Benton L. Toups is a partner in the Wilmington office of Cranfill Sumner. Benton is a seasoned attorney whose practice focuses on Employment Law, Business Litigation and ERISA Litigation. Benton is also a certified mediator and is often called upon by his colleagues from other firms to assist them in that capacity. He serves on the Cranfill Sumner COVID-19 Response Team.
Benton is recognized by his peers as an industry expert in employment law. Benton represents employers and executives before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Labor, the North Carolina Industrial Commission, and several state and federal courts. He has extensive experience assisting with claims of harassment and discrimination under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the North Carolina Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA), as well as claims for unpaid wages and overtime pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act.
Benton is well versed in negotiating and drafting employment contracts, including non-competition, non-solicitation and confidentiality agreements, and he has successfully represented clients in multiple preliminary injunction hearings in which the enforceability of such agreements was at issue.
A firm believer in the adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Benton counsels business clients on personnel issues and assists them in developing and implementing effective policies in order to avoid employment litigation. Benton is a frequent speaker on claims avoidance and litigation strategy.
Benton represents clients in business disputes, including those involving breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, money owed, and misappropriation of trade secrets and other intellectual property. As with his employment practice, Benton not only litigates disputes; he works with his clients proactively to avoid them. Benton is more than an attorney to his clients. He is a trusted business partner.
ERISA Subrogation and Litigation:
Benton devotes a substantial portion of his practice to representing health care plans in subrogation and reimbursement claims brought under ERISA. This field of law is complex and ever-changing, and Benton is on its leading edge. Some of the nation’s largest plans and administrators put their trust in Benton to protect their interests.
Cases or matters referenced do not represent the lawyer’s entire record. Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicated upon a lawyer’s or a law firm’s past results.
- Benton represented a company whose president resigned under circumstances suggesting that, well before his resignation, he was laying the groundwork take advantage of his employer’s confidential information and contacts in order to form a competing enterprise. The case ultimately resolved with a substantial sum of money paid to Benton’s client, as well as additional terms preventing ongoing misappropriation of his client’s confidential information.
- Benton obtained dismissal on behalf of a hospital in a case brought by a former employee alleging race discrimination and hostile work environment. The case was filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina, and Benton succeeded in getting the case dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6) without the need to for our client to answer the lawsuit.
- Benton represented a former employee of a software company in a lawsuit by his former employer alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of a covenant not to compete. After engaging in extensive discovery, Benton was able to negotiate an unqualified dismissal of the case by showing that his client had breached no duties owed to his former employer.
- Benton was able to obtain recovery of $75,000 on behalf of a former employee of a medical clinic who was unlawfully terminated from her employment after complaining to her supervisor about a shortage in her paycheck.
- Benton represented an employee of a publicly traded company who was denied promised severance pay when the company suddenly closed its doors and declared bankruptcy. Unable to proceed against the company due to bankruptcy, Benton pursued claims against former company executives who our client contended were responsible for making the decision not to honor the terms of her severance agreement. Benton was ultimately able to obtain recovery of more than twice the severance amount initially promised to our client.
- Benton obtained summary judgment on behalf of a long term care facility in a case of race discrimination brought against it by a former employee. Benton was able to convince the court that our client had legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for terminating the plaintiff. The plaintiff appealed the district court’s decision to the Federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the district court’s decision.
- Benton was able to obtain a $69,000 judgment on behalf of a self-insured, ERISA qualified employee benefit plan in an action filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina against a plan participant. The defendant plan participant was injured in an automobile accident, and the plan paid $69,000 in medical expenses on her behalf. The defendant pursued a personal injury claim against the driver of the vehicle who caused the accident and recovered a sizeable amount. Pursuant to the terms of the benefit plan, the defendant was obligated to pay the plan back out of the proceeds of her personal injury settlement but failed to do so. Benton filed suit under ERISA in the Eastern District of North Carolina and was successful in securing a $69,000 judgment on behalf of the plaintiff ERISA plan.
Most Recent Posts
On Jan. 19, Benton Toups, Chair of the Cranfill Sumner Employment Law Practice Group, served as a presenter for an attorney panel discussion for the 2020 Employment Law Year in Review. The panel addressed questions from the audience about the unprecedented year we just completed as well as about what we can expect as we transition into a new year, a new administration and in many ways a whole new world.… Read More
Today Cranfill Sumner proudly announced that 14 of its attorneys have been selected for inclusion in the 2021 North Carolina Super Lawyers and 2021 North Carolina Rising Stars lists.… Read More
Five Cranfill Sumner attorneys were recognized by Business North Carolina magazine as part of the magazine’s Legal Elite program. … Read More
The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) went into effect on April 1, 2020. It requires employers with fewer than 500… Read More
In May 2020, Legal Aid of North Carolina launched an effort to help North Carolinians who were struggling to pay rent and were facing eviction. Legal Aid paired available emergency financial support with a search for volunteer attorneys from across the state who could help negotiate past and future payments with landlords.… Read More
Benton Toups, a Partner at Cranfill Sumner LLP (Cranfill Sumner), presented at the “Employment Law 101” Virtual Meeting of the Lower Cape Fear Human Resources Association. The webinar was held Aug. 26.… Read More
Benton Toups led the “A Whole New World – Predicting Employment Claims in the Wake of COVID-19” webinar on Aug. 19. It was produced by the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association and Cranfill Sumner LLP.… Read More
Benton Toups, a Partner at Cranfill Sumner LLP (Cranfill Sumner), was a featured presenter at the “A Whole New World – Predicting Employment Claims in the Wake of COVID-19” webinar presented by PLAN.… Read More
“Furlough vs. layoff: Deciding between the two,” an article by Benton Toups, was featured in At Your Service, a publication of the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA). The article appears in the Spring 2020 edition of the publication.… Read More
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the most sweeping anti-discrimination law ever enacted in the United… Read More
“Furlough vs. layoff: Deciding between the two,” an article by Benton Toups, was featured in Business North Carolina magazine. The article appears in the May 2020 edition of the publication.… Read More
Bringing Employees Back – Job Offers to Maximize PPP Loan Forgiveness By Benton Toups and Zack Anstett The June 5,… Read More
Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP (Cranfill Sumner) announced the creation of its COVID-19 Response Team. The team is comprised of… Read More
Benton Toups, an attorney with Cranfill Sumner LLP (Cranfill Sumner), has been named the Chair of the Cranfill Sumner Employment Law Practice Group.… Read More
DOL Issues New Guidance on Health Care Provider and Small Business Exemptions from New Paid Leave Laws The Families First Coronavirus… Read More
On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). Relevant to employers, the… Read More
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is Signed Into Law On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the… Read More
As restaurants close dine-in service for guests, restaurant owners and operators might consider offering delivery service during these unprecedented times.… Read More
We are in uncharted territory. Life in America, and many other places around the world, is essentially on hold. Children are out… Read More
Today Cranfill Sumner LLP (Cranfill Sumner) proudly announced that 11 of its attorneys have been selected for inclusion in the 2020 North Carolina Super Lawyers and 2020 North Carolina Rising Stars lists.… Read More
Seven Cranfill Sumner LLP (Cranfill Sumner) attorneys were recognized by Business North Carolina magazine as part of the magazine’s Legal Elite program.… Read More
On September 24, 2019, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that the final version of the new overtime rule was… Read More
Benton Toups served as the featured presenter of the September meeting of the Lower Cape Fear HR Association. The meeting was held Sept. 17 at the Hampton Inn-Medical Park in Wilmington.… Read More
Benton Toups participated in a panel discussion at the 2019 Wilmington Regional Safety and Health School on July 24. The panel discussed “Post Injury Return to Work Issues: Managing Compliance in the Intersection between ADA, FMLA, WC, EEOC and Privacy Laws.”… Read More
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is seeking to change the criteria for so-called “white collar” exemptions, the most common… Read More
Today Cranfill Sumner LLP (Cranfill Sumner) proudly announced that 21 of its attorneys have been selected for inclusion in the 2019 North Carolina Super Lawyers and 2019 North Carolina Rising Stars lists.… Read More
Six Cranfill Sumner LLP (Cranfill Sumner) attorneys were recognized by Business North Carolina magazine as part of the magazine’s Legal Elite program.… Read More