Justin L. Engel
Justin is a litigator and employment lawyer who represents businesses through all stages of the litigation process and also provides pre-litigation counseling on a range of employment-related issues. He has tried cases to verdict before both juries and judges. He also has significant experience conducting internal company investigations in response to whistleblower complaints and government inquiries.
Justin defends businesses in court and before administrative agencies against a wide variety of employment-related claims under federal and state statutes, including claims for discrimination, hostile work environment, retaliation, personnel misclassification, and wage and hour violations. He also has experience defending against claims of health care fraud, securities fraud, antitrust violations, and other white-collar criminal and civil claims. In addition, a significant portion of Justin’s practice involves prosecuting and defending against claims for violation of restrictive covenants and trade secret misappropriation. Justin’s clients have included leading businesses in the pharmaceutical, healthcare, technology, management consulting, financial services, private equity, and insurance industries.
Before joining Bello Welsh LLP, Justin worked as a general litigator for more than ten years. Most recently, Justin was employed as an Assistant Attorney General and Deputy Section Head in the Litigation Bureau of the New York State Office of the Attorney General. He was previously associated with two international law firms, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett LLP, where he defended businesses and executives in connection with complex commercial litigation and government investigations. He also served as a law clerk in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut for two years.
Justin obtained his J.D. degree cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania law school. He obtained his B.A. and M.A. degrees summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Albany. Justin is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and New York, as well as before the United States District Courts for the District of Massachusetts and Northern District of New York.
- Won a decision after trial on behalf of a federal contractor in an enforcement action alleging gender-based pay discrimination brought by the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) under Executive Order 11246. The case was the first ever OFCCP enforcement action alleging gender-based pay discrimination to go to trial.
- Represented a management consulting company in a lawsuit by a former company executive alleging violation of the Massachusetts Wage Act, breach of contract, wrongful termination in violation of public policy, defamation, and tortious interference.
- Represented a medical device manufacturer in a lawsuit by a former employee alleging that he was terminated in retaliation for complaining about conduct prohibited by the False Claims Act.
- Won dismissal of a lawsuit alleging discrimination and retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Won dismissal of a retaliation lawsuit by the former Director of Equal Opportunity Development for the New York State Department of Labor who was terminated after protesting statewide changes to the means by which EEOC complaints were handled on the basis that the conduct she opposed did not qualify as “unlawful employment practices” under Title VII and therefore her activities were not statutorily protected.*
- Won dismissal of an FMLA suit on the grounds that the suit was barred by res judicata and collateral estoppel because the plaintiff had previously pursued her FMLA claims in arbitration under her union’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.*
- Won summary judgment for an employer in a lawsuit alleging Title VII discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation claims.*
- Conducted an internal investigation for a federal contractor in response to an employee’s complaint alleging that other employees had accepted kickbacks and submitted false claims to the government.
- Conducted an internal investigation for a high-tech manufacturing company in response to an employee’s complaint of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct against a manager.
- Represented a Medicare Advantage plan in connection with a criminal health care fraud investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office and Office of Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services and drafted a 100+ page internal investigation page report that was delivered to the Board of Directors.*
Non-Compete/Trade Secret Misappropriation
- Prevailed following an evidentiary hearing on a motion for temporary restraining order brought by a healthcare services company seeking to prohibit a former employee from working for his new company based on alleged violations of a non-compete covenant and trade secret misappropriation.
- Prevailed following an evidentiary hearing on a motion for preliminary injunction brought by a healthcare technology company seeking to enforce a non-compete covenant against a former company executive.
- Represented a private equity firm in connection with shareholder class action litigation alleging a conspiracy to fix prices in club leveraged buy-out deals in violation of the Sherman Act.*
- Represented a condominium builder in connection with class action litigation seeking rescission of purchase and investment contracts for hotel condominium units on the basis that the builder had failed to register the units as securities in violation of Section 12(a) of the Securities Act.*
- Represented a mortgage lender in connection with shareholder class action litigation asserting securities law violations for alleged material misrepresentations in registration statements whereby the company allegedly portrayed itself as a conservative mortgage lender but had actually made high risk loans that were comparable to subprime loans.*
- Represented the Chief Executive Officer of a mortgage lender in connection with a lawsuit by the SEC asserting securities law violations for alleged material misrepresentations concerning the company’s reserves, liquidity issues, and loan characteristics.*
- Represented an insurance company in connection with a lawsuit against a State assigned risk program alleging violation of a contractual indemnification provision.*
- Represented an insurance company in connection with a lawsuit alleging violation of a reinsurance agreement.*
Other Complex Business Disputes
- Won dismissal on subject matter jurisdiction grounds of enforcement actions against the New York State Comptroller’s Office by plaintiffs who sought the turnover of alleged Cuban assets being held by the Comptroller in satisfaction of a Florida state court default judgment obtained against Cuba under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.*
- Won dismissal of a lawsuit brought by two Asian-American nail salon trade groups seeking to prevent New York State from enforcing legislation and regulations requiring nail salon owners to purchase wage bonds as security for any unpaid wages owed to workers.*
- Represented a clinical drug testing laboratory in connection with a false advertising and unfair competition lawsuit brought by a competitor involving alleged illegal business practices.*
*Matters handled prior to joining Bello Welsh LLP.
OFCCP Case Changes the Game for Contractor Pay Audits, Law360 (April 25, 2019)
Constitutional Limitations on the Expansion of Involuntary Civil Commitment for Violent and Dangerous Offenders, 8 U. Pa. J. Const. L. 841 (August 2006)