G. Wayne  Hillis Jr.

G. Wayne Hillis Jr.

Managing Partner | Atlanta Office
whillis@phrd.com
T: (404) 420-5547
F: (404) 522-8409
 

Practice Group(s)

Services

Education

  • University of Georgia - (B.A., 1983)
  • University of Georgia School of Law - (J.D., cum laude, 1986); Georgia Law Review: Member, Editorial Board (1984-1985); Member, Managing Board (1985-1986)

Admitted to Practice

  • Georgia

About Wayne

Securities Litigation and Arbitration: Wayne has represented securities broker/dealers and associated persons in litigation in state and federal courts, arbitrations, and regulatory enforcement proceedings since 1986. Wayne has tried hundreds of securities arbitrations before FINRA (formerly the NASD), the New York Stock Exchange, the Pacific Stock Exchange, and other arbitration forums. He is experienced defending many different types of legal claims, including claims for violations of the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and state securities statutes, as well as common law claims based on allegations of churning, unsuitability, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and failure to supervise. Wayne has handled cases involving virtually all types of securities, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, closed end funds, options, limited partnerships, annuities, and complex derivative products. Wayne also has extensive experience managing large numbers of product related cases..

Complex Business and Commercial Litigation and Arbitration: Wayne has over 29 years of experience in successfully litigating complex business and commercial disputes in state and federal court and in arbitration. Wayne has handled cases involving a variety of commercial contracts, including stock and asset purchase agreements, software development contracts, agency agreements, promissory notes, and guarantees.

Employment Litigation and Arbitration: Wayne has represented clients before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in state and federal court, and in arbitration in cases involving employment disputes. Wayne has successfully defended many employment discrimination claims before the EEOC, in federal court and in arbitration before the NASD, NYSE, and AAA, including claims for discrimination based on age, gender, race, disability, and religion and claims for sexual harassment and retaliation. He also has successfully represented securities broker/dealers on claims against former employees on promissory notes, and he has successfully defended those firms and other employer clients against claims by former employees for unpaid compensation and benefits, wrongful termination, breach of employment agreements, defamation, and other employment-related claims. He also has represented plaintiffs and defendants in restrictive covenant and raiding litigation in court and in arbitration.

Appellate Practice: Wayne has handled appeals in a variety of appellate courts across the country, and he has argued appeals in the Second Circuit and the Georgia Supreme Court.

Professional and Civic Involvement


  • Serves as the Firm's Managing Partner, chairs the Firm's Executive Committee, and is a member of the Firm's Partnership Committee, Diversity Committee, Personnel Committee, and IT Governance Board.
  • Member, American Bar Association (ABA) and member of the following ABA sections and committees: Law Practice Management Division's Diversity and Inclusion Committee; Dispute Resolution Section; Labor and Employment Law Section (Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee); Equal Employment Opportunity Committee; Litigation Section (Employment & Labor Relations Committee, Securities Arbitration Committee, and Securities Litigation Committee)
  • Member, State Bar of Georgia
  • Member of the Atlanta Bar Association and Co-Chair of the Minority & Diversity Clerkship Program
  • Senior Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Member, State Bar of Georgia Diversity Program Steering Committee
  • Fellow, Lawyers Foundation of Georgia
  • Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Committee
  • Board Member, Cure CP (a nonprofit organization committed to curing cerebral palsy)
  • Board of Directors and Executive Committee, The Joseph Sams School
  • Board of Trustees, Dunwoody United Methodist Church (2003 - 2005)
  • Dunwoody High School Baseball Booster Club - President (2007 - 2008)
  • Manager, Peachtree Middle School baseball team (2004)
  • Murphey Candler Little League - Board Member (1997 - 2002; 2011 - present); President (1999 - 2000)
  • Director of the Murphey Candler Little League Challenger program for children with special needs

Honors


  • Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America as the Atlanta 2016 "Lawyer of the Year" in Litigation - Labor & Employment
  • Martindale-Hubbell rated AV Preeminent
  • Recognized as a leading Commercial Litigation practitioner by Best Lawyers in America (2010 - present)
  • Named as a "Georgia Super Lawyer" by Law & Politics and Atlanta Magazine (2005-2006, 2013-2015)
  • Recognized as one of Georgia's "Top Rated Lawyers" by Martindale-Hubbell and ALM (2012 - present))
  • Recognized for outstanding business and professional achievements by Strathmore's Who's Who (2009 - present)

Representative Engagements


  • Recent Cases:
  • In June 2016, Wayne and Justin Arpey won a week-long FINRA arbitration in Atlanta brought against their securities broker-dealer client by a former employee alleging wrongful termination, U-5 defamation, and disparate treatment. The former employee sought over $11 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The three-arbitrator FINRA panel granted a motion to dismiss at the close of the claimant's case and thereafter entered an award denying the claimant's claims in their entirety.
  • In an award entered in December 2015, Wayne, David Russell and Andrea Block won a multi-week FINRA arbitration in New York on behalf of a major securities broker-dealer. The three-arbitrator panel awarded the firm's client $1,028,571 in compensatory damages, which was 100% of the amount requested, plus pre- and post-award interest and $154,285 in attorneys' fees. The panel denied in full the $4.4 million counterclaims of the adversary, a former investment representative of the broker-dealer.
  • In November 2015, Wayne and Justin Arpey won a hard-fought victory for a securities broker-dealer client against the client's former investment representative in a four-day FINRA arbitration hearing in Atlanta. The arbitration panel awarded the firm's client $613,569 in compensatory damages, plus $360,000 in attorneys' fees and costs, on a claim for breach of a promissory note and denied the former investment representative's claims in their entirety.
  • In July 2015, Wayne, David Russell, and Andrea Block won a week-long FINRA arbitration in New York on behalf of a major securities broker-dealer. The three-arbitrator panel awarded the firm’s client $1,800,000 in compensatory damages, which was 100% of the amount requested, plus $150,000 in attorneys’ fees. The adversaries, three former investment representatives of the broker-dealer, lost all of their claims for $5,000,000 in damages.
  • In January 2014, Wayne was a member of a team that successfully defended a major broker-dealer and five of its current and former executives against claims brought by a former broker whose employment the broker-dealer terminated. The former broker sought compensatory damages of $17 million, plus treble damages, under the Massachusetts Wage Act for alleged non-payment of compensation and for an alleged retaliatory firing. The broker also asserted claims for wrongful termination, breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, promissory estoppel, unjust enrichment, and other claims. After four weeks of evidentiary hearings in Boston in 2013, a three-member FINRA arbitration panel denied the broker’s claims in their entirety and awarded the broker-dealer client $3.25 million in compensatory damages.
  • Wayne successfully represented a broker/dealer in a series of actions filed in Federal Courts and before FINRA by customers of an alleged Ponzi scheme operator for aiding and abetting, achieving complete victories in six seperate actions.
  • Other Engagements:
  • Between 2008 and 2013, represented a broker dealer in over 150 FINRA arbitrations involving several open end and closed end high yield bond funds
  • In 2012, represented a broker/dealer in a FINRA arbitration in defense of claims of unsuitability and fraud for over $1 million in losses incurred on high yield bond funds in which the arbitration panel awarded Claimants nothing and awarded the broker/dealer client $240,000 in attorneys' fees and costs
  • In 2011-2012, represented a broker/dealer in three FINRA arbitrations brought by the same claimants' counsel asserting a variety of legal claims including aiding and abetting fraud arising out of a third party's alleged Ponzi scheme. In one arbitration, the Panel granted the client's pre-hearing motion to dismiss pursuant to FINRA Rule 12504. In the other two arbitrations, the Panels awarded the claimants nothing, and in one of the cases, the Panel awarded the broker/dealer $52,000 in attorneys' fees.
  • In 2009-2012, represented a broker/dealer in two federal court cases – one in New York and the other in California - in defense of aiding and abetting claims brought by victims of an alleged Ponzi scheme perpetrated by a third party. In both cases, the courts granted the broker/dealer client's motion to dismiss. The dismissal by the New York federal court was subsequently affirmed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • In 2010, represented a broker/dealer in a FINRA arbitration filed by multiple claimants for over $2 million in losses incurred on high yield bond funds in which the Panel awarded the two lead Claimants nothing and awarded $440,000 in attorneys' fees to the broker/dealer client
  • In 2010, represented a broker/dealer in a FINRA arbitration in defense of a claim for $1,000,000 in alleged damages arising out of the claimant's investment in high yield bond funds in which the three member FINRA arbitration panel awarding the claimant nothing.
  • In 2008, represented a concrete manufacturing company in defense of claims filed in federal court for same-sex sexual harassment and retaliation
  • In 2007-2008, represented a health system in Savannah, Georgia in defense of claims brought by former director of cancer center for wrongful termination, breach of employment contract, defamation, and other claims
  • In 2006, represented a major securities broker/dealer in an NYSE arbitration brought by a former customer seeking over $3 million in compensatory damages plus punitive damages in which customer received nothing and the client received an award of over $275,000 in attorney's fees
  • In 2006, represented a national securities broker/dealer in defense of a securities arbitration brought by a former customer for $2 million in investment losses in which the NYSE arbitration panel awarded the customer nothing
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of two financial institutions in two separate cases in federal court in Atlanta filed by former employees alleging age and race discrimination
  • Represented a manufacturer of credit card devices in a case brought by a national retail chain in federal court in Tennessee alleging breach of a purchase contract and fraud
  • Represented a national securities broker/dealer nationwide in over 20 arbitrations arising from the collapse of a stock recommended by the firm
  • Represented a Health System in South Georgia in a highly publicized dispute with the practice administrator of a surgical practice
  • Represented the world's largest money transfer company in a case brought in federal court in Chicago based on the termination of an agency agreement
  • Responsible for the firm's representation of a national securities/broker dealer in defending over 50 cases involving claims of gender discrimination and sexual harassment stemming from the firm's settlement of a class action
  • Responsible for the firm's defense of a securities broker/dealer in over 800 arbitrations arising out of the settlement of a major class action stemming from the broker/dealer's sale of limited partnership investments

Publications and Presentations



 
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