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Walter J. Brand heads the Employment and Labor Practice Group at Watkins & Eager, where he has counseled and defended employers for more than 25 years.  Walter approaches his practice with the view that successful defense of employment claims begins long before a lawsuit is filed and turns upon several separate processes: fair, accurate, and documented handling of personnel actions based on updated employer policies; cogent explanation of employer action before administrative agencies that is consistent with documented employer business decisions; and nuanced discovery, evidentiary, and legal strategies designed to efficiently position cases for successful resolution by motion or trial.

Walter represents employers across numerous economic sectors, including the automotive, poultry processing, propane, banking, financial, physician, hospital, and medical service industries. He is rated AV by Martindale Hubbell and is consistently recognized in the area of employment litigation defense in Best LawyersChambers USA, and Super Lawyers.  He is a member of the American Employment Law Council and regularly serves as an instructor and contributing author on human resources administration and employment litigation topics before legal education and industry audiences. 

Representative Cases

Tingle v. Merchants & Marine Bank, Civil Action No. 1:18-CV-149-HSO-JCG (S.D. Miss. Dec. 14, 2019 (summary judgment granted in action alleging discriminatory discharge under the ADEA)

Delaney v. Minact Logistical Services, LLC, Civil Action No. 3:18-CV-587-HTW-LRA (S.D. Miss. Oct. 24, 2019) (Rule 41 dismissal and summary judgment granted in action alleging racially discriminatory discharge under Title VII/§1981)

McIntyre v. Calsonic Kansei North America, Inc. and Nissan North America, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:16-CV-886-HTW-LRA (S.D. Miss. March 29, 2019) (summary judgment granted to site owner in action alleging wrongful discharge based on Miss. Code Ann. 45-9-55 and tortious interference with employment)

Taylor v. Nissan North America, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:16-CV-821-DPJ-FKB (S.D. Miss. Feb. 6, 2019) (summary judgment granted in action asserting multiple intentional tort claims associated with alleged workplace exposure) 

Dobson v. Nissan North America, Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 25CI1:18-CV-00068-JE (Circuit Court of Madison County Dec. 10, 2018) (voluntary dismissal by plaintiff following successful venue transfer in action alleging various employment-based tort claims)

Edwards v. Nissan North America, Inc. – Civil Action No. 3:17-CV-908-LG-LRA (S.D. Miss. June 20, 2018) (motion to dismiss granted in action alleging harassment and discrimination under Title VII and the ADEA)

Bates v. Sanderson Farms, Inc. – Civil Action No. 5:17-CV-80-DCB-MTP (S.D. Miss. May 23, 2018) (summary judgment granted in action alleging race discrimination and retaliation under Title VII/§1981, retaliation under the FLSA, and negligent supervision and training under state law) 

Pace v. Mississippi Baptist Health Systems, Inc., United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Northern Division; Civil Action No. 3:17-CV-00009-CWR-LRA (March 7, 2018) (summary judgment granted in ADA discrimination action)

Dobson v. Minact Logistical Services and Nissan North America, Inc. – Civil Action No. 3:17-CV-406-CWR-LRA (S.D. Miss. Nov. 13, 2017) (motion to dismiss granted in action alleging failure to accommodate under ADA and race discrimination under Title VII)

Windham v. Sanderson Farms, Inc., 2016-153 C-2 (Covington Cnty. Cir. Ct. Oct. 31, 2017) (summary judgment granted for all defendants in action asserting wrongful termination, infliction of emotional distress, malicious interference with employment relations, and negligent supervision claims)

Johnson v. Sanderson Farms, Inc.; In the Circuit Court of Pike County, Mississippi; Civil Action No. 16-186-PCS (Oct. 16, 2017) (summary judgment granted in action asserting malicious prosecution, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims)

Avery v. Nissan North America, Inc.; United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Northern Division; Civil Action No. 3:15-CV-890-HTW-LRA (Sept. 22, 2017) (summary judgment granted in action asserting Title VII sex discrimination and retaliation claims)

Johnson v. Sanderson Farms, Inc.; United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Western Division; Civil Action No. 5:16-CV-35-DCB-MTP (May 26, 2017) (summary judgment granted in action asserting ADEA, ADA, and Title VII discrimination and state law false arrest and malicious prosecution claims)

Carr v. Sanderson Farms, Inc., Civil Action No. 14-2488 Section "N" (3) (E.D. La. March 15, 2016) (summary judgment granted in race discrimination action)

Gibbs v. Nissan North America, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:14cv650-DPJ-FKB (S.D. Miss. March 2016) (summary judgment granted in ADA discrimination and retaliation action)

Davenport v. Nissan North America, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:14cv671-CWR-LRA (S.D. Miss. Oct. 22, 2015) (summary judgment granted in sexual harassment action)

Garcia v. Tyson Foods, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:12-CV-597-CWR-FKB (S.D. Miss. Sept. 8, 2014) (summary judgment granted in Title VII discrimination and retaliation and FMLA retaliation action)

Johnson v. Nissan North America, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:13-CV-349-LG-JMR (S.D. Miss. June 2, 2014) (voluntary dismissal with prejudice in Title VII action following motion for summary judgment)

Simpson v. Sanderson Farms, Inc., 744 F.3d 702 (11th Cir. 2014) (affirming dismissal with prejudice of putative class action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted)

Taylor v. First Tower Loan, LLC, et al., No. 3:13-CV-210-NBB-SAA (N.D. Miss. Dec. 3, 2013) (voluntary dismissal with prejudice of putative FLSA collective action during pendency of motion to compel arbitration of individual claim)

Jones v. Tower Loan of Mississippi, LLC, No. 3:12-CV-753 DPJ-FKB (S.D. Miss. Oct. 23, 2013) (confirming arbitrator's dismissal with prejudice of FLSA action)

Moore v. Nissan North America, Inc., 2012 WL 2608792 (S.D. Miss. July 5, 2012), appeal voluntarily dismissed (Nov. 19, 2012) (summary judgment granted in ADA action)

Cannon v. Mississippi Dep't of Employment Sec., et al., 2012 WL 2685089 (S.D. Miss. July 6, 2012) (motion to dismiss granted in Title VII action)

Phillips v. Nissan North America, Inc., 2012 WL 2254274 (S.D. Miss. June 14, 2012) (summary judgment granted in Title VII retaliation action)

Reichle v. Farmers Ins. Exchange, Nos. 3:11-CV-174-DPJ-FKB and 3:11-CV-232-DPJ-FKB (S.D. Miss. March 16, 2012) (ADEA actions voluntarily dismissed with prejudice following motion for summary judgment)

Williams v. Tyson Foods, Inc., No. 3:11-CV-67- DPJ-FKB (S.D. Miss. Dec. 16, 2011) (voluntary dismissal with prejudice of FMLA action)

Newman v. Sanderson Farms, Inc., 2011 WL 5511707 (S.D. Miss. Nov. 10, 2011) (summary judgment granted in ADEA action)

Anderson v. Nissan North America, Inc., 2011 WL 4625647 (S.D. Miss. Sept. 30, 2011) (summary judgment granted in Title VII and FMLA action)

Jones v. Sanderson Farms, Inc., No. 7:10-CV-34-HL (M.D. Ga. June 21, 2011) (voluntary dismissal with prejudice in Title VII action following plaintiff's deposition)

Parker v. Sanderson Farms, Inc., No. 3:11-CV-251-CWR-FKB (S.D. Miss. June 3, 2011) (voluntary dismissal of putative FLSA collective action prior to responsive pleading)

Welborn v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., No. 1:10-CV-48-LG-RHW (S.D. Miss. March 23, 2011) (summary judgment granted in ADA action)

Tate v. Sanderson Farms, Inc., 2010 WL 3122827 (S.D. Miss. Aug. 4, 2010) (summary judgment granted in Title VII and Section 1981 discrimination and retaliation action)

Love v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 2010 WL 114243 (S.D. Miss. Jan. 7, 2010) aff'd, 677 F.3d 258 (5th Cir. 2012) (summary judgment granted in Title VII and Section 1981 discrimination and retaliation action based on bankruptcy-related estoppel)

Mangum v. Sanderson Farms, Inc., No. 3:08-CV-712-HTW-LRA (S.D. Miss. July 30, 2009) (voluntary dismissal with prejudice of ADA, ADEA, and Title VII action following plaintiff's deposition)

Ray v. Nissan North America, Inc., 2009 WL 1686575 (S.D. Miss. June 16, 2009) (summary judgment granted in Title VII and Section 1981 discrimination action)

Crown v. Nissan North America, Inc., 634 F. Supp. 2d 688 (S.D. Miss. 2009) (summary judgment granted in FMLA action)

Sullivan v. Tyson Foods, Inc., No. 3:06-CV-402-TSL-JCS (S.D. Miss. July 31, 2007) (summary judgment granted in ADEA action)

Parker v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 2007 WL 2021928 (S.D. Miss. July 9, 2007) aff'd, 278 F. App'x 433 (5th Cir. 2008) (summary judgment granted in Title VII and Section 1981 action)

Campbell v. Bd. of Trustees of Quitman Sch. Dist., 2006 WL 2376200 (S.D. Miss. Aug. 15, 2006) (summary judgment granted in Section 1983 discharge action)

DeCarlo v. Bonus Stores, Inc., 2006 WL 1328890 (S.D. Miss. May 12, 2006) aff'd in relevant part, 289 F. App'x 735 (5th Cir. 2008) (summary judgment granted in state-law retaliatory discharge action)

Wade Block & Tile v. Boral Brick, Inc., et al.; No. 1:01-CV-375- WJG (S.D. Miss. June 24, 2003) (defense verdict in breach of contract, distributor termination action)

Stafford v. True Temper Sports, 1997 WL 88250 (N.D. Miss. Feb. 19, 1997), aff'd 123 F.3d 291 (5th Cir. 1997) (summary judgment granted in ERISA retaliation action)

Glasgow v. Sherwin-Williams Co., 901 F. Supp. 1185 (N.D. Miss. 1995) aff'd, 146 F.3d 867 (5th Cir. 1998) (summary judgment granted in ADEA action)

Berry v. Liberty Nat. Life Ins. Co., 879 F. Supp. 44 (S.D. Miss. 1995) (summary judgment granted in breach of employment contract action)

McDaniel v. Mississippi Baptist Medical Center, 877 F. Supp. 321, 323 (S.D. Miss. 1995), aff'd sub nom. McDaniel v. Mississippi Baptist, 74 F.3d 1238 (5th Cir. 1995) (defense judgment following trial of ADA action)

Legal Experience

  • Mississippi Bar, 1987

Honors & Recognitions

  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • The Best Lawyers in America (Employment Law - Management; Labor Law - Management; Litigation - Labor and Employment)
  • Mid-South Super Lawyers (2006-19, Employment Litigation: Defense)
  • Chambers USA-America's Leading Lawyers for Business (Labor & Employment)
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Jackson, Mississippi Lawyer of the Year (2019, Litigation - Labor and Employment; 2016 and 2017, Employment Law - Management)
  • 2018 Southern Star – Benchmark Litigation Guide to Leading Labor & Employment Litigators

  • 2019 Labor & Employment Star - Benchmark Litigation (Labor & Employment)

Community & Professional

  • American Employment Law Council, 2009–present
  • Defense Research Institute, 1997-2008; Joint Monograph Subcommittee Chair (EPLI), 1999; Regional Newsletter Editor
  • Mississippi Contributor for Practical Law
  • The Mississippi Bar

Education

Juris Doctor: J.D., cum laude, University of Mississippi School of Law, 1987

Bachelor's Degree: B.B.A., University of Mississippi, 1984

Mississippi Law Journal, Research Editor, 1986; Editor-in-Chief, 1986-87