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William M. Symmes

Partner

Location:
Spokane
Phone:
509.755.2026
Fax:
509.213.8668
Email:
wsymmes@hawleytroxell.com

Biography

William (Bill) Symmes has over 29 years’ experience in labor & employment law and commercial litigation. Bill has represented clients before a variety of state and federal courts and regulatory agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the National labor Relations Board (NLRB), and related state agencies. Bill often utilizes his experience to advise businesses and employers over various risk management strategies aimed to minimize litigation exposure. Bill also acts as general counsel for various local and regional companies advising on construction, transportation, and corporate matters.

BAR ADMISSIONS

Washington

Idaho

Oregon

United States District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Washington

United States District Court, District of Idaho

United States Court of Federal Claims

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

Colville Tribal Court

PROFESSIONAL/COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS

Association of Washington Business (AWB)- Board Member and Parliamentarian, 2017–present

Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel – Member, 2018–present

Colmac Holding Company – Board Member and Corporate Secretary, 2011–present

Federal Bar Association for Eastern District of Washington–Past President, 2007-2008

Greater Spokane Incorporated – General Counsel, 2008–present

Lawyer Delegate to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference Executive Committee, 2010–2014

Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference–Lawyer Representative/LRCC/Local Chair, 2007-2010

Providence Healthcare Foundation–Board Member, 2006-2019

Spokane County Court Judicial Liaison Committee – Member, 2005–present

Spokane County Bar Association

  • President, 2018
  • Board Member and Officer 2014–2019

Spokane County Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division – Board Member, 1995–1998

Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) Labor and Employment Law Section, Executive Committee and Treasurer, 2013–2016

Western Defense Trial Lawyers (WDTL), Board Member, 2015–Present

SIGNIFICANT REPRESENTATION & EXPERIENCE

  • Gergawy v. United States Bakery, Inc., 2022 WL 395308 (E.D. 2022) Successful summary judgment for Defendant in complex disability and retaliation case.
  • Robins v. NuVasive, Inc., 2020 WL 7081588 (E.D. WA 2020) Successful defense of preliminary injunction motion under Washington’s non-compete law.
  • Arendt v. Washington–Idaho–Montana Carpenters–Employers Retirement Trust Fund, 669 Fed. Appx. 919 (9th Cir. 2016) (successful constitutional defense to ERISA claims brought under the Pension Protection Act).
  • Yeager v. Kaiser Aluminum, 2016 WL 6081386 (9th Cir. 2016) Successful appeal affirming trial court’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s disability discrimination and failure to accommodate claims.
  • Arendt v. Washington–Idaho–Montana Carpenters–Employers Retirement Trust Fund, 2014 WL 1771701 (E.D. WA 2014) Successful constitutional defense to ERISA claims brought under the Pension Protection Act.
  • Yeager v. Kaiser Aluminum, 2014 WL 1255825 (E.D. WA 2014) Successful summary judgment in favor of employer in disability discrimination/failure to accommodate case.
  • Davis v. Fred’s Appliance, 171 Wn. App 348 (2012) Obtained and affirmed summary judgment on four causes of action establishing new law that no cause of action exists for perceived sexual orientation discrimination.
  • Cornwell v. Roses & More, 166 Wn. App. 1004 (2012) Obtained and affirmed in part, reversed in part, summary judgment on behalf of the employer.
  • Rimov v. Schultz, 162 Wn. App. 274 (2011) Successful appeal concerning the scope and enforceability of arbitration agreement.
  • Philip Morris USA, Inc. v. King Mountain Tobacco Co., Inc. 569 F.3.1 932 (9th Cir. 2009) Successful reversal of trial court’s holding that the court did not have jurisdiction over trademark and trade dress claims brought against Native American member of Yakama Nation.
  • Sterling Savings v. US, 80 Fed. Cl. 497 (2008) Multi-million dollar plaintiff’s verdict in a banking contract claim.
  • Dixson v. Empire Health Svc., Inc., 136 Wn. App. 1050 (2007) Obtained and affirmed summary judgment in a multi-million-dollar ERISA class action case.
  • Keystone Masonry, Inc. v. Garco Construction, Inc., 135 Wn. App. 927 (2006) Successful appeal establishing a legal standard for forum selection clauses in construction contracts under Washington Law.
  • Prencipe v. Spokane Bd. of Realtors, 2006 WL 1310402 (E.D. WA 2006) Successful summary judgment in anti trust action over use of multiple listing service.
  • Baker v. Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp., 951 F. Supp 953 (E.D.Wa 1996) Successful summary judgment on a sexual harassment case under a preemption analysis per LMRA § 301.

EDUCATION

Law School:

Southern Methodist University, J.D. cum laude, 1994.

Order of the Coif

Southern Methodist Law Review

Undergraduate:

Yale University, B.A. Economics & Political Science, 1989

PUBLICATIONS

Co-author: Non-compete limiting bill expected to become law, Spokane Journal of Business, April 25, 2019

Co-author: New employment laws in the wake of #MeToo, Spokane Journal of Business, April 12, 2018

Co-author: State’s voter-approved sick, safe leave is looming, Spokane Journal of Business, November 22, 2017

Co-author: Heeding transgender restroom, workplace rules, Spokane Journal of Business, April 17, 2016

Co-author: Sick leave mandate gives employers much to mull, Spokane Journal of Business, March 24, 2016

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

AV rated Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, since 2000

Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year, Litigation–Labor & Employment, Spokane, 2015 and 2017

Best Lawyers in America®, Litigation–Labor & Employment, since 2013

Best Lawyers in America®, Commercial Litigation, since 2013

American Lawyer®, Top Labor & Employment Lawyer, 2015–2019

Top Lawyers–Spokane & Coeur d’Alene Living, 2010–2019

Recognized as a Pacific Northwest Best Lawyer for Labor & Employment, and Commercial Litigation, 2015–2016, as published in Seattle Times and Oregonian

Superb Rating (No. 10) Avvo, 2010–2020

Top Lawyers – Spokane & Coeur d’Alene Living, since 2010

LECTURES & PRESENTATIONS

  • Washington Finance Officers Association (WFOA) 68th Annual Conference, “Washington State Protected Leaves and Wage Hourly Issues”, September 2023Idaho State Council of SHRM 2023
  • Idaho Employment Law Conference, ““Whistleblower”: How to Avoid Walking into a Retaliation Claim”, Boise, ID, September 2023
  • Idaho Manufacturing Alliance Employment Law Conference, Employment Law Presentation, Post Falls, ID, June 2023
  • Washington State SHRM Employment Law and HR Conference, “Managing the Intersection and Complexity of Washington State Leave Law”, Bellevue, WA, March 2023
  • Northwest Human Resources Management Association (NHRMA) Annual Conference, “Employers Without Borders: Which State (or County, or City) Law Really Applies to Your Employees?” (2022)
  • AWB Annual Employment Law Webinar Series 2022, “Noncompetition, Confidentiality, Nonsolicitation, & Intellectual Property Agreements,” 2022
  • Northwest Human Resources Management Association (NHRMA) Annual Conference, “Rebel Without a Cause of Action (If Done Right!)”, 2020
  • AWB Annual Employment Law Webinar Series 2020, “Noncompetition, Confidentiality, Nonsolicitation, & Intellectual Property Agreements,” 2020
  • BOMA Organization Meeting, “Washington’s New Paid Sick & Safe Leave Law,” 2018
  • BOMA – Spokane, “Spokane Earned Sick and Safe Leave Update,” 2017
  • Witherspoon Kelley Webinar, “Spokane’s Earned Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance: What to Expect,” 2016
  • BizStreet Morning – Greater Spokane Incorporated, “Spokane’s Earned Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance: What to Expect,” 2016
  • BizStreet Afternoon – Greater Spokane Incorporated, “Spokane’s Earned Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance: What to Expect,” 2016
  • Lecturer and Organizer–Various presentations and webinars over Spokane’s and Washington’s paid safe and leave laws, since 2016
  • Lecturer and Organizer–Annual Employment Law Update (Witherspoon Kelley) on employment law updates in state and federal courts, Fall 2015, 2017–2019, and 2022.
  • Guest Lecturer – Annual Northwest Human Resource Management Association (NHRMA) Convention and Trade Show, Accommodation Issues in the Workplace, Fall 2015
  • Guest Lecturer–Washington State Employment Law & Human Resources Conference, sponsored by Washington State Human Resources Council, an affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Employment Law Update, 2015
  • Guest Lecturer – Annual Northwest Human Resource Management Association (NHRMA) Convention and Trade Show, Social Media in the Workplace, 2014.
  • Panelist on CLE / Lecturer–2013 Annual Washington State Bar Association Labor & Employment Conference in Seattle over legal issues that may arise from social media in the workplace, 2013.
  • Lecturer–Defining What It Means to be Disabled under the WLAD and ADA, 2008
  • Lecturer–Minimizing Exposure to Discriminatory Harassment Complaints, various years to various audiences.

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