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Paul M. Huston

Associate

PMHuston@mintz.com

+1.858.314.1549

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Paul is an accomplished employment litigator and counselor. Representing clients from around the world, he has developed a particular expertise in employee mobility issues, including disputes relating to trade secrets, unfair competition, and restrictive covenants. Paul’s work has created new case law clarifying the enforceability of restrictive covenants, particularly against individuals working for California employers.

Paul represents both employers and executives in a broad spectrum of employment disputes, including matters involving breach of contract, sexual harassment, disability discrimination, and Equal Pay Act claims. Paul also has significant experience litigating large wage and hour class actions and PAGA representative actions. His practice encompasses all stages of administrative, trial court, and appellate litigation.

In addition to representing clients in litigation and before administrative agencies, Paul counsels clients on pre-litigation matters and risk mitigation, partnering with them to create and implement compliance best practices that best align with the organization’s business needs and HR strategies. He has significant experience in contract formation, independent contractor agreements, executive employment agreements, arbitration agreements, and class action waivers.

Experience

  • Representing an international energy company, Paul crafted briefs that resulted in the dismissal of federal non-compete claims against Filipino workers in California and ultimately a published decision stating there is no “trade secret exception” to the ban on non-competes in California. (Northern District of California)
  • After a two-week jury trial, Paul and the defense trial team obtained a full defense jury verdict in a defamation suit brought by a former employee against a third-party defendant whose statements to the employer allegedly resulted in the employee’s termination. (San Diego Superior Court)
  • Representing an executive and the executive’s new employer, Paul and the Mintz team successfully obtained summary judgment on non-competition claims, creating new published case law relating to the enforceability of foreign choice of law clauses against California workers. (Chancery Court of Delaware)
  • In a disability discrimination case, Paul and the Mintz defense team obtained terminating sanctions against a former employee, and subsequently an award of defendant’s attorneys’ fees, after discovering the employee’s intentional destruction of evidence during litigation and unsuccessful attempt to conceal the same. (Los Angeles Superior Court)
  • In a suit by a former employer against its former executive and the executive’s new technology start-up, Paul and the Mintz defense team obtained dismissal of trade secret theft claims and successfully defeated related discovery motions. (Southern District of California)
  • Representing an international medical company, Paul and the Mintz defense team obtained summary judgment against an employee’s federal age discrimination and breach of contract claims after the employee was terminated for poor performance and alleged that the employer had a policy requiring progressive discipline. (Central District of California)
  • Negotiated various favorable settlements and broad liability releases while representing transportation companies during the yearslong “Port Trucking” litigation in Los Angeles, including after weeks-long trials before the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. (Los Angeles Superior Court)
  • Representing a surgeon’s office, Paul worked with forensic experts to uncover evidence that led to the defense team negotiating a nothing-paid full dismissal of an employee’s frivolous harassment and retaliation claims after internal due diligence revealed the employee had apparently stolen company trade secrets. (San Diego Superior Court)
  • Drafted the briefs that led to the dismissal of trade secret claims against a nationwide staffing agency for failure to accurately specify what protectable trade secrets had been allegedly taken. (Southern District of California)
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viewpoints

Cal/OSHA Revised Guidance Effective January 14, 2022

January 13, 2022 | Blog | By Nicole Rivers, Paul Huston, Jennifer Rubin

Cal/OSHA revised its Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”) following its mid-December meeting and, more recently, made additional revisions to align with the California Department of Public Health’s recommendations.
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(Updated) A Comprehensive Breakdown of OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination Rule

January 12, 2022 | Blog | By Michael Arnold, Jennifer Rubin, David Barmak, Corbin Carter, Evan Piercey, Danielle Bereznay, Danielle Dillon, Nicole Rivers, Paul Huston, Emma Follansbee

Read Mintz’s comprehensive analysis of OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard pertaining to workplace COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements for employers with 100 or more employees.
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Citing the presence of the Omicron variant in California and the heightened transmission risks surrounding the holiday season, the California Department of Public Health has instituted an indoor masking mandate for public settings effective December 15, 2021 and continuing through January 15, 2022.
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In 2019, the California legislature passed AB 51, a law prohibiting employers from requiring employees to agree to arbitration as a condition of employment. Before the law went into effect, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—a coalition of employers—challenged the law in federal court, arguing that it violated the Federal Arbitration Act (the “FAA”).
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Bonuses and their impact on an employee’s “regular rate of pay” have long been a proverbial thorn in the side of California employers.  The nondiscretionary nature of most bonuses (even those bonuses employers attempt to characterize as “discretionary”) makes them part of a non-exempt employee’s regular rate of pay for purposes of determining the appropriate overtime rate. Cal. Labor Code § 226 requires all hourly rates of pay to be reflected in employees’ pay statements.  The ambiguity surrounding the extent to which this “hourly rate of pay” includes bonuses in all of their various forms and the related overtime adjustments can sometimes leave employers feeling uncertain as to how to ensure compliant paystubs when nondiscretionary bonuses are paid to non-exempt employees. A recent decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals offered some clarity. 



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Conference Recordings: Mintz's Annual Employment Law Summit

March 12, 2021 | Webinar | By Michael Arnold, David Barmak, Micha Mitch Danzig, Geri Haight, Andrew Matzkin, David Lagasse, Jennifer Rubin, Alexander Hecht, Danielle Bereznay, Delaney Busch, Corbin Carter, Emma Follansbee, Natalie C. Groot, Paul Huston, Brendan Lowd, Nicole Rivers, Richard Block

Mintz’s Annual Employment Law Summit brought together thought leaders to discuss the most pressing issues employers are facing in today’s unprecedented work environment. Attendees heard presentations on the continued impact of COVID-19; social justice and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives; recent and anticipated changes to employment laws; and best practices for managing sensitive employee situations.
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The cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose have each adopted paid sick leave measures to assist workers not covered by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act during the COVID-19 crisis.
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Late Thursday evening California Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20 (the “Order”), which directs all California residents to stay home in light of the developing COVID-19 public health crisis. The Order states that except as necessary to continue the operations of businesses in the 16 “Critical Infrastructure” industries, all residents should leave their residence only as necessary for food or medical needs.
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As part of the continuing effort to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Newsom has issued an Executive Order temporarily modifying the California WARN Act requirements for employers engaging in mass layoffs.
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Judge Kimberly Mueller of the District Court for the Eastern District of California today granted Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction against AB 51. Judge Mueller indicated in her order that she would issue a detailed ruling explaining her decision at a later date, but for now, the State of California is prohibited from enforcing California’s ban on the arbitration of employment claims. Stay tuned for a more detailed analysis following Judge Mueller’s upcoming written decision.
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News & Press

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Mintz attorneys Mitch Danzig, Jennifer Rubin, and Paul Huston co-authored a Law360 expert analysis article examining the recent Executive Order issued by President Biden aimed at non-compete agreements and how the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)'s interpretation of the order could impact employers nationwide.
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Mintz Associate Paul M. Huston authored an expert analysis article published by Law360’s Employment Authority that examined the issue of whether an employer may discipline an employee for off-duty conduct, and to what extent, specifically in the context of the Capitol riot and COVID-19 pandemic.
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On August 26, the Delaware Chancery Court granted partial summary judgement in favor of Alphatec Holdings, Inc. (Alphatec), a medical device company dedicated to revolutionizing the approach to spine surgery, and its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Miles, in litigation brought against Mr. Miles and Alphatec by competitor, NuVasive, Inc. based on any claims that Mr. Miles breached the non-competition and employee non-solicitation provisions in his employment agreement with NuVasive.

Banning the Box

May 29, 2018

This feature article discusses a California state law aiming to help those with a criminal record secure employment opportunities by changing how companies vet employment applications. Mintz’s Paul Huston is quoted in the piece discussing what employers need to know to avoid legal complications.
A team of Mintz attorneys – Member Dan Pascucci and Associate Paul Huston – authored this column discussing how the landscape surrounding microtransactions in video games continues to evolve at a pace outstripping the law’s ability to keep up.
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Recognition & Awards

  • Best Lawyers of America Ones to Watch - Litigation - Labor and Employment (2020-2023); Labor and Employment Law - Management (2023)
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Paul M. Huston

Associate

San Diego