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Joseph D. Garrison

Partner

Joseph D. Garrison

Biography

Since founding Garrison, Levin-Epstein in 1977, Joseph Garrison has become the leading employment lawyer in Connecticut and one of the most prominent employee rights advocates in the United States. His current practice draws upon his vast experience as a trial lawyer and negotiator, and combines the representation of individuals in litigation with an expanding focus on mediation and arbitration.

Joe has received virtually every award and honor available to a trial lawyer. Since 2007, he has been ranked as one of the top 10 Connecticut Super Lawyers, as voted by his 20,000 fellow lawyers in the state. In the 2011 rankings, Joe had the highest point total of any lawyer in Connecticut; in 2012, 2013, and 2014, he had the second-highest. In addition, for the past 25 years, Joe has been listed in the Best Lawyers in America, which includes only the top 5% of lawyers in their respective fields. Because of his jury trial work, Joseph Garrison is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Board of Trial Advocates, invitation-only organizations representing the nation’s most experienced and distinguished trial lawyers.

As a standard-bearer for the plaintiff’s employment bar, Joe served for three years as President of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) and for 15 years on NELA’s Executive Board. He is now NELA’s representative to the Federal Rules Advisory Committee, the legislative body charged with drafting the procedural rules for the nation’s federal courts. He was a Charter Fellow in the Board of Governors of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and later served as its national President. And as an elected member of the American Law Institute (ALI), Joe has been substantially involved in drafting the highly-influential Restatement (Third) of Employment Law, which was published in 2014.

For the past 10 years, Joe has increasingly acted as a mediator and arbitrator of employment and commercial cases. Since 2009, he has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Arbitration Association (AAA). Joe’s ADR docket ranges from significant multi-plaintiff cases, including class actions, to individual lawsuits involving discrimination, breach of contract, or other claims. His experience with mediation and arbitration has further enhanced his ability to represent clients at all levels of employment in negotiations and other settlement processes.

Joseph Garrison is a nationally-known speaker and a frequent author on the topics of employment law and alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Among many other publications, he edited the Connecticut Employment Law Form book, published by the Connecticut Law Tribune. Recently, he was a contributing editor for the ADR in Employment Law, 2017 Supplement, published by the American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law and Bloomberg Law’s Book Division.

Representative Matters

  • Bowens v. CRT Capital Group
    Successfully represented an investment professional in an arbitration under the rules of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). When the defendant, a Connecticut-based hedge fund, recruited our client, it guaranteed him the opportunity to earn the deferred compensation that he forfeited by leaving his then-employer to join the defendant fund. The defendant terminated our client without cause, thus depriving him of a meaningful opportunity to earn that compensation. Our client claimed breaches of his contract and the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The arbitrators awarded our client approximately $3 million in damages.
  • Arthur Rosenfield v. Yale University
    Dr. Rosenfield had been disciplined and demoted because of his patient care advocacy. After a seven-week trial, a jury awarded both compensatory and punitive damages, which eventually totaled approximately $6.3 million. See the coverage in the New York Times.
  • Sol Hicks v. Chesebrough-Ponds
    Race discrimination case on behalf of African-American lead chemist who was wrongly accused of misconduct by his white co-workers. The all-white jury awarded $600,000, almost all in emotional distress damages.
  • Michael Kuselias v. SNET
    Wrongful termination and defamation case resulting in jury award of $580,000 for infliction of emotional distress and damage to reputation.
  • Kim Persky v. Cendant Corp.
    Interference with rights under Connecticut and federal family medical leave laws when employer refused to restore client to her previous position and failed to find any equivalent job. The Connecticut Supreme Court affirmed the Connecticut Department of Labor’s award of $500,000 and affirmed an employee-friendly burden of proof in this case of first impression.
  • Maria D’Ullise-Cupo v. Notre Dame High School
    Persuaded the Connecticut Supreme Court to recognize a new cause of action in Connecticut employment law — the tort of negligent misrepresentation.
  • Brian Smith v. Cox Radio
    Arbitration award of contract damages and $300,000 for defamation to high-profile morning radio talk show host. The award was affirmed in state court.

Representative Speaking Engagements

  • How To Do Good Work & Do Well, National Employment Lawyers Association Virtual Convention (July 2020)
  • Mediation From The Defense & Insurance Perspective, National Employment Lawyers Association Annual Conference (June 2019)

Representative Publications

Client Experiences

Words cannot adequately express my appreciation for your recent assistance in a personal legal matter. Your professionalism, sensitive response to my concern and the support of your office provided me with the sense of advocacy that significantly reduced the stress I was experiencing. The successful resolution of my concern would not have been achieved without your support and guidance. — C.S., West Haven, CT

During a very difficult employment situation, I was referred to Joe Garrison. Recognizing the volatile and time sensitive nature of my employment situation, Mr. Garrison met with me immediately (on the weekend no less). He listened to the details of my case, was able to think through possible creative solutions to offer the employer, and was responsive to my myriad of questions. As the situation escalated, I always felt Mr. Garrison was patient and tried to support me fully. He understood my concerns about litigation versus settlement, and he worked to find the best resolution possible. He was sympathetic to my situation and recognized that it had spun out of my control; he gave careful advice that recognized my history of good work. I am grateful to have had his support at a very difficult time. — J.C., New Haven, CT

A family member had a serious employment problem, and we knew we needed compassion, support, and understanding. We thought immediately of Joe Garrison to help us. He handled our case not only with expert legal advice resulting in a positive outcome, but also with unmatched emotional support, warmth, and compassion, for which we are ever grateful. — S.S., Orange, CT

Joe Garrison is a true professional and champion for his clients. Although he empathizes with the emotional challenges his clients face during a case, he never takes his eyes off the facts and provides clear, concise direction and counseling in order to attain fair and realistic results. He is a master at setting priorities and knowing exactly when to take action to protect his clients’ best interests. Based on my experience, Joe Garrison is the best of the best in his field. — L.H., Oxford, CT

For an uncomfortable and painful situation requiring an employment lawyer, Joe Garrison came very highly recommended. Never having needed the services of a lawyer before, I was apprehensive. But Attorney Garrison was respectful, listened attentively, asked questions, offered suggestions, and guided me to a fair resolution. He was professional, accessible, empathetic, and understanding throughout the process, always providing options and answering my questions. — C.W., Westport, CT

Attorney Garrison’s years of legal experience, knowledge, professional awards, and recognitions are a testimony to his legal stature. As I worked through an employment case with Attorney Garrison, I found him to be very respectful, attentive, accessible, and responsive. He is able to always see the big picture in the myriad of complicated detail. He is a patient listener who is willing to answer questions and is skilled at providing excellent guidance, which happily led to a successful outcome. I am very fortunate to have worked with Attorney Garrison and will remain grateful for his pleasant and professional counsel. — D.P., East Haven, CT

Blog Posts

News

August 20th, 2020 Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti Partners Named to Best Lawyers in America for 2021

June 10th, 2020 Remote Court Proceedings Useful in Emergencies, Lawyers Say

June 8th, 2020 Workers Insist Yale’s Wellness Program Not Really ‘Voluntary’

March 2nd, 2020 Workers Say Yale’s Wellness Policy Violates Bias Laws

February 19th, 2020 Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti Files Complaint Against Wells Fargo

November 1st, 2019 Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C. ranked in 2020 “Best Law Firms”

October 24th, 2019 Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti Attorneys Named 2019 Super Lawyers

August 15th, 2019 Nina T. Pirrotti Named Best Lawyers 2020 “Lawyer of the Year” for Employment Law – Individuals

July 17th, 2019 Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C. and AARP File Lawsuit Against Yale University

July 16th, 2019 Workers Sue Yale Over Wellness Program’s Fines

April 24th, 2019 Four Garrison, Levin-Epstein Partners Selected to Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers Guide for 2019

October 18th, 2018 Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti Attorneys Named 2018 Super Lawyers

August 22nd, 2018 Partners Joseph Garrison and Stephen Fitzgerald Selected to Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers Guide

August 21st, 2018 Partners Joseph Garrison & Joshua Goodbaum Publish Chapter on Employment Damages

August 15th, 2018 Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti Partners Named 2019 Best Lawyers in America

April 13th, 2018 Attorneys Joseph Garrison, Nina Pirrotti, and Amanda DeMatteis named Fellows of the American Bar Foundation

November 10th, 2017 Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti Turns 40

November 1st, 2017 Garrison, Levin-Epstein Receives “Best Law Firm” Honors From U.S. News & World Report

October 27th, 2017 Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti Lawyers Recognized for Their Work

June 28th, 2016 Joe Garrison Publishes on the Restatement of Employment Law

April 19th, 2016 Joe Garrison & Josh Goodbaum Publish on Employment Damages

October 1st, 2015 Every Garrison, Levin-Epstein Lawyer Recognized by Super Lawyers

August 18th, 2015 Every Garrison, Levin-Epstein Partner Recognized by Best Lawyers in America

June 30th, 2015 Joe Garrison Honored for Professional Excellence

December 16th, 2014 Thoughts on Mediating Employment Cases

November 19th, 2014 Hillhouse High School Principal Kermit Carolina issues apology, settles defamation suit

October 27th, 2014 All Five Garrison, Levin-Epstein Partners Selected as Connecticut Super Lawyers (Once Again)

September 8th, 2014 Four Partners Re-Elected to Best Lawyers, Including Two “Lawyers of the Year”

October 16th, 2013 Suit: Hotel wanted to hike rates after Sandy

Joseph D. Garrison

Since founding Garrison, Levin-Epstein in 1977, Joe Garrison has become the leading employment lawyer in Connecticut and one of the most prominent employee rights advocates in the United States.

Client Experiences

During a very difficult employment situation, I was referred to Joe Garrison. Recognizing the volatile and time sensitive nature of my employment situation, Mr. Garrison met with me immediately (on the weekend no less). He listened to the details of my case, was able to think through possible creative solutions to offer the employer, and was responsive to my myriad of questions. He understood my concerns about litigation versus settlement, and he worked to find the best resolution possible. I am grateful to have had his support at a very difficult time. —J.C., New Haven, CT

Ethan Levin-Epstein represented me during a most painful and challenging crisis in my personal and professional life. Seeing me within 24 hours of being referred, his support and advocacy, wisdom and clarity not only resulted in a favorable negotiated outcome for me and for my family, but gave me peace of mind and the courage to recover. I am very grateful to have met Ethan and his team and would refer anyone in need to this haven. — C.L., Guilford, CT

You will never meet a more knowledgeable and compassionate professional than Steve Fitzgerald. My employment situation was very complex, and Attorney Fitzgerald kept me focused while remaining extremely adept and “thinking on his feet.” Should the need present itself again, I would never seek anyone else’s counsel regarding employment issues. I cannot recommend him highly enough. — J.R., New Haven, CT

Nina Pirrotti provided outstanding legal advice and was trustworthy, dependable, and responsive. From the start, I was confident that her knowledge and experience would obtain favorable results. On a more personal note, I enjoyed working with her and her staff and felt I was included in every part of the process. The dedication, concern, and interest in me as a client was greatly appreciated, and Nina has earned my highest recommendation. — J.H., Monroe, CT

I recently found myself in need of a lawyer in handling a dispute with my former employer. I was fortunate to retain Josh Goodbaum as my legal counsel. His legal skills knowledge and professionalism shone through in every step of the process resulting in a very positive result. I highly recommend Josh if you find yourself in need of legal counsel. — S.R., Guilford, CT

When I go to a lawyer for advice, I am usually anxious, particularly the first meeting. Amanda DeMatteis was clear in describing my options and immediately set me at ease. Realistic assessment is important, and Amanda was clear as to how to set up the case and the direction she felt we should go. I had total confidence in her abilities and knew I was being well represented against a large corporation. More importantly, we were successful! —N.M., Haddam, CT

Proven Results & Personalized Attention When You Need It Most

American Law Institute Super Lawyers American College of Trial Lawyers Best Lawyers The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
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