Michael L. Russell is an employee rights lawyer and a mediator. He represents victims of employment discrimination, workplace harassment, and wage and hour violations. He also also teaches at the Belmont University College of Law. To learn more about Mr. Russell’s mediation practice click here.
Mr. Russell graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from the University of Tennessee. He received his law degree from the University of Memphis, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and attended on a Humphreys Law Fellowship. He is the President of the Nashville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and the immediate past chair of the Tennessee Bar Association Labor and Employment Section.
Mr. Russell is listed in Best Lawyers in America and Mid-South Super Lawyers. He is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell, receiving a peer review rating of 5.0 out of 5.0. He has litigated cases in Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, North Carolina, Illinois, Georgia, Texas, Arkansas, and New York.
A noted writer and lecturer, Mr. Russell has taught at Belmont University, Lambuth University, and the University of Tennessee, Martin. He has published articles in the American Journal of Trial Advocacy, the University of Memphis Law Review, the Ohio Northern University Law Review, the Seton Hall Constitutional Law Journal, and Employee Rights Quarterly. His articles have been cited by courts, scholars, and in testimony before the United States Congress.
Mr. Russell has served on the boards of numerous civic and non-profit organizations, including the University of Tennessee Alumni Association, the UT Alumni Legislative Council, the National Conference of Law Reviews, the TBA Leadership Law Alumni Association, the executive council of the TBA Section on Labor and Employment Law and the TBA Leadership Law Steering Committee. He is a former member of the Belmont University American Inn of Court and was a co-founder of the Howell Edmunds Jackson American Inn of Court.
Mr. Russell is a seventh generation Tennessean. Over 190 years ago, his family was among the early settlers of what is now Hardin County. In his spare time, Mr. Russell enjoys tennis, travel, and reading a good biography. He and his wife, Heather, live in a suburb of Nashville with their two children. They are members of Brentwood Baptist Church, where Mr. Russell serves as a deacon.
University of Tennessee (B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude, 1996)
University of Memphis (J.D., Magna Cum Laude, 1999)
“Back to the Basics: Resisting Novel and Extreme Approaches to the Law of Personal Jurisdiction and the Internet,” Note, 30 University of Memphis Law Review 157 (1999).
“Beyond Geier: Federalism Faces an Uncertain Future,” 11 Seton Hall Constitutional Law Journal 69 (2000).
“The ADA and the Eleventh Amendment: Do States Have a License to Discriminate?” 28 Ohio Northern University Law Review 133 (2001).
“Previous Acts of Employment Discrimination: Probative or Prejudicial?” 25 American Journal of Trial Advocacy 297 (2001)
“Sexual Harassment and Prompt Corrective Measures: The Victim’s Right to Know,” Employee Rights Quarterly (Summer 2002).
“A Lesson in Liquidated Damages from Famous Dave’s,” TBA Labor & Employment Section Newsletter (January 2009).
United States District Court, Western District of Tennessee
United States District Court, Middle District of Tennessee
United States District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee
United States District Court, Western District of Arkansas
United States District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
United States Supreme Court
“Michael was top notch in every way. . . When it came time to mediate, he was thorough, smart, fair, and just a really nice person. An ugly situation turned out to be pretty good because of Michael!” – Fair Labor Standards Act Client
“You represented me beautifully. Your patience, kindness, guidance and skill during this very difficult process helped me keep my sanity and gave me hope.” – Sexual Harassment Client
“Michael was supremely professional and put me at ease during the mediation. He was clearly prepared, and answered every question put to him by the opposing counsel with calmness and authority. The result exceeded my expectations.” – Fair Labor Standards Act Client.
“Very happy! Michael explained things well, always met with me when necessary and was very professional. Highly recommended.” -Wrongful Termination Client
“Thank you a thousand times again. We were sure we had a good case, but so happy that you and your team took it on. You have been amazing and professional throughout this process and have made us feel taken care of and important. We hope that you continue to fight for those who need help and treat them as well as you have treated us.” – Fair Labor Standards Act Client
Selected Speaking Engagements
Guest Panelist, Alternative Dispute Resolution/Mediation Forum, University of Memphis School of Law (November 2000).
“Federal Courts: Balancing Liberty and Safety,” United States District Courthouse, Jackson, Tennessee (November 2004).
“Religious Rights in the Workplace,” (Series of lectures) Union University, Jackson, Tennessee (January to February 2006).
“Introduction to Retaliatory Discharge,” 2007 Equal Justice Conference, Manchester Conference Center, Manchester, Tennessee (September 2007)
“Employment Law for the Non-Employment Lawyer,” 2010 Tipton County Bar Association CLE, Covington, Tennessee (October 2010).
“Wage and Hour Litigation: Point and Counter Point,” with Robert E. Boston, 16th Annual Labor & Employment Forum, Tennessee Bar Center, Nashville, Tennessee (April 2012)
“Ten Commandments for Young Trial Lawyers,” Presentation to FedEx Legal Department, Memphis, Tennessee (May 2012).
“Recent Developments in FLSA Litigation,” Wage and Hour Conference, Hilton Hotel, Memphis, Tennessee (June 2012).
“Wage and Hour Litigation: Point and Counter Point,” with Robert E. Boston, Federal Bar Association Annual Seminar, United States Courthouse, Jackson, Tennessee (August 2012)
“Subpoenas in Employment Litigation,” with James Mulroy and Hon. Diane Vescovo, Federal Bar Associate Federal Practice Seminar, University of Memphis Law School, Memphis, Tennessee (October 2012)
“Trends in Social Media Discovery in Employment Litigation,” Nashville Bar Association Employment Litigation Institute, Nashville, Tennessee (October 2012)
“Recent Developments in Wage and Hour Law,” with Robert E. Boston, 17th Annual Labor & Employment Forum, Tennessee Bar Center, Nashville, Tennessee (April 2013)
“Wage and Hour Litigation: Point and Counter Point,” with Robert E. Boston, 18th Annual Labor & Employment Forum, Tennessee Bar Center, Nashville, Tennessee (April 2014)
“Ten Commandments for Trying an Employment Case,” Nashville Bar Association Employment Litigation Institute, Nashville, Tennessee (October 2014)
“Hot Topics in Wage and Hour Law,” with Robert E. Boston, 19th Annual Labor and Employment Forum, Tennessee Bar Center, Nashville, Tennessee (April 2015)
“Viewing the Wage and Hour Claim from the Other End of the Telescope,” panelist, D.R.I. Employment and Labor Conference, Omni Montelucia Resort, Scottsdale, Arizona (May 2015)
“Employment Law Update,” 73rd Judicial Conference of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Marriott Hotel, Detroit, Michigan (May 2015)
“Hot Topics in Wage and Hour Law,” with Robert E. Boston, 20th Annual Labor and Employment Forum, Tennessee Bar Center, Nashville, Tennessee (May 2016)
“An Update on Labor and Employment Law,” with J. K. Sims, Nashville Bar Association, Franklin, Tennessee (June 2016)
“Golden Rules for Initial Pleadings in Federal Court,” Tennessee Bar Association Federal Practice Section Annual Meeting, Tennessee Bar Center, Nashville, Tennessee (July 2016)
“ADEA Collective Actions are Heating Up,” ABA Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee Meeting, Grand Hyatt Hotel, Playa del Carmen, Mexico (February 2017)
James Nance v. Crockett County (W.D. Tenn. 2016)(federal jury awarded former county official 1,263 hours of unpaid overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act).
Martinez v. City of Memphis (W.D.Tenn. 2014)(obtained a jury verdict in favor of an employee, who was awarded over 900 hours of unpaid overtime, in a three day trial under the Fair Labor Standards Act).
Hand v. ADME, Inc. et al (Davidson County Circuit Court 2013)(obtained a verdict in favor of a healthcare company following a three day jury trial under the Tennessee Human Rights Act).
Barnes v. Tennessee Personal Assistants, (W.D.Tenn. 2012)($89,311.53 trial verdict in a single plaintiff FLSA misclassification case)
Tammy Madden v. Bull Market (Chester Co. Circuit 2011)(obtained a jury verdict of $145,000.00 plus attorneys fees in a sexual harassment and retaliation case).
Boyd v. Dish Network (American Arbitration Association 2011)($500,000.00 class wide settlement where employer had incorrectly implemented the fluctuating workweek).
[Confidential Settlement] (W.D.Tenn. 2009)($800,000.00 class wide settlement on behalf of assistant managers at a retail chain where the employer had incorrectly implemented the fluctuating workweek).
In re: Bellman (E.D.N.Y. 2011)($780,000.00 settlement on behalf of employees who were not paid overtime by a staffing agency).
Parr v. Hico Concrete, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84628 (M.D.Tenn. 2011)(granting conditional class certification in a Fair Labor Standards Act case for a class of construction workers who claim to have worked “off the clock” without proper compensation).
Miller v. Regional Hospital of Jackson, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60594 (M.D.Tenn. 2011)( granting conditional class certification in a Fair Labor Standards Act case for a class of hospital workers who claim to have worked “off the clock” without proper compensation).
Carter v. Jackson Madison Co. Hospital Dist., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35163 (W.D.Tenn. 2011)( granting conditional class certification in a Fair Labor Standards Act case for a class of healthcare workers who claim to have worked “off the clock” without proper compensation).
Johnson v. ECT Contracting, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14237 (M.D.Tenn. 2010)(granting conditional certification in an FLSA case on behalf of satellite TV installers who were allegedly misclassified as independent contractors)
Jones v. FMSC Leasehold LLC, 2009 U.S. Dist. 496651 (W.D.Tenn. 2009)(granting summary judgment as to liability in favor of a plaintiff who was misclassified under the executive exemption of the Fair Labor Standards Act)
Kimbell v. Dynamic Strategies, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68975 (M.D.Tenn. 2008)(granting conditional class certification in a Fair Labor Standards Act case for a class of automobile technicians who claim to have worked “off the clock” without proper compensation).
Hodge v. Henry Co. Medical Ctr., 341 F.Supp2d 968 (W.D.Tenn. 2003)(holding that a plaintiff with Crohn’s disease may be “disabled” under the Americans with Disabilities Act).