Benton L. Toups is a partner in the Wilmington office of Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog.  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.

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.

Business Litigation:

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.

Representative Matters

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 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 a dismissal of the case by showing that our 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


Benton Toups Participates in Safety and Health School Panel

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


Benton Toups Featured in Greater Wilmington Business Journal

Clocking system clock

Benton Toups, Vice Chair of the Employment Law Practice Group at Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP, was recently quoted in the Greater Wilmington Business Journal. In “Harassment In The Spotlight,” Benton discusses legal issues surrounding sexual harassment in the workplace.… Read More


Benton Toups to Lead Employment Law Seminar for Hospitality Industry


Benton Toups, an attorney in the Wilmington office of Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP (CSH Law), will lead “Ten Ways to Get in Trouble with Your Employees and How to Avoid Them” on Nov. 2 from 10 a.m. to noon. The seminar will discuss how to avoid employment lawsuits in the hospitality industry as well as provide an update on state and national legislative issues. … Read More


CSH Law to Host CE By the Sea

Questions and Answers street sign

On May 20, the Wilmington office of Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP (CSH Law) will host CE By the Sea. The half-day seminar will be held 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the CSH Law office in Wilmington. Complimentary CE Credit is available for Workers’ Comp Adjusters (3 hours) and Human Resources Professionals (3 hours – pending).… Read More


CSH Law Attorneys to Address Workers’ Compensation Conference

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Benton Toups and Jennifer Morris Jones will address the North Carolina Association of Self-Insurers conference in Wrightsville Beach. The conference entitled “Cutting Costs in Workers’ Comp: New Thoughts on an Old Nemesis” is scheduled for March 30-April 1 at the Holiday Inn Resort.… Read More


N-L-R-Be Careful With Employee Handbooks

Resources CSH Law

Benton Toups, the Vice-Chair of the Employment Law practice group at Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP, was featured in the May 15 online edition of the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.… Read More


Benton Toups to Speak at Topsail Chamber Event

Benton L. Toups | Alternative Dispute Resolution Attorney Wilmington

Benton Toups addresses the Topsail Area Chamber of Commerce about “What Employers Need to Know About Labor Law” and the basics of employment laws, how they impact small businesses and the increase in statutory regulation that comes with growth.… Read More