC v Attorney Title Insurance Company– Ben Mathis was retained after conclusion of discovery for trial of this 3 plaintiff claim for unlawful termination and pay practices. The EEOC also intervened on behalf of the plaintiffs. After a 10 day trial in federal court in Orlando, the jury found in favor of our client on all claims.

Towe v Mainfreight, Inc.-  This case involved a breach of contract and bad faith termination claim by a former division president of a large, national freight brokerage company. The plaintiff sought over 5 million dollars in economic damages alone. Ben Mathis and David Cole represented the employer. Following a 5 day trial in arbitration, our client received a defense verdict prevailing on all claims.

Perez v Interstate Brands Corporation– This case was successfully tried in Miami, Florida by Ben Mathis. It involved a breach of contract claim by a former employee terminated for misconduct. The company prevailed on all claims.

Pellon v Holsum Bakery– Venue of this case was in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ben Mathis successfully tried this arbitration claim by a former employee terminated for poor performance who claimed unlawful discrimination and breach of contract. The company prevailed on all claims.

Sparks v Douglas County– Ben Mathis and Mary Anne Ackourey tried this case for age and race discrimination and retaliation in a 4 day bench trial in federal court. The verdict was in favor of our client on all claims. The court ultimately ordered the plaintiff to pay $50,000 in damages and fees to our client.

United Steelworkers v AGCO Corporation– Kansas was the venue for this case brought by a union and representative employee claiming that a class of over 600 employees was unlawfully denied sick pay. The union contended that the company breached express contractual obligations and binding past practices. Ben Mathis tried the case and our client prevailed on all claims.

Tom James v Benchmade Clothing and Morgan et. al– This case involved claims for breach of non-competition and confidentiality obligations by employees who had started a competing business. Ben Mathis and Brad Adler represented the start-up company and its executives. Venue for this case was federal district court in Atlanta. The opposing party sought over $600,000 in alleged damages.  After an 8 day bench trial, our clients prevailed on virtually all claims, and the actual damages recovered by the plaintiff were only $500.

Stevenson v. Watkins Motor Lines, Inc– Ben Mathis was co-counsel in this federal jury trial in the Central District Court of California (Los Angeles). The plaintiff contended he was wrongfully terminated in violation of public policy and California statutory prohibitions. The trial lasted 19 days, and our client received a favorable verdict over $800,000 less than the final demand at trial.

Representative Appellate Cases:

Montero v AGCO Corporation– United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit- Ben Mathis and Mary Anne Ackourey prevailed in appeal by female employee claiming unlawful sexual harassment. This landmark case was the first successful appeal in which an employer prevailed in the Ninth Circuit on the Farragher affirmative defense in a Title VII harassment suit. This case is reported at 192 F.3d 856.

Kuritzky v Emory University– Georgia Court of Appeals – Ben Mathis and Mary Anne Ackourey represented the Emory Medical School in this suit for breach of contract by a former student expelled for misconduct. After obtaining dismissal of case in the lower court, the Georgia Court of Appeals upheld judgment in favor of the University in an important decision for Georgia schools regarding their enforcement of judicial and academic procedures. The decision is reported at 294 Ga. App. 370.

Holbrook v City of Alpharetta– United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit- Ben Mathis successfully represented the employer in this case of first impression involving an employer’s right to discontinue an accommodation previously provided to a disabled employee. This decision has been cited in dozens of other cases by many circuit courts and established highly favorable precedent regarding an employer’s discretion to stop prior accommodations based on change in management or different job circumstances. The decision is reported at 112 F.3d 1522.

Grottokau v. Skyclimber, Inc.– United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit- Ben Mathis and Chris Parker represented the employer in this appeal of a judgment in our client’s favor in the lower court in a Title VII discrimination claim. The decision is reported at 79 F.3d 70.

Johnson v. AGCO Corp.– United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit- Ben Mathis represented the employer in an appeal on behalf of an individual employee represented by the United Steelworkers. The case arose out of the dismissal of a claim in federal district court based upon an arbitration in which the employer prevailed. The decision is reported at 159 F.3d 1114.

Anderson v Burke County– United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit- Ben Mathis represented employer in gender discrimination claim by former employee. The Court of Appeals reversed the lower court and dismissed all claims. The decision is reported at 239 F.3d 1216.

Chesser v Sparks– United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit- Ben Mathis obtained reversal of the lower court in this claim for violation of constitutional rights by a former employee. The case was dismissed in favor of our client following the appellate decision which is reported at 248 F. 3d 1117.

Broughton v. Douglas County Board of Elections– Supreme Court of Georgia- Ben Mathis represented the employer in this appeal of dismissal of a voting law challenge. The losing candidate in the election for Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Douglas County sued contending the election should have been overturned for various election irregularities. After oral argument, the Supreme Court quickly ruled that our client’s lower court victory was affirmed on all claims. The decision is reported at 690 SE 2d 141, 286 GA 523.

Foster v Swinney– Georgia Court of Appeals- Ben Mathis prevailed in this case of first impression under involving a suit for invasion of privacy after the employer mistakenly disclosed the results of an employee drug test. The decision is reported at 588 S.E. 2d 307.

Class and Collective Action Cases:

Harris v Liberty Communication Management, Inc– United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia- Ben Mathis and Bill Buechner prevailed in this class claim under the Fair Debt Collections Practice Act and the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act. The plaintiffs contended the company engaged in systematic unlawful collection practices. Our client prevailed on all claims at the lower court and the decision was upheld by the Eleventh Circuit. The appellate decision in this case is reported at 702 F.3d 1298.

Wreyford v Citizens for Transportation Mobility– United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia- Ben Mathis and Marty Heller represented the advocacy organization that allegedly violated the Telephone Consumers Protection Act by making unlawful calls in the T-SPLOST statewide referendum. The plaintiffs sought certification of a class of over 2000 affected individuals. After challenging the constitutionality of the statute’s application, the case resolved on highly favorable terms to our client. The case is is reported at 957 F.Supp.2d 1378.

Pickett, et. al. v Dekalb County– United States District of Court, Northern District of Georgia- Ben Mathis and Dana Maine successfully defended this class action claim for unpaid overtime by over 500 employees. In a case of first impression regarding the interplay of the public safety exemption under the FLSA, our client prevailed on all claims. The court’s decision is reported at 276 F.Supp.2d 1265.

Gomez, et al. v United Forming– United States District Court, Middle District of Florida- Ben Mathis and Mary Anne Ackourey represented a large, national concrete forming company in collective action for unlawful pay practices. In a rare success for employers opposing conditional certification of the class. The company prevailed on this claim, and the case was ultimately dismissed. The court’s decision is reported at 2009 WL 3367165.

Reich v Chicago Title Insurance Company– United States District Court, District of Kansas- Ben Mathis represented the employer in this collective action by the U.S. Department of Labor seeking unpaid overtime for a class of over 200 employees the company contended were exempt. The DOL sought time-and-a-half for all workers and the company successfully contended, among other things, that the employees were entitled to the half-time payment method for salaried employees. The company also prevailed on the DOL’s claim for liquidated damages.

Smith, et al. v Paulding County– United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia-  Ben Mathis successfully represented the employer in a class claim by over 400 employees claiming unlawful pay practices. The employer prevailed at the class certification stage, and ultimately we obtained a complete dismissal of all claims.

Other Reported Decisions:

  • Chemence Med. Prods. v. Quinn, 685 Fed. Appx. Appx. 701 (11th Cir. 2017)
  • Sams. v. GA W. Gate, LLC, No. CV415-282, 2017 WL 436281 (S.D. Ga. Jan 30, 2017)
  • Albu v. TBI Airport Mgmt., No. 1:15-cv-3120-WSD, 2016 WL 6246732 (N.D. Ga. Oct. 26, 2016)
  • Heron v. Thurmond, 2016 Ga. Super. LEXIS 3468 (Ga. Super. Ct. July 20, 2016)
  • White v. City of Sylvester, No. 1:14-CV-00076 (LJA), 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42848 (M.D. Ga. Mar. 31, 2016)
  • Stevens v. City of Forest Park. __Fed.Appx. __, 2015 WL 9287741 (11th Cir. 2015)
  • Jackson v. Hall County Government, Georgia 568 Fed.Appx. 676 (11th Cir. 2014)
  • Simpson v. Sanderson Farms, Inc. 744 F.3d 702 (11th Cir. 2014)
  • Bahrami v. Maxie Price Chevrolet-Oldsmobile Inc., 2013 WL 3800336 (N.D. Ga 2013)
  • Dees v. Office Management Systems, Inc. 2012 WL 3243309 (N.D. Miss 2012)
  • Reinhardt University v. Castleberry, 734 S.E. 2d 117, (Ga. App. 2012)
  • Fulmer v. Leisure Bay Industries, Inc, 779 F. Supp. 2d 1304 (N.D. AL 2011)
  • Jordan v. Randolpf County School District, 2010 WL 1538314 (M.D. Ga 2010)
  • Ross v. Simu US, Inc., 322 Fed. App. 864 (11th Cir. 2009)
  • Hyde v. StoreLink Retail Group, Inc., 2009 WL 259392 (M.D. Fla. 2009)
  • Howell v. Douglas County School District, 2009 WL 196084 (N.D. Ga. 2009)
  • Whitner v. Emory University, 2008 WL 4224407 (N.D. Ga. 2008)
  • Fitzgerald v. Asbury Automotive, 2008 WL 544744 (N.D. Ga. 2008)
  • Adedutan v. Hospital Authority of Clarke County, 249 Fed. Appx. 151 (11th Cir. 2007)
  • Echols v Home Depot, USA, 208 Fed. App. 747 (11th Cir. 2006)
  • Little v. Cobb County, 2006 WL 839401 (N.D. Ga. 2006)
  • Massengale v. Clayton County, 2006 WL 83429 (N.D. Ga. 2006)
  • Nance v. Buffalo’s Cafe, 2005 WW 2148548 (N.D. Ga. 2005)
  • Tom James Co. v. Morgan, 41 Fed. App. 894, 136 Fed. App. 218 (2005)
  • Dodd v. City of Gainesville, 601 S.E.2d 352 (Ga. App. 2004)
  • Barger v. City of Cartersville, GA, 348 F.3d 1289 (11th Cir. 2003)
  • Foster v. Swinney, 588 S.E.2d 307 (Ga. App. 2003)
  • In re Barger, 279 B.R. 900 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 2002)
  • Adler v. Wallace Computer Services, Inc., 202 F.R.D. 666 (N.D. Ga. 2001)
  • Chesser v. Sparks, 248 F.3d 1117 (11th Cir. 2001)
  • Anderson v. Burke County, 239 F.3d 1216 (11th Cir. 2001)
  • Peridyne Technologies Solutions, LLC v. Matheson Fast Freight, Inc., 117 F.Supp.2d 1366 (N.D.Ga. 2000)
  • Johnson v. AGCO Corp., 159 F.3d 1114 (8th Cir. 1998)
  • Holbrook v. City of Alpharetta, 112 F.3d 1522 (11th Cir. 1997)
  • Grottokau v. Skyclimber, Inc., 79 F.3d 70 (7th Cir. 1996)
  • Kaylor v. Fannin Regional Hospital, 946 F. Supp. 988 (N.D. Ga. 1996)
  • Drainer v. O’Donnell, 1995 WL 338700 (Del. Sup. Ct. 1995)
  • Reich v. Chicago Title Ins. Co., 853 F. Supp. 1325 (D. Kan. 1994)
  • Fitzgerald v. Alleghany Corp., 904 F. Supp. 223 (S.D. N.Y. 1995)
Affiliations
  • Member, State Bar of Georgia and District of Columbia Bar
  • American Bar Association (Member, Sections on Labor and Employment Law Litigation; Sub-Committee on NLRA Practice and Procedure)
  • Cobb County Chamber of Commerce, Chairman, Board of Directors, Chairman’s Club, Outstanding Board Member Award
  • Defense Research Institute, Chair, Employment Law Committee, Dedicated Service Award
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Defense Representative, Rulemaking Advisory Committee, Washington D.C.
  • Federal Bar Association, President, Atlanta Chapter, Executive Committee
  • Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, Vice-Chair, Employment Section and Civil Rights Section
  • Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors
  • Georgia Defense Lawyers Association
  • Georgia Tech Alumni Association, Chair, Board of Trustees, Executive Committee, Outstanding Volunteer Award
  • Lawyers Club of Atlanta
  • Professional Liability Attorney Network, President, Executive Committee
  • United Way, Cobb Executive Cabinet
Awards and Recognition
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in America®, 2021 Edition in the fields of Commercial Litigation, Employment Law – Management and Labor Law – Management
  • Premier Top 100 Trial Attorneys in the State of Georgia – American Academy of Trial Attorneys
  • Atlanta Lawyer of the Year, Labor and Employment LawManagement-Best Lawyers in America
  • Georgia Super Lawyers
  • Business Law Super Lawyers
  • Star Litigator – Benchmark Litigation, 2020
  • Legal Elite – Georgia Trend Magazine
  • Top Rated Lawyer – Atlanta-Journal Constitution
  • Leading Lawyer – Chambers USA
  • Outstanding Board Member- Cobb Chamber of Commerce
  • Outstanding Volunteer- Georgia Tech Alumni Association
  • Good Guy Award- Georgia Chamber of Commerce
  • Dedicated Service Award, DRI Employment Law Committee
Classes/Seminars Taught
  • Professional Lines Attorney Network, “Cyber Liability and Social Media”, New York City, Hartford, CT
  • Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, “Preparing the Senior Executive For Testimony”, LaMalbaie, Canada
  • DRI, “Differences Between Private and Public Employees”, Scottsdale, Arizona
  • IMLA, “Conducting An EEO Audit”, Washington, D.C.
  • Employer Liability For Supervisor Acts – Analysis of Supreme Court Decisions, Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Georgia Society of CPAs, “Recent Developments in Employment Law”
  • United States Senate Labor Committee Staff, “Implications of ENDA”, Washington, D.C.
  • Apex National Panel Counsel, “Recent Developments in Sexual Harassment”, Traverse City, Michigan
  • Counsel on Education in Management, “How to Conduct Investigations Without Invading Employee Privacy”
  • Defense Research Institute, “Thanks For The Memories: Age Discrimination Developments”, Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Lorman Education Services, “The Role Of Human Resources In Today’s Workplace”
  • Defense Research Institute, “The Rights Of The Accused In Sexual Harassment Cases”, New York, NY
  • Fidelity National Financial Human Resource Seminar, “Technology And The Workforce — Emerging Issues on the Employment Horizon”, Orlando, Florida, Los Angeles, California
  • Extended Stay Hotels Management Annual Meeting, “Sexual Harassment Mock Trial”, San Francisco, California
  • Georgia Nursing Home Association, “Sexual Harassment In The Workplace”, Jacksonville, Florida
  • Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Southeast Human Resource Conference, “Discipline and Discharge in Litigious Times”
  • Travelers National Counsel, “Employment Law Update”, San Antonio, Texas