Scott M. McElhaney
Scott M. McElhaney tries cases, handles appeals, and provides counsel for large and small companies as well as business executives. His aim is to help clients cost-effectively resolve commercial disputes and employment law matters.
He has over 25 years of experience in contract and commercial tort suits and trade secret and non-competition agreement cases. He regularly advises businesses on employment disputes and handles employment discrimination, FLSA, ERISA and other labor claims. Scott has also represented title companies and insurers and managed care organizations in a variety of commercial disputes. He focuses on the long-term commercial needs of his clients by identifying risks and providing strategies for handling complex legal challenges.
Scott has had jury trials in both federal and state courts as well as arbitrations before panels of arbitrators. He also uses his appellate experience to defend favorable trial court judgments and obtain reversal of adverse results, and he has successfully handled multiple class actions at the trial and appellate level.
In addition to his practice, Scott is active in the Bar and legal community. In 2014, he served as the President of the Dallas Bar Association. He has also served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Dallas Bar Foundation. He has led the DBA’s Equal Access to Justice Campaign, and is a past Chair of the DBA’s Business Litigation Section and Judiciary Committee. Scott has also served on the State Bar’s District 6 Grievance Committee and as Vice Chair of the Dallas Committee for a Qualified Judiciary.
Scott has also been a Lecturer at SMU’s Dedman School of Law, where he taught Employment Law and Legal Research and Writing.
After graduating from Harvard Law School, he was a Law Clerk to Judge Irving Goldberg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and to Judge Barefoot Sanders of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
A.B., summa cum laude, Dartmouth College
- Phi Beta Kappa
J.D., cum laude, Harvard Law School
- Harvard Civil Rights – Civil Liberties Law Review, Managing Editor
United States Supreme Court
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits
United States District Court for the Eastern, Northern, Southern, and Western Districts of Texas
United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma
- Successfully settled multiple attempted nationwide FLSA collective actions for unpaid overtime.
- Successfully defended on appeal a jury verdict the Firm obtained in federal district court in a case in which the plaintiff claimed that she was discharged in retaliation for making a complaint about sexual harassment. Rodriquez v. Midland Cnty. Hosp. Dist., No. 21-50635, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 14704 (5th Cir. May 27, 2022).
- Obtained preliminary injunction enforcing non-competition agreement against executive. Cyrus One LLC v. Levinsky, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154803 (E.D. Tex. Sept. 11 2019).
- Obtained dismissal of claim by landowner that adjoining landowner was unconstitutionally attempting to evade easement restrictions that restricted adjoining landowner’s use of its land. TF-Harbor, LLC v. City of Rockwall, 592 Fed. Appx. 323 (5th Cir. 2015).
- Obtained and defended on appeal summary judgment for a title company that it did not owe negligence and fiduciary duties to the party to a real estate transaction. IQ Holdings, Inc. v. Stewart Title Guar. Co., 451 S.W.3d 861 (Tex. App. – Houston [1st Dist.] 2014, no pet.).
- Overturned an over $2 million trial court judgment that had been entered against the client in a breach of contract case on the grounds that the terms of the alleged contract were too indefinite to be enforced. FFSS v. Corilant Financial, L.P., 376 S.W.3d 253 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2012, pet. denied).
- Secured a defense verdict from a federal court jury in an age discrimination case alleging wrongful discharge.
- Won and successfully defended on appeal summary judgment in favor of client on ERISA estoppel, waiver, and breach of fiduciary duty claims for $1 million in plan benefits.
- Presidential Citation, Dallas Bar Association, 2020 – In recognition of programming to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 15th Amendment
- The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White Inc.), 2008-2022
- Lawyer of the Year – Dallas/Fort Worth, Litigation – ERISA, 2021
- Commercial Litigation, 2009-2022
- Litigation – ERISA, 2011-2022
- Litigation – Labor and Employment, 2011-2022
- “Best Lawyers in Dallas,” D Magazine, 2009, 2011, 2018
- Texas Super Lawyer, Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters, 2004-2018, 2020-2021
- Rising Star, Super Lawyers – Rising Stars by Thomson Reuters, 2004
- “Planning on Hiring Summer Interns? Make Sure Your Pay Practices Don’t Trip You Up,” Jackson Walker Insights (April 23, 2019)
- “COVID-19: Returning to Work,” Jackson Walker Webinar (May 1, 2020)
- “Wage and Hour Compliance Check,” Labor & Employment Law Symposium (October 11, 2018)
- “Enforcing and Avoiding Arbitration Clauses Under Texas Law,” Dallas Bar Association – Trial Skills Section (February 9, 2018)
In the News
- Quoted, “Fort Worth judge rules religious businesses can be shielded from LGBTQ discrimination claims,” The Dallas Morning News (November 2, 2021)
- American Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
- Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow
- Dallas Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
- Chair, Board of Trustees, Dallas Bar Foundation, 2019
- Employment Discrimination under Title VII, the ADA, the ADEA, and the Texas Labor Code
- FLSA collective actions
- ERISA benefit and breach of fiduciary duty claims
- Commission and executive pay disputes
- Employment issues facing restaurants
- Nursing home employment litigation
- Commercial torts
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Fraud and negligent misrepresentation
- Class actions
- Trade secret and non-competition agreement suits
- Enforcing and avoiding arbitration clauses
- Disputes involving title companies and title insurance
- Disputes involving managed care companies
- Appeals after trials and from pretrial dismissals
- Interlocutory appeals
- Mandamus proceedings