David C. Henderson is a partner in Nutter’s Litigation Department, a member (and former co-chair) of the firm’s Labor, Employment and Benefits practice group, and a member of the Business Litigation practice group. Clients rely on David’s over 35 years of legal experience in both the public and private sectors. His practice is concentrated in civil litigation and corporate general counsel advice, with a particular focus on employment and labor law and general business and commercial matters. Major corporations, smaller employers, and individual managers frequently engage David in civil matters in federal and state courts and administrative agencies.
Drawing on his experiences in the United States Air Force, David serves as the supervising attorney for a pro bono program he helped organize within Nutter to represent veterans making disability benefit appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
Notable Experience and Client Impact
- Litigating in federal and state courts, or in federal or state administrative agencies, issues relating to hiring; discharge; employee discipline; unlawful discrimination or harassment because of age, national origin, sex, disability, or other factors; unlawful retaliation; invasion of privacy; failure to provide reasonable accommodation; unfair trade practices; fraud; breach of contract; promissory estoppel, tortious interference with contractual or advantageous relations; intentional infliction of emotional distress; defamation; reduction in force; employment classification; wage and hour compliance; employee discipline or termination; and other employment matters.
- Litigating in federal and state courts issues relating to employee restrictive covenants (e.g., non-competition agreements, non-solicitation agreements, or confidentiality or nondisclosure agreements); severance or separation agreements; and commercial contracts.
- Advising employers, executives, human resources professionals, and managers on structuring, handling, and documenting employment relationships in order to avoid litigation or claims.
- Preparing legal and personnel documents pertinent to employment relationships in the modern workplace, including but not limited to employee manuals, noncompetition agreements, other restrictive covenants, and severance agreements.
- Advising employers and managers on internal investigations, particularly as they relate to claims of sexual harassment or other forms of unlawful harassment, retaliation, or treatment.
- Advising employers and managers on workplace disability and handicap laws, assisting with the interactive process required to evaluate employee reasonable accommodation requests, and helping determine whether reasonable accommodation can be provided without undue hardship.
- Representing employers and managers in arbitration hearings when grievances are filed by unions under collective bargaining agreements.
- Representing employers and managers during Department of Labor investigations into military or veteran mistreatment complaints based on the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
- Litigating Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) claims brought against employers or their disability plans due to denial or termination of benefits.
- Successful defense of two corporations and four senior managers against 30 claims brought by a disgruntled former executive. After a series of dispositive motions and a final hearing on the last of the remaining claims, the Superior Court dismissed this litigation in its entirety. The dismissed claims included breach of contract, promissory estoppel, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, interference with a contractual/advantageous business relationship, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The breach of contract claim by itself was for damages alleged to be in excess of $700,000 counting interest.
- Successful defense of a corporate employer against a former employee’s claim of unlawful retaliation for complaining of disability discrimination. After initially obtaining a favorable ruling for the employer in the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, David persuaded the Superior Court to award summary judgment to the employer, dismiss the civil litigation in its entirety, and then dismiss the plaintiff’s appeal.
- Successful defense of a major family of companies, its long term disability plan, and the plan’s third party administrator against ERISA claims made by a former employee. After successfully obtaining summary judgment for his clients in the federal district court, David successfully briefed and argued to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit that the plaintiff’s appeal should be denied and dismissed.
- Successfully defended an employer’s termination of a temporary worker who had failed to perform quality inspections and falsified production documents. Although the temporary worker argued that her discharge was based on unlawful discrimination, the EEOC dismissed the employee's complaint after David submitted a detailed position statement and various supporting documents in behalf of the employer.
- By coordinating company witnesses, submitting a detailed written position statement, and following up with a series of witness affidavits and company policy excerpts, David persuaded the Department of Labor to close its investigation into a complaint against a Florida employer. The individual's claim was that the employer violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA) by terminating his employment because of his obligation to the United States Air Force Reserve. David was able to persuade DOL that the complaint lacked merit by proving that the employee instead was discharged due to unprofessional behavior, and that after being discharged, the employee submitted inconsistent information to a different government agency.
David continues his leadership outside the firm through his involvement in numerous professional organizations, including:
- Massachusetts Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Committee, member (an appointment by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court).
- Massachusetts Bar Foundation (MBF), trustee, Life Fellow, evaluator of charitable organization IOLTA grant applications, and chair of Grant Advisory Committee.
- New England Center and Home for Veterans, board member.
- Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, director and Executive Committee member.
- Career Collaborative, member of Advisory Board.
- Boston Bar Association (BBA) and its Labor & Employment Section, member. David previously served on the Steering Committee of the Labor & Employment Section, co-chaired the sub-committee that published and revised "A Practical Guide to Understanding Massachusetts Employment Law," and presented and served for four years as a panelist in the BBA’s Employment Law Basics course.
- United States Air Force Academy, former Admissions Liaison Officer for young men and women interested in attending the institution.
Prior to Nutter, David served on active duty in the United States Air Force as a pilot, instructor pilot, judge advocate, and staff judge advocate. In the latter two capacities, he served in a general counsel capacity for organizations with thousands of civilian and military employees, and represented the United States in court martial prosecutions, Merit System Protection Board hearings, public sector labor arbitrations, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission hearings, and military discharge boards.