With more than three decades of experience as a trial lawyer, Christopher R. O'Hara counsels clients with equal skill and expertise in the courtroom and at the negotiating table. A Founding Partner of the firm, Mr. O’Hara is a member of the firm’s employment litigation and complex commercial litigation group.
In the employment law context, he advises companies on a wide range of matters, including hiring and termination decisions; noncompetition, non-solicitation, confidentiality, and non-disclosure agreements; protection of trade secrets; counseling on investigations; wage and hour issues, including Massachusetts Wage Act cases; independent contractor classification issues; counseling on investigations; and state and federal employment law issues.
Executives and companies frequently turn to Mr. O'Hara for advice on restrictive covenants, noncompetition, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure/confidentiality covenants in employment agreements and letters of intent. He has litigated over 100 noncompetition and non-solicitation cases in the Massachusetts Superior Court Business Litigation Session and in other state and federal courts.
Mr. O'Hara, who joined Todd & Weld in 1993 in the firm’s first year of existence, has successfully represented employers and employees in several industries. He has represented individuals and defended companies in all types of discrimination claims, including sexual harassment, age, race, national origin, gender, and handicap/disability discrimination, as well as retaliation claims before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Mr. O'Hara’s employment law expertise includes being involved in several qui tam/whistleblower cases, as well as providing labor law advice and representing businesses in disciplinary/discharge hearings and AAA arbitrations. He frequently negotiates executive employment agreements, as well as separation and severance agreements for C-suite and other senior executives in various industries, including biotechnology, biopharmaceutical/life sciences, finance, information technology, banking, and insurance.
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and other media have featured Mr. O’Hara’s successful results, and he is a frequent speaker on employment law topics, including non-competition agreements, and separation/severance agreements.
In the business litigation context, Mr. O'Hara has tried many complex commercial matters, including bet-the-company cases; closely held family business disputes; breach of fiduciary duty and officer, director, and shareholder disputes; business torts; trade secrets; Lanham Act issues; and corporate governance matters in publicly held and privately owned corporations. He represents businesses and individuals in investigations by state and federal authorities, including the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission, FINRA, Massachusetts Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA, and Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.
Mr. O'Hara represents various health care professionals, including physicians before the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine, and other health care professionals before the Massachusetts Office of Professional Licensure. He has also represented lawyers in disputes involving attorneys' fees and defended lawyers in legal malpractice actions.
Persuaded the Massachusetts Appeals Court to uphold the confidentiality of mediation communications and to reject adoption of a fraud exception to the confidentiality provisions in the Massachusetts mediation statute (G.L. c. 233, § 23C)
Obtained million-dollar settlement on behalf of a former senior executive in claims under Massachusetts Wage Act for commissions and other compensation and for retaliatory termination
Obtained an $800,000 settlement in a disability/handicap discrimination case brought under M.G.L. c. 151B in Norfolk Superior Court.
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 Massachusetts 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)
Somers v. Converged Access, Inc., 454 Mass. 582 (2009) (Represented 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 (Aug. 23, 2004) (aff'd 66 Mass. App. Ct. 1118) (Successfully defended a corporate director in a corporate governance matter)
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 in Ophnet, Inc. v. Lamensdorf, in Essex County, Mass., involving 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 and civil investigative demands 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 in noncompetition, non-solicitation and confidentiality, trade secrets, and other employment disputes several publicly traded staffing companies, which specialize in the placement of highly specialized IT, software/hardware, and engineering professionals, as well as locum tenens healthcare staffing firms
Obtained one of the largest defense verdicts of the year in Massachusetts involving a significant dispute over commissions on behalf of a software manufacturer
Represents relators in Qui Tam and whistleblower actions under the False Claims Act in federal courts
Featured Speaker, Interplay of Employment Discrimination Laws and Employment Background Screening, New England Chapter of TechServe Alliance June 2013
Panelist, Employment Background Screening, National Contract Management Association February 2013
Featured Speaker, Massachusetts Wage Act and the Law of Trade Secrets, Noncompetition, Non-Solicitation and Non-Disclosure Covenants presented at the National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses, New England Chapter September 2008
Panelist, Obtaining or Defending Summary Judgment in Employment Cases MCLE 2008
Panelist, Fiduciary Duty and Shareholder Derivative Claims in the Business Litigation Session MBA CLE 2005
Panelist, Effective Advocacy: Severance and Noncompete Agreements MCLE 2004