Freeman Mathis & Gary



Dispute resolution

In 1997, three lawyers launched the Atlanta-based Freeman Mathis & Gary, a now midsized firm with steady growth and a footprint in states across the country. “That’s a very forward-thinking firm,” asserts one peer. “I envy them. They’re paperless! Every lawyer is laptop-driven; everyone there is up on the tech-nology.” The firm’s core strength has been the employment law field and in this area Benton Mathis is a noted authority. “I got my ass kicked all over the place by Ben Mathis once in an employment case, but I’ll still tip my hat to him,” notes a peer humorously before taking a more serious tone: “He’s very measured and easy to talk to. He knows employment law, which is huge in Atlanta, and he’s got a lot of experience in the D&O arena too.”

Labor and employment

Freeman Mathis & Gary’s Atlanta office houses an active labor and employment practice. The group has been engaged in a number of significant employment disputes. One of the cases that the firm has been handling is Bostock v. Clayton County which has been consolidated with two other cases before Supreme Court. Atlanta-based litigator Jack Hancock has been the lead lawyer handling the case up to the Supreme Court and will continue to represent the defendant during oral argument. The district court had dismissed the lawsuit on the premise that Title VII does not prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling in May 2018 following circuit precedent. The plaintiff filed a petition for certiorari in June 2018. There is a circuit split as the Seventh and Second circuits concluded Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Also residing in the Atlanta office is labor and employment partner David Cole who has recently handled a number of employment matters as well. He is handling a case that is bringing forth an issue of first impression in Georgia regarding the legal status of a charter school. Cole is defending Cirrus Education Group in a dispute alleging claims of whistleblower retaliation, defamation and civil RICO violations. The client is a charter school under the Georgia Charter Schools Act. Cole argued that the client should be regarded as a public employer and on the same footing as a public school. The court agreed and dismissed the lawsuit in its entirety. In another case, Cole defends Gwinnett County and manager Grant Guess in an employment discrimination suit filed by a current employee. The plaintiff alleges she was denied a promotion because of her sex, in violation of Title VII. Cole filed a motion for summary judgment and following oral argument, the Magistrate Judge entered a Report and Recommendation, recommending summary judgment be entered in favor of the defendants on all claims. The plaintiff, however, filed objections to the recommendations and the case is pending a final ruling by the District Court Judge.