Benton J. Mathis, Jr.

Benton J. Mathis, Jr.

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Employment & Labor Attorney in Atlanta, GA

Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP
 | 100 Galleria Parkway SE, Suite 1600
Atlanta, GA 30339
Phone: 770.818.1402
Fax: 770.937.9960
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2006 - 2007, 2014 - 2021
Licensed Since: 1984
Practice Areas:
  • Employment & Labor: Employer (40%),
  • State, Local & Municipal (30%),
  • Business Litigation (30%)
    Attorney Profile

    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.

    Mr. Mathis has tried cases throughout the country for three decades including jury trials, bench trials, and arbitrations, as well as handling injunctions, representation and ULP matters. His appellate practice includes cases before many of the federal appellate courts (2nd, 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th circuits), as well as the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Georgia Supreme Court.

    He has defended employers in virtually every type of employment law case including hundreds of individual, collective and class action state and federal lawsuits. His Directors and Officers practice includes suits under the False Claims Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Telephone Consumer Protection Act, RICO, Fair Business Practice Act, ERISA and non-ERISA fiduciary actions, shareholder derivative suits, breach of fiduciary duty claims, restrictive covenant, trade secret and confidential business information suits and many other business law and partnership disputes.

    Mr. Mathis has a distinguished record of leadership in law and business groups, both nationally and in Georgia. He has served the Bar as President of the Federal Bar Association, Atlanta Chapter; Chairman of the Employment Section of DRI, the nation's largest defense bar association; President of the Professional Liability Attorney Network (PLAN), a group of the country's preeminent professional liability law firms; and Vice-Chair of the Civil Rights Section of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC), a select, invitation-only group of the nation's leading defense attorneys.

    His civic service includes Chairman of the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce and member of the Board of Directors for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. He has served as Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Georgia Tech Alumni Association, a Trustee of the Georgia Tech Foundation, and a member of the Board of Advisors for Georgia Tech's Scheller College of Business. He also was a member of the Executive Cabinet of the United Way of Cobb, and he is a long-time member of the Atlanta Lawyers Club.

    Mr. Mathis is a recipient of the Outstanding Volunteer Award by the Georgia Tech Alumni Association, the Dedicated Service Award by DRI, Outstanding Board Member by the Cobb Chamber, and the "Good Guy" award by the Georgia Chamber.

    Mr. Mathis received his undergraduate degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology (B.S. in Management, with honor) and his law degree from the Washington & Lee School of Law (J.D., cum laude), where he was a member of the Law Review.

    About Benton Mathis, Jr.

    Admitted: 1984, Georgia

    Professional Webpage: http://www.fmglaw.com/attorney_bio.php

    Honors/Awards:

    • 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

    Bar/Professional Activity:

    • Mr. Mathis was nominated by the Speaker of the House Of Representatives and was selected as a defense representative to the EEOC's first Rulemaking Advisory Committee in Washington, D.C.Mr. Mathis also has served as Chair of the Employment Law Committee of the Defense Research Institute. Mr. Mathis also serves on the Executive Committee of the Atlanta Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and has served as Vice-chair of the Civil Rights Committee of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel.

    Pro bono/Community Service:

    • Mr. Mathis has served in a variety of leadership positions in business and civic groups. Among his activities, he has served two terms as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association, and also as a member of the Executive Committee. He received the Outstanding Alumnus Volunteer Award. Mr. Mathis also serves on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the Board of Directors for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce. He served on the search committee for the Chamber's CEO and is a member of the Chairman's Club.

    Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

    • 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
    • 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

    Verdicts/Settlements:

    • 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; 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; 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. 

    Representative Clients:

    • AGCO Corp.; ApolloMD; Atlanta Opera, Inc.; C.W. Matthews Contracting Company; Cobb County, GA; Cobb Marietta Water Authority; Douglas County, GA; Extended Stay Hotels, Inc.; Fidelity National Financial, Inc.; General Paper Goods, Inc.; Mainfreight, Inc; OCI Chemical Corporation; Payments MD; Reinhardt University; Roman Medical Group; Sapheon, Inc.; Servidyne, Inc.; TBI Airport Management, Inc.; U.S. Lumber, Inc.; USAgain, Inc.; Tensar Corp.; Traton Homes; Walton Communities, LLC; Worthing Companies;

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    Office Location for Benton J. Mathis, Jr.

    100 Galleria Parkway SE
    Suite 1600
    Atlanta, GA 30339

    Benton J. Mathis, Jr.:

    Last Updated: 11/6/2020

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