David D. Leishman Counsel

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Dave defends employers against discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims and helps them navigate and resolve employee mobility and restrictive covenant issues. He represents clients across industries — including healthcare, transportation, education, retail and banking — and gets to know each client’s business model.

Dave litigates claims under the ADA, FMLA, ADEA, Title VII, FLSA, False Claims Act, First Amendment, due process and equal protection clauses, and other federal and state anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation laws in state and federal courts and before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and state agencies. He counsels clients on difficult wage and hour and overtime exemption issues and litigates individual and class and collective actions.

Dave also has extensive experience representing local and national clients in traditional labor law matters. He has arbitrated many union grievances and litigated unfair labor practice claims before the National Labor Relations Board. He advises clients on union avoidance strategies and how to oppose organizing campaigns in the manufacturing and food and beverage spaces.

Dave clerked for Justice G. Barry Anderson of the Minnesota Supreme Court from 2006 to 2007. Dave also is a guest faculty member at Wheaton (IL) College, where he teaches business law.


  • On behalf of transportation industry client, obtained summary judgment and dismissal of case in which plaintiff asserted claims of race discrimination, gender discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, retaliation, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
  • Defended food and beverage industry client and newly-hired employee against claims that employee unlawfully solicited prior employer’s customers in violation of non-competition agreement and stole prior employer’s trade secrets.  Case settled on confidential terms.
  • Defended transportation industry client against competitor’s claim that client engaged in a nationwide scheme to unlawfully solicit competitor’s employees and induce them to breach alleged contractual obligations to competitor.  Case settled on confidential terms.
  • Obtained injunction on behalf of financial industry client against former employee who accepted employment with a competitor and solicited client’s customers on behalf of competitor.
  • Representation of unionized manufacturer in negotiation of new incentive plan.
  • Representation in trade secrets and unfair competition case involving forensic evidence of several employees’ theft of customer information followed by their simultaneous resignation to form a competing business. Case settled on confidential terms.
  • Representation in trade secrets and unfair competition case involving an employee who solicited clients on behalf of a competitor before resigning to work for that competitor. Case settled on confidential terms.
  • Representation of corporation and individual manager accused by a former financial adviser of gender discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination. Case settled on confidential terms.
  • Representation of corporation accused of disability discrimination by a former forklift operator. The Court ordered that Plaintiff was barred from any recovery by his failure to disclose his claim as an asset in his pending bankruptcy proceeding. Chestnut v. United Natural Foods, Inc., No. 1:12-cv-0467 (S.D. Ind. Nov. 1, 2012).
  • Representation in $400 million coverage claim case. Obtained dismissal. UnitedHealth Group Inc. v. Hiscox Dedicated Corp. Member Ltd., No. 09-CV-0210 PJS/SRN, 2010 WL 550991 (D. Minn. Feb. 9, 2010).
  • Representation related to $500,000 life insurance benefits claim case. Obtained summary judgment in client’s favor. Appeldorn v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., No. 1:09-cv-069 (D.N.D. Sept. 2, 2010)
  • Representation in life insurance benefits case. On appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, obtained reversal of district court judgment in favor of plaintiffs in claim for life insurance benefits. Matschiner v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., No. 09-3576 (8th Cir. Oct. 7, 2010). The Eighth Circuit held that the defendant insurer complied with ERISA’s “plan documents rule,” as explained in the Supreme Court’s decision in Kennedy v. Plan Administrator for DuPont Savings & Investment Plan, 129 S. Ct. 865 (2009).
  • Representation in racial bias and discrimination case. Obtained summary judgment on plaintiff’s claims. Julie Delgado-O’Neil v. City of Minneapolis, No. 08-4924 (D. Minn. Aug. 13, 2010)