Over the last half century, Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young LLP has grown to include more than 160 lawyers in 10 offices located in Atlanta, Austin, Charleston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Napa, New York, St. Louis, and San Francisco. The team represents many of America’s largest corporations, small local businesses, and individuals in complex litigation and transactions. As national leaders in their fields of expertise, their ESOP, Employee Benefits, M&A, Tax & ERISA group brings extraordinary depth in perspective when advising clients in connection with retirement plans, equity incentives, executive compensation, shareholder issues, fiduciaries, mergers and acquisitions, and employment and benefits litigation throughout the country.
Block & Leviton believes investors, pensioners, consumers and employees deserve an advocate who will take a stand to protect their rights. We value our role not only in recovering our clients’ immediate losses, but in protecting their long-term interests by helping to shape corporate policy. We genuinely enjoy our work, which each day offers an opportunity to tackle novel problems and unique challenges in a continuously evolving economy. We concur with Aristotle’s observation that pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work. We believe this is reflected in our track record, which includes our ability to take a case to trial and win, as well as our appointment as lead or co lead counsel in many dozens of high profile matters, including: In re BP Securities Litig., Case No. 4:10-MD-02185 (S.D. Tex.) (settled for $175 million), In re Google Class C Shareholder Litig., Case No. 7469-CS (Del. Ch.) (settled for $522 million) and In re: Drywall Antirust Litigation, Case No. 13 md-02437 (E.D. Pa.) (to date, settlements with 2 of 6 defendants totaling more than $10 million), and In re: Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litig., Case No. 3:15-md-02672 (N.D. Cal.) (settled for approximately $15 billion). Our attorneys have successfully recovered billions for our clients and class members and have done so even under adverse conditions, including successfully litigating against bankrupt and foreign-based corporations.
David R. Johanson is Partner-in-Charge of the Napa office of Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young LLP. He also has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Dallas to cover his national client base with a team of more than 20 partners, associates, and paralegals. David and his team assist in general corporate matters and in employee ownership, benefit, ERISA, and related business matters, with an emphasis on executive compensation, equity incentive plans, non-qualified deferred compensation, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), ESOP transactions, mergers and acquisitions (and related tax planning), and business succession and estate planning. David and his team have defended ERISA fiduciaries, plan sponsors, selling shareholders, and investment advisers in ERISA litigation matters involving ESOPs and business transactions in federal and state courts throughout the country in a wide range of controversies covering ERISA fiduciary responsibilities, ESOP valuation disputes, disclosure obligations, investment issues, non-competition disputes, and tax matters. David has extensive experience in negotiating ESOP, ERISA, and other issues with government regulatory agencies and in representing ERISA fiduciaries and members of Boards of Directors and officers in state and federal litigation throughout the country.
R. Joseph Barton is a Partner at Block & Leviton LLP and leads the firm’s Employee Benefits practice and Veterans/USERRA practice. He represents employees in a variety of employee benefit disputes, fiduciary breaches or other ERISA or USERRA violations and also represents fiduciaries of plans with claims against other fiduciaries. He has been trial counsel for plaintiffs in several ERISA trials, including two cases involving ESOPs holding privately-held stock. In a case recently affirmed by the Seventh Circuit, he represented a class of participants and obtained a favorable liability decision and remedies award of over $20 million after trial concerning a complex transaction involving the purchase of stock by the Trachte Building Systems ESOP. Mr. Barton has also represented participants in litigation involving the following other ESOPs holding privately-held stock: Azon, Jeld-Wen, Tharaldson Motels, Ulteig, and Wawa. He has also represented participants in cases involving the purchase or acquisition of publicly held stock by ERISA-covered plans. In addition to ESOP cases, Mr. Barton has litigated a wide variety of ERISA class actions, including cases involving breach of fiduciary breaches, one of the earliest cases alleging the improper investment of plan assets in proprietary mutual funds (a plan fee case), pension benefit claims, severance benefits, COBRA violations, ERISA discrimination claims and veterans offsets in disability plans.