Jeffrey S. Horton Thomas

Jeffrey S. Horton Thomas

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Employment Litigation Attorney in Los Angeles, CA

Akerman LLP
 | 601 West 5th Street, Suite 300
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Phone: 213-533-5912
Fax: 213-627-6342
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2020
Licensed Since: 1987
Practice Areas:
  • Employment Litigation: Defense
Attorney Profile

Jeffrey Horton Thomas is highly regarded as a leader in the defense of Southern California employers in discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, disability accommodation, wage and hour, and PAGA lawsuits and administrative actions. His consistent successes have earned Jeffrey his current listings by U.S. News Best Lawyers and SuperLawyers, the prestigious AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, nomination for a Los Angeles Business Journal “Leaders in Law” award, and recognition by EPLI carriers for his “expertise in the defense of employment-related matters” and for implementing “strategies for efficiently resolving claims,” among other commendations.

Jeffrey is known for the distinctive forward-leaning, aggressive approach and mature judgment he brings to the defense of the firm’s clients. Jeffrey’s clients vary from Fortune 500 corporations to mid-market and smaller employers. Jeffrey represents employers and management in all aspects of California and federal employment law before state and federal courts and administrative agencies.

Speaking as an advocate for employers, Jeffrey is a regular legal commentator on KABC Talk Radio’s “So, What’s Your Problem?”

Hospitality Industry Practice Group

Though his clients span industries including technology, retail, professional services, manufacturing, apparel, and others, Jeffrey heads the firm’s Hospitality Industry Practice Group, a dedicated team of the firm’s attorneys who are uniquely experienced in delivering cutting-edge litigation defense and advice and counsel to restaurant, bar, private club and other hospitality employers.

Regularly published on breaking employment law issues in national publications including Restaurant Hospitality, Modern Restaurant Management, Hotel Business, Inside Counsel, Human Resource Executive Online, SHRM – the Society for Human Resource Management and others, Jeffrey is recognized as a thought leader in the defense of hospitality employers.

Jeffrey gives back to the community. Jeffrey actively supports Los Angeles Youth Network (LAYN), which delivers food, safe housing and education to homeless children and youth in Hollywood, and the Point Foundation, which provides scholarships and mentoring to gifted LGBT undergraduate and graduate students nationally.

Jeffrey encourages you to support LAYN and the Point Foundation.

A Nebraska Cornhusker by birth, Jeffrey earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and his Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas School of Law.  As a law student, he earned honors including the Am Jur award in administrative law and was selected to serve as student director of the Kansas Defender Project, a nationally-respected legal clinic that provides legal representation to federal and state prison inmates.

Jeffrey has been a member of the State of California Bar since 1987. He is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Northern, Southern, Central and Eastern Districts of California and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

About Jeffrey Horton Thomas

Admitted: 1987, California

Professional Webpage: https://www.akerman.com/en/people/jeffrey-horton-thomas.html

Honors/Awards:

  • Selected for employment litigation defense on the list of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 Southern California Super Lawyers, which is based on peer review evaluations of legal skills and expertise, and published by Los Angeles Magazine.
  • Co-Chair, Daily Journal/California Lawyer Annual Employment Law Forum, July 18, 2017, Montage Beverly Hills, 2018
  • Awarded membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a distinction reserved for trial lawyers who have obtained one or more judgments or settlements of $1 million or more each.  
  • Recipient of the 2013 and 2014 Avvo Clients’ Choice Awards — presented by one of the nation’s leading attorney review and referral services.
  • Recognized by the Los Angeles Business Journal  as a nominee for its “Leaders in Law” award, October 2016; one of only 100 attorneys in Los Angeles from across all practice areas to be nominated, 2016
  • Awarded the prestigious AV Preeminent® rating from Martindale-Hubbell, a significant rating accomplishment that is a testament to the fact that a lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence.
  • Listed, Labor & Employment - Litigation Defense, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2018

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • Vice Chair and Executive Committee Member, Labor and Employment Law Section, Beverly Hills Bar Association (2014-15).  Secretary and Executive Committee Member (2013-14, 2014-15).
  • Host & Executive Committee Member, ProVisors - West Hollywood, a California-based association of select professionals.  
  • Member, California Chamber of Commerce
  • Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Member, California State Bar
  • Member, Association of Southern California Defense Counsel
  • Member, Financial Services Industry Exchange (FSIX), an association of professionals serving the financial services industry

Pro bono/Community Service:

  • Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Los Angeles Youth Network (LAYN)

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

Verdicts/Settlements:

  • A Fortune 500 retailer was sued in Superior Court by a former employee for discrimination and harassment, despite the employer having an arbitration agreement digitally signed by the employee when she was hired.  The employee denied that she had signed the agreement.  The Fortune 500 employer turned to Jeffrey and his team for its defense.  In response to our firm’s motion to enforce the arbitration agreement, the Court gave Jeffrey a rare opportunity, calling for a full evidentiary hearing (mini-trial) on the authenticity of the former employee’s digital signature.  The hearing was a high-stakes test; losing the hearing would have had repercussions for the company nationally.   After two days of testimony, the Court ruled that Jeffrey had clearly proven that the former employee had affixed the digital signature to the arbitration agreement.  The Court ordered that plaintiff bring her claims, if at all, in private arbitration without a jury, not in Superior Court.   Jeffrey’s victory will likely discourage other former employees and their attorneys from attempting to avoid their arbitration agreements with our firm’s client.
  • In defending a fine dining restaurant in Los Angeles in a potentially bankrupting multi-million dollar PAGA and sex harassment lawsuit, Jeffrey’s team drove the plaintiff into settling for a tenth of what she and her attorneys demanded.  The restaurant and the jobs of dozens of employees were saved.
  • Kenya’s Ambassador to the United States selected Jeffrey to defend a Kenyan consular official stationed in the Los Angeles Consulate. The consular official had been sued in a federal lawsuit by her former nanny and housekeeper. The lawsuit, in which the nanny was represented by a top tier national law firm and a public interest litigation outfit, alleged claims bordering on human trafficking, namely, claims for forced, unpaid labor, the withholding of the nanny’s passport, a host of violations of federal and California labor law, and fraud. Through a contentious course of litigation, Jeffrey managed the dispute to a successful resolution, which included the consular official paying nothing in settlement.
  • In defending a nationally prominent, affluent entrepreneur from allegations of forcing his family’s nanny into a sexual relationship, Jeffrey and a firm associate moved the dispute swiftly into mediation even before suit was filed and, there, decimated the alleged victim’s credibility through the strategic use of photographs, text messages and emails.  The dispute resolved for a modest sum in a confidential settlement.  

Representative Clients:

  • Megatrax Production Music
  • La Petite Boulangerie
  • Motykie Med Spa
  • LASC - Los Angeles Sporting Club
  • Burbank Therapy Center
  • Friendly House LA Women's Treatment Center
  • JLA Talent
  • le "Relais de l'Entrecote" U.S.A.
  • Christopher Street West Association (nonprofit)
  • Jack Lippman Agency
  • Elizabeth Rose Agency
  • Cecconi's Restaurant, West Hollywood
  • Love Serve Remember, LLC Group (Cafe Gratitude Restaurants and Gracias Madre Restaurant - West Hollywood)
  • Soho House, West Hollywood (private membership club)
  • Los Angeles Youth Network (nonprofit)
  • EG Hospitality (Taste restaurants, Tortilla Republic Grill & Tequileria restaurants, Pizzetta Pizza & Pastaria)
  • Surgery on Sunset
  • The Larchmont, fine dining restaurant
  • Piccone Apparel Corp.
  • Jerry's Famous Deli, Inc.
  • New Zealand Natural Goods
  • Hugo's Restaurants Group (Hugo's restaurants and Hugo's Tacos restaurants)
  • Picture Car Warehouse
  • Gracias Madre restaurant, San Francisco
  • Medquick Prescription Shoppe, Inc.

Educational Background:

  • University of Kansas School of Law; J.D. with honors; Am Jur Award in administrative law 
  • University of Kansas; B.A. Journalism

Industry Groups

  • Healthcare
  • Hospitality
  • Manufacturing
  • Not-for-profits
  • Professional Services
  • Retail
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Office Location for Jeffrey S. Horton Thomas

601 West 5th Street
Suite 300
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Jeffrey S. Horton Thomas:

Last Updated: 8/6/2019

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