Christopher R. O'Hara is a trial lawyer and a partner at Todd & Weld. He joined the firm in 1993 in the first year of the Firm's existence and has over 30 years of civil trial experience. Mr. O'Hara is a member of the firm's employment litigation and complex commercial litigation groups.
Mr. O'Hara represents companies and individuals in a wide range of employment law and business disputes, including bet-the-company cases. In the employment practice area, he advises companies in a variety of employment decisions from hiring to terminations, counseling on investigations, employment guides, wage and hour issues, independent contractor classification issues, company handbooks/guides, policies and agreements, and matters concerning state and federal employment law. Mr. O'Hara has successfully represented employers and employees in numerous industries in defending claims of all types of discrimination, including sexual harassment, age, race, national origin, gender and handicap/disability discrimination, as well as retaliation claims before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Mr. O'Hara has been involved in several qui tam/whistleblower cases. He frequently represents senior executives in the negotiation of their employment agreements and severance agreements in numerous industries. Mr. O'Hara's practice also includes labor law advising, and representing businesses in disciplinary/discharge hearings and AAA arbitrations.
Mr. O'Hara has litigated over 100 noncompetition and non-solicitation decisions in the Business Litigation Session in Massachusetts and in other state and federal courts. He has represented executives and companies in over 100 separation agreements in numerous industries, including, biopharmaceutical/life sciences, financial, information technology, banking, higher education, and insurance. He has been featured in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly articles, and is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education on the development of employment law, including non-compete agreements, and separation/severance agreements.
Mr. O'Hara has tried many complex commercial disputes, including shareholder disputes, business torts, trade secrets, Lanham Act issues, and corporate governance matters in closely held corporations. He has represented lawyers in disputes involving attorneys' fees, and defended lawyers in legal malpractice actions.
He has extensive experience representing businesses and individuals in investigations by state and federal authorities, including the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission, FINRA, the Attorney General, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Labor, and OSHA.
Mr. O'Hara represents various professionals, including physicians before the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine, and other professionals before the Massachusetts Office of Professional Licensure.
Representative cases include:
- Obtained million dollar settlement on behalf of a former senior executive in claims under Mass. Wage Act for commissions and other compensation and for retaliatory termination
- Obtained an $800,000 settlement in a disability/handicap discrimination case brought under G.L. c. 151B
- Along with two former colleagues, obtained a preliminary injunction on behalf of an international financial services firm enjoining a portfolio manager from working for a competitor for a period of time
- W.B. Mason, et al. v. Staples, Inc., et al., 12 Mass. L. Rptr. No. 26, 603 (March 26, 2001) (van Gestel, J.) (successfully enforced Staples' noncompetition agreement in the first noncompetition injunction case tried in the Business Litigation Session)
- Oxford Global Resources, Inc. v. Guerriero, et al., USDC (D. Mass. Dec. 30, 2003)(Woodlock, J.)(obtained non-solicitation injunctions against several former employees)
- Oxford Global Resources, Inc. v. Consolo, Business Litigation Session (Suffolk Superior Court, June 2003)(Botsford, J.)(obtained a non-solicitation injunction prohibiting a former employee from soliciting Oxford's clients)
- Somers v. Converged Access, Inc., 454 Mass. 582 (2009)(Represented the company in a case of first impression on potential defense to misclassification under independent contractor statute, M.G.L. c. 149, §148B, and successfully defended company in claim of age discrimination)
- Demoulas v. Demoulas Super Markets, Inc., et al., 18 Mass. L. Rptr. No. 6, 130 (August 23, 2004) (aff'd 66 Mass. App. Ct. 1118)(Successfully defended a corporate director in a corporate governance matter)
- Obtained defense verdict for lawyer in an international law firm in three-week trial of a professional malpractice action in Middlesex Superior Court and successfully obtained affirmance of the defense verdict on appeal in the Massachusetts Appeals Court
- Successfully represented a 50% shareholder and director of the largest retail camera business in New England
- Successfully represented a minority shareholder in a lawsuit for corporate records and negotiated a favorable seven figure buy-out of the minority shareholder's interests
- Obtained a $1.77 million jury verdict, the 12th largest jury verdict of 2006 in Massachusetts, in Ophnet, Inc. v. Lamensdorf, (Essex Superior Court 2006), a complex commercial dispute involving claims of breach of contract, fraud, tortious interference and breach of fiduciary duty
- Represented several businesses in wage and hour and employee classification audits by the Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Labor
Additional representative matters:
- Represents executives and companies in executive employment and separation agreements
- Represents a well-known international non-profit organization in labor disciplinary grievances and employment litigation
- Represents several publicly-traded staffing companies, which specialize in the placement of highly specialized IT, software/hardware and engineering professionals, in noncompetition, trade secrets and various employment disputes
- Obtained one of the largest defense verdicts of the year in Massachusetts involving a significant dispute over commissions on behalf of a software manufacturer
- Successfully obtained summary judgment in an employment discrimination case
- Represents officers, directors and shareholders in public companies, privately held and start-up companies in commercial and employment litigation