Brendan J. Donelon
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Phone: 816-221-7100 | 1-844-I-WANT-OT
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I grew up in Jefferson City, Missouri and attended college at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. After graduating with a B.S. degree in economics, I attended the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law. After my May 1995 graduation, I remained in Kansas City to practice. I am licensed to practice in both Missouri and Kansas state courts as well as numerous federal courts throughout the country.
My practice differs from the majority of other law firms for several reasons. First, I limit the number of cases taken by my office. This allows me an opportunity to devote a high level of attention to my clients’ cases. Second, I take a holistic approach to my clients’ files. This is often referred to as seeing the “big picture” of a client’s case. It involves understanding the client’s needs and desires and how these relate to the realities of litigation. This approach is extremely important in providing the best advice and guidance . Finally, I prepare and work on all cases as though they are going to trial. Instead of taking a case in hopes of a quick settlement, I take a case with the expectation of going to trial. If settlement does occur, it is the bi-product of preparing the case for trial and not preparing it for settlement.
Mr. Donelon is licensed in the bars of the states of Missouri (admitted 9/29/95) and Kansas (admitted 4/26/96). He is also a member in good standing of the bars of the following federal courts: the Western District of Missouri (admitted 10/6/95); the Eastern District of Missouri (admitted 9/13/07); the District of Kansas (admitted 4/29/96); the Southern District of Illinois (admitted 7/14/98); the Northern District of Illinois (admitted 9/3/09); the Northern District of Florida (admitted 8/5/08); the Eastern District of Michigan (admitted 9/3/09), District of Colorado (admitted 02/25/14), Southern District of Indiana (admitted 10/2/2014), the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas (admitted 3/21/14), the Eastern District of Texas (admitted 7/28/2015); the Northern District of Texas (admitted 7/28/2015), the Western District of Oklahoma (admitted 8/18/15), the Central District of Illinois (01/20/17), the Northern District of Ohio (admitted 06/23/21), the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (admitted 10/9/03); and the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (admitted 2/23/07); the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (admitted 12/23/10); the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (admitted 6/12/12); the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (admitted 7/13/12); and the United States Supreme Court (admitted 6/25/12).
Areas of Practice
- Wage and Hour Claims
- Class Action Litigation
- Data Breach Claims
- Extensive Trial Experience
Mr. Donelon started his own law practice at the young age of 29. He has tried numerous successful jury verdicts in both state and federal courts. Mr. Donelon also has extensive practice before state and federal appellate courts including briefing matters before the U.S. Supreme Court. He is considered by his peers to be a preeminent practitioner in the litigation of complex wage and hour matters, and is an active member of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA). Mr. Donelon has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” for labor and employment law in Missouri and Kansas – a research-driven, peer influenced, rating service of outstanding attorneys, from more than 70 practice areas, who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations, assuring a credible and annual list of the top 5% of attorneys. He has been recognized by the Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly as one of the Power 30 in Employment Law for 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Mr. Donelon has litigated a large number of class action matters. This includes being designated as lead class counsel in all such cases. Some noted cases would include the following:
- Drake, et al. v. Steak N Shake Corp.: United States District Court for Eastern District of Missouri. Mr. Donelon was lead counsel and representing several hundred Managers misclassified and denied overtime pay who worked at defendant’s fast food restaurants. After two week jury trial, a verdict was returned in favor of the class. The court entered a final judgment in the amount of $7.6 million dollars. This case along with a sister case filed in Illinois were ultimately settled for $8.5 million.
- Hunsley, et al. v. The Board of Curators for the University of Missouri. Filed in Boone County Missouri Circuit Court. Mr. Donelon represented a class of over 3,000 health care providers who were denied overtime pay due the defendant automatically deducting one hour’s pay from each shift for each employee for an alleged meal break. The class members were never able to take these breaks uninterrupted, and therefore, brought a claim for breach of contract for lost overtime pay. The matter settled for $3.6 million.
- In re: Bank of America Wage and Hour Employment Practices Litigation: United States District Court for the District of Kansas, case no.: 10-MD-2138. Initiated in 2009, Mr. Donelon was appointed as lead counsel over a multi-district litigation that consolidated 27 class action claims against Bank of America regarding failure to pay a class of over 180,000 employees proper overtime at their retail banking and call center locations. Court approved $73 million settlement on December 18, 2014.
- Citizens Financial Group, Inc., et al. Litigation. Six class/collective actions filed in federal courts in the N.D. Illinois, W.D. Pennsylvania, E.D. Pennsylvania, District of Massachusetts, E.D. New York, and Court of Common Pleas for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. All six cases related to Citizens allegedly misclassifying assistant branch managers and not paying overtime. Also, some cases involved Citizens not paying its hourly employees overtime pay for work performed off-the-clock. Three conditional certifications were granted under the FLSA, and three Rule 23 class certifications were granted as well. Litigation involved appeals brought before the Seventh, Second, First, and Third Circuit court of appeals as well as the U.S. Supreme Court in one matter. One case was tried to jury over a three week period. While the plaintiffs lost the trial, the claims in that matter, along with the other pending five cases, were resolved together for $11.5 million. Appointed lead counsel in all matters.
- McFadden, et al. v. Corrections Corporation of America. United States District Court for the District of Kansas, case no.: 09-2273-EFM. Filed: May 21, 2009. Class action claim on behalf of all assistant shift supervisors for misclassification under the FLSA. Case covered thousands of employees at over 60 facilities in over 30 states. Confidential settlement reached.
- Busler, et al. v. Enersys Energy Products, Inc. et al. United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, case no.: 09-CV-0159. Collective class action claim under the FLSA on behalf of all plant employees at four locations for failure to properly pay for donning and doffing. Granted lead class counsel status. $3.25 million settlement approved on 4-7-2010.
- Mayes, et al. v. The Geo Group, Inc. United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, case no.: 08-CV-0248. Class action claim under the FLSA on behalf of in excess of 11,000 security guards at private prison for off the clock work and time clock rounding. Granted lead class counsel status.
- Thomas Payson, et al. v. Capital One Home Loans. United States District Court, District of Kansas, case no.: 07-2282. Class action claim under FLSA, and related Rule 23 class claims under Kansas law, on behalf of loan originators nationwide for failing to properly pay overtime on commission income. Filed on: June 29, 2007. Settlement reached for $9.5 million.
- Barnwell, et al. v. Corrections Corporation of America. United States District Court for the District of Kansas, case no.: 08-CV-2151. Class action claim under the FLSA on behalf of in excess of 16,000 security guards at private prison for off the clock work and time clock rounding. Granted lead class counsel status. $7 million Settlement approved.
- University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, Kansas City, Missouri
- Juris Doctorate – May, 1995
- Honors: Dean’s List, 1992, 1994, 1995
- Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri
- Honors: Dean’s List
- Honors: G.P.A. = 3.49/4.0; Major 4.0/4.0
- Speak on numerous occasions at conferences for newly diagnosed persons regarding their employment rights under the FMLA and the ADA., National Multiple Scleroses Society
- Continuing Legal Education entitled Equal Employment Opportunity Basic Law and Procedures. Topic: Starting up a plaintiff’s practice., American Bar Association
- Continuing Legal Education entitled Basics of Missouri Workers Compensation Law. Topic: Retaliation for Exercising Workers Compensation Rights, Sterling Educational Services
- Spring 2006 Meeting: Topic: Member of panel discussing recent jury trial experiences in Missouri State courts under the Missouri Human Rights Act., Missouri Bar Association
- Processing charges of discrimination before government agencies, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
- Continuing Legal Education on Employment Law. Spoke on effective techniques in obtaining punitive damages in employment cases and pursuing collective action claims under the FLSA., University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law
- Continuing Legal Education on Mendelsohn & the Supremes. Narrated program on recent U.S. Supreme Court case and argument regarding Mendelsohn v. Spring employment case., Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
- Continuing Legal Education, speaker on topic of Plaintiff’s Perspective: How to hit the Pot of Gold Building Case Value, Effective Discovery, State Court Summary Judgment, and Jury Trials., Missouri Bar Association
- Continuing Legal Education at Annual Labor & Employment Law Seminar. Topic: Legal Pitfalls and Opportunities: Class and Collective Actions, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
- 2009 Annual Labor & Employment Law Symposium. Topic: Anatomy of a FLSA Enforcement Action, Plaintiff’s perspective, Missouri Bar Association
- Bench, Bar & Boardroom conference. Topic: Emerging trends in Employment Law for Corporate Counsel, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
- Trying a collective class action case and hurdles in forced arbitration, Golden, Colorado, Plaintiffs Employment Lawyers Association, 2016 – Present