Richard (“Rick”) Nowak is a Litigation & Dispute Resolution partner in Mayer Brown’s Chicago office. He is an experienced trial attorney in state and federal court and also represents clients in arbitrations, mediations, and governmental and internal investigations. Rick’s practice focuses primarily on ERISA litigation, labor and employment, and antitrust law. Rick actively counsels and represents benefit plans, plan sponsors, plan fiduciaries, and trustees in a variety of contexts, including claims relating to defined contribution, defined benefit, and top hat plans, excessive fees litigation, and the administration of plan assets and fiduciary responsibilities under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Rick also actively counsels and represents employers on labor and employment matters, including disputes involving the Fair Labor Standards Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, National Labor Relations Act, among others. Rick’s experience includes handling charges, investigations, and complaints brought by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and related state agencies. Rick also has significant experience relating to Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP) and has represented plan sponsors and other interested parties in class action litigation challenging leveraged ESOP transactions.
Rick works closely with his clients to develop policies and procedures on a wide variety of issues, including employee classification, workplace confidentiality, whistleblowing, harassment and discrimination, “Bring Your Own Device,” employee monitoring, social media, and antitrust compliance. Rick also assists his clients in drafting employment contracts and severance agreements, disciplinary notices, employee manuals and handbooks, and non-compete and non-solicitation agreements.
Prior to joining Mayer Brown in 2011, Rick was an attorney for the City of Chicago’s Department of Law, where he defended the City and its employees against constitutional and other civil rights claims in state and federal court.
- Griffin v. AT&T Umbrella Benefit Plan No. 3, Case No. 1:18-cv-01804-WCG (E.D. Wi. Mar. 12, 2020). Granting motion for summary judgment in an ERISA benefits lawsuit alleging that the AT&T plan improperly denied the plaintiff’s claims for short-term and long-term disability benefits.
- Bafford v. Northrop Grumman Corporation, et al., 2020 WL 70834 (C.D. Cal., January 7, 2020). Granting motion to dismiss in a putative nationwide class action lawsuit alleging that Northrop Grumman Corporation and its benefit plan committee breached their fiduciary duties under ERISA to pension plan participants.
- Rychorcewicz v. Welltec, Inc., 2019 WL 1760886 (5th Cir. Apr. 18, 2019), affirming 2018 WL 3559102 (S.D. Tex. July 24, 2018) and 2018 WL 3559131 (S.D. Tex. June 22, 2018). Affirming district court’s granting of summary judgment for defendant after discovery in a certified wage and hour class action filed under the FLSA, and denying class plaintiffs’ related motion to strike portions of defendant’s supporting evidence.
- Wilcox v. Georgetown University, et al., 2019 WL 132281 (D.D.C. Jan. 8, 2019). Granting motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit alleging that Georgetown University breached its fiduciary duties under ERISA by mismanaging its retirement plan for faculty and staff members.
- Hardy v. City of Chicago, et al., Case No. 15-cv-1174 (N.D. Ill. 2017), affirmed 717 Fed. App'x 627 (7th Cir. 2018). Affirming summary judgment for defendants after discovery in a matter alleging due process violations with respect to the City's and former Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy's handling of the sergeant promotion process.
- Doyle, et al. v. City of Chicago, et al., Case No. 12-cv-6377 (N.D. Ill. 2016), affirmed 871 F.3d 540 (7th Cir. 2017). Affirming jury verdict and judgment as a matter of law in favor of defendants in a highly-publicized lawsuit alleging political and racial discrimination with respect to the selection of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's personal security detail.
- Professional Orthopedic Associates, PA., et al., v. Geico, et al., 2016 WL 1338597 (D.N.J. Apr. 5, 2016). Granting motion to dismiss with prejudice for defendant finding that the medical services provider lacked standing and the individual plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies in an ERISA lawsuit for unpaid medical benefits.
- Grayer v. Ford Consumer Finance, et al., Case Nos. 14-cv-10187, 14-cv-1765 (N.D. Ill. 2015). Granting motions to dismiss with prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction in lawsuit consumer fraud, tax fraud, and other common law claims relating to handling of the plaintiff's mortgage loan.
- Lane v. DuPage County School District No. 45, Case No. 13-cv-5386 (N.D. Ill.). Obtaining satisfactory settlement for pro bono client who alleged that the school district discriminated against her minor child.
- Langan v. The Big Ten Conference, Inc., et al., Case No. 13-L-9828 (Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, 2014). Granting motions to dismiss and for summary judgment as to all claims in six-count lawsuit by a former football official alleging defamation, breach of contract and tort claims.
- Lattas v. ING Bank, FSB, Case No. 12-CH-18897 (Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, 2013). Granting motion to dismiss with prejudice as to all claims in a class action lawsuit alleging that its mortgage refinancing practices violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act.
- Austin, et al. v. CitiMortgage, Inc., Case No. 10-cv-13185 (E.D. Mich. 2012). Granting motion to dismiss with prejudice community organization plaintiff's claims for lack of standing in action alleging that CitiMortgage's mortgage refinance practices were discriminatory and violated the Fair Housing Act, Civil Rights Act, and the Consumer Credit Protection Act.
- Davis v. City of Chicago, et al., Case No. 07-L-7680, affirmed 2014 IL App (1st) 122427. Affirming jury verdict in favor of defendants in wrongful death lawsuit alleging that police-involved shooting was an unjustified homicide.
- Johnson v. Arroyo, et al., Case No. 09-cv-1614 (N.D. Ill. 2011). Jury verdict in favor of defendants in federal lawsuit alleging violations of the plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights.
- Dishman v. Cleary, et al., Case No. 07-cv-5626 (N.D. Ill. 2011). Jury verdict in favor of defendants in federal lawsuit alleging excessive force and violations of the plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights.
- White v. City of Chicago, et al., Case No. 07-cv-2539 (N.D. Ill. 2011). Jury verdict in favor of defendants in federal lawsuit alleging excessive force and violations of the plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights.
University of Illinois College of Law, JD, summa cum laude
Articles Editor, University of Illinois Law Review; Order of the Coif
University of Illinois, BS, with high honors
- US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
- US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
- US District Court for the Central District of Illinois
- US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit