As SKO’s General Counsel, Walter represents the firm in dealing with its insurance carriers and its risk management, including dealing with conflicts and ethical issues affecting the practice of law. Walter still maintains an active private practice dealing with a variety of litigation issues.
Walter began his practice as a labor and employment attorney more than 40 years ago. He has represented employers in over 50 union organizing drives and in countless cases before state and federal agencies regulating employment. Walter has represented employers in jury trials involving sexual harassment claims, and age, race and sex discrimination claims in federal and state courts throughout the nation. Over his career Walter expanded his practice to become an accomplished appellate and jury trial lawyer, with cases regarding commercial litigation, copyright infringement, insurance rehabilitation, public utility regulation, commercial and business tort matters, election cases and cases dealing with the First and Fifth amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Because of the precipitous decline in the penetration of labor unions in the private sector work force, few younger lawyers have an opportunity to do traditional labor work before the National Labor Relations Board. Accordingly, I am the lawyer at SKO with the most experience in resisting union organizing drives.
Most recently, I successfully represented the employer performing the drywall installation on Louisville’s Omni Hotel project in resisting an organizing drive by the Carpenters Union.
Other highlights from my career include the following:
SKO successfully defended a Fortune 500 company that was being sued in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky by a former employee alleging age discrimination. The former employee claimed that the company violated the Kentucky Civil Rights Act when it selected him, and not a younger co-worker, for layoff during a company-wide reduction in force. The plaintiff sought lost wages of more than $100,000, emotional distress damages of $1,300,000, and an award of attorney’s fees. This case was noteworthy because it included so-called “direct evidence” of age discrimination: an audio recording that plaintiff had secretly made of his conversation with his supervisor, wherein the supervisor could be heard telling the plaintiff that he was being laid off because of his age.
After a four day trial in August 2014, a seven member jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the company, finding that the company had not engaged in unlawful discrimination. SKO’s trial team won the case by proving to the jury that the company had a well conceived plan for the reduction in force that was properly implemented, and that the plaintiff’s termination was actually motivated by his job performance, which did not compare favorably with the younger co-worker. The Company also showed that the supervisor’s recorded statements about age were intended to avoid hurting the plaintiff’s feelings by telling him with the true reason for his layoff.