Valparaiso University School of Law, J.D., 1994, summa cum laude
Franklin College, B.A., 1991, summa cum laude
U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
U.S. District Court, Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana
Debbie grew up watching her father practice law and saw how he helped people resolve their problems. He inspired her to become a lawyer and he still inspires her today more than 25 years into her own career.
Debbie advises and defends clients in various industries, including financial institutions, health care and general corporate. With a particular focus on employment litigation and counseling, Debbie represents management in a variety of matters, including defending clients in administrative proceedings and against discrimination, wage and hour violations and retaliation claims. She has obtained numerous favorable summary judgment rulings in such cases. She also prosecutes and defends claims involving non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, misappropriation of trade secrets, and other forms of unfair competition. She defends collective and class actions, including FLSA collective actions. She also has versatility in a wide range of other commercial litigation matters, including shareholder, contract and other business disputes, antitrust issues, financial institution liability, fiduciary liability, and securities fraud.
Debbie also assists employers with compliance and employment issues under federal, state and local law, including Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FLSA, FMLA, and WARN. She counsels and assists employers in investigations stemming from employee misconduct and employee complaints under federal and state statutes. She regularly reviews, revises and drafts employee handbooks, employment policies and procedures, employment agreements, severance and retention agreements, non-compete and non-solicitation agreements and other employment related documents.
Debbie has handled numerous appeals before state and federal courts. She is the author of a number of published appellate opinions and has presented oral argument to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Debbie has jury and bench trial experience. Recognizing that trials involve risk and expense, clients sometimes prefer a form of alternative dispute resolution and, she often represents clients in mediation and arbitration. She also represents employers in proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, among other agencies.
- Selected to the Indiana Super Lawyers "Rising Star" List: 2009
- Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ rated
Memberships & Involvement
- Member: Hancock County Bar Association; Indiana State Bar Association; Indianapolis Bar Association; Indianapolis Law Club
- Lead plaintiff's counsel, representing a large financial institution, in a week long trial in bankruptcy court. Obtained a non-dischargeability finding on a multimillion dollar judgment after establishing that the borrowing base certificates submitted by the defendant were fraudulent
- Lead counsel in complex litigation matters involving closely-held businesses, representing the business entities as well as the members or majority shareholders
- Lead counsel in various employment litigation matters, defending employers against Title VII, ADA, FMLA, and ADEA discrimination and retaliation claims
- Lead counsel in numerous litigation matters involving insurance coverage issues; successful representation of both the insurance company and the individual insureds
- Lead counsel in business litigation disputes involving breach of contract, fraud, defamation, unfair competition and other torts
- Won a Federal Court multi-million dollar judgment in favor of a large financial institution after successfully obtaining a finding of nondischargeability in a bankruptcy proceeding where the borrower was found to have submitted fraudulent borrowing base certificates
News & Press Releases
- September 2016
- May 10, 2016
Contributing Author, SmithAmundsen's Labor & Employment Law Update, a labor and employment advisory blog.
Contributing Author, Illinois Chamber of Commerce's Chamber Dispatch, an HR advisory blog.
- Illinois Chamber of Commerce, March 2021
- Hoosier Banker Magazine, March/April 2020
- Hoosier Banker Magazine, January/February 2020
- Hoosier Banker Magazine, September/October 2019
- Hoosier Banker Magazine, July/August 2019
- Hoosier Banker Magazine, May/June 2019
- Hoosier Banker Magazine, March/April 2019
- Hoosier Banker Magazine, January/February 2019
- Hoosier Banker Magazine, November/December 2018
- Compensation Reminders For Mortgage Loan OfficersHoosier Banker Magazine, September/October 2018
- Class-Action Waivers: Enforceable for Employment-Related ClaimsHoosier Banker Magazine, July/August 2018
- Sexual Harassment: Importance of Training and Effective Workplace InvestigationsHoosier Banker Magazine, May/June 2018
- Hoosier Banker Magazine, March/April 2018
- Restrictive Covenants In IndianaHoosier Banker Magazine, January/February 2018
- Hoosier Banker Magazine, November/December 2017
- ‘Ban the Box’ Ordinances Are Now BannedHoosier Banker Magazine, September/October 2017
- Severance Agreements: Avoiding Scrutiny from RegulatorsHoosier Banker Magazine, July/August 2017
- Retail Banks Being Targeted by Labor OrganizationsHoosier Banker Magazine, May/June 2017
- Beware of Antitrust Risks In the WorkplaceHoosier Banker Magazine, March/April 2017
- Suspicious Timing of Terminations Supports Retaliation ClaimHoosier Banker Magazine, January/February 2017
- SmithAmundsen, December 16, 2016