Kevin E. Byrnes
Kevin E. Byrnes is an experienced civil and criminal trial attorney and current member of the Virginia and District of Columbia Bar. He is a graduate of the Catholic University of America, Columbia School of Law and was first licensed to practice law in 1985. Kevin has worked as a Judge Advocate in U.S. Navy, an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia, a line attorney with the Department of Justice, and has been in private practice since 2001 in both small and large firm settings.
Kevin has effectively handled criminal and civil investigations of law enforcement personal charged with misconduct, use of excessive force, misuse of property, violations of policy and procedures, matters affecting their ability to testify in court, security clearance and access issues, alleged failures to mention evidence or follow rules and procedures and tort liability issues out of their employment.
Kevin, a veteran himself, represents active duty and drilling combat veterans and with private groups like the VFW to address issues ranging from medical and psychological treatment for such persons by the VA, by private physicians and by employers, to strengthening protections accorded under USERRA, particularly as it relates to drilling reservists, in order to provide military members the same protections as other civil rights laws.
He has also represented law enforcement agents who have claims against their employers for age, race, sex and disability discrimination, workmen’s compensation and physical and mental disability issues, conditions related to post traumatic stress disorder, depression and fitness for duty examinations and to disability and law enforcement retirement issues and benefits.
Kevin has represented federal law enforcement agents involved in high profile cases in Agencies as diverse as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Treasury, United States Marshals service, State Department, Department of Agriculture, various Inspector General Officer, Federal Police, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Homeland Security and General Services Administration.
Kevin has also represented Medical and Dental Professionals on virtually every aspect of their personal and professional practice, ranging from the purchase or sale of a practice, to internal practice disputes, employment and patient matters and land and other investments made by Doctors and Dentists. He also addresses licensing, ethics and standards of practice issues before various Boards of Medicine for such professionals and their corporate entities. In addition, Kevin also handles office space, quality, land ownership and investment matters.
Kevin has litigated Construction, Real Estate, Commercial Leasing, Trademark, Copyright, Estate claims and Social Media Defamation matters. He has attended over 50 arbitrations and mediation and is skilled in all aspects of trial and settlement strategy.
Kevin also handles a wide variety of business and contract disputes. He has litigated and defended claims ranging from breaches or validity of employment agreements and their non-competition, non-disclosure and non-solicitation clauses. Kevin has also litigated, mediated, arbitrated and tried cases before judges, juries and arbitrators and mediators that involve, business torts, defamation, interference with business, misappropriation of trade secrets, computer crimes and computer based torts, securities violations, business conspiracies, trademark matters, partnership disputes, business dissolution claims. breaches of contract, breaches of fiduciary duties and fraud in both state and federal courts.
Federal Court Protects Rights of Military Reservist
FH+H Partner Kevin Byrnes successfully appealed a ruling by a Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) Administrative Judge excluding evidence of anti-military bias on the part of the employer, a ruling that resulted in the MSPB denying our client all relief.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated the evidentiary ruling. Read the Court of Appeal’s Opinion.
The military reservist was litigating several claims before the MSPB, including claims of non-promotion due to anti-military bias. Rather than admit all relevant evidence – as the Administrative Judge should have done – she repeatedly stopped counsel from discussing or questioning agency witnesses about a key piece of evidence. In the end, the Administrative Judge denied all claims – providing no relief.
The Federal Circuit agreed with the argument offed by Byrnes and Leahey that the evidence in question was relevant and its exclusion was an abuse of discretion by the Administrative Judge. Opinion, page 5.
The case will go back to the MSPB for further proceedings, where an Administrative Judge will be required to comply with the Federal Circuit’s opinion, allow the introduction of all relevant evidence, and issue a new decision. Our client will get another – better – chance at justice.
“Unfortunately, both in the public and private sector, many military reservists face hostility, limited job prospects, and termination simply because of their commitment to our nation’s Armed Forces,” Byrnes said. “This firm is dedicated to eradicating discrimination, retaliation, and reprisal against current and former members of the Armed Forces, and we will continue to strongly advocate their rights.”
Winning isn’t easy, but skilled advocates make a difference. In line with FH+H’s history and commitment to members of the Armed Forces, our firm has an extensive practice related to USERRA.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), is a federal law that protects employees from being discriminated against based on their current or prior uniformed military service.
Led by Byrnes, FH+H’s USERRA practice group helps government and private sector employees who are current or past members of the Armed Forces on matters related to their employment.
FH+H Successfully Settles LLC Business Dispute in One-Day Mediation
FH+H Partner Kevin Byrnes successfully mediated the resolution of a dispute involving LLC members who had a falling out over the operation of a restaurant that had earned a national award for the authenticity of its food and decor.
In what could have been a contorted and prolonged case between former business partners, Byrnes was able to secure a favorable settlement in one day that ended an acrimonious dispute and allowed the litigants to go their separate ways while avoiding the time and expense of a protracted trial that could have jeopardized the continuity of the business. Instead, the parties concluded on a buyout that left the reputation and standing of the business intact, while allowing the minority member to have their interest purchased at an amount agreeable to them.
Both the mediator and the clients expressed gratitude for the efforts of FH+H. The managing members immediately commented that they felt a heavy burden had been lifted and were happy to put the matter behind them.
FH+H routinely handles similar business disputes and litigation before courts, mediators, and arbitrators in both state and federal court.
FH+H Defends Military Reservist Who Was Denied Promotions
In a case brought by federal law enforcement officers against their employers, Partner Kevin Byrnes filed several actions and appeals against a federal agency for consistently mistreating Military Reservists on promotional and career advancement opportunities within the agency.
FH+H lawyers have argued that numerous Reservists in the agency were subject to anti-military animus and subject to retaliation and reprisal after he submitted evidence establishing what they submitted claims under the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
The supervisors against whom the clients brought the complaint repeatedly failed to promote them, investigated the employees for making complaints and assigned the employees menial assignments.
Client Denied Promotion in Ethnic and Religious Discrimination Case
FH+H Partner Kevin Byrnes is currently litigating a case of ethnic and religious discrimination for a federal employee who was denied a promotion.
The client, who is of Mexican descent, was repeatedly attacked because of her ethnicity. For example, on the first day of her employment, she found an oversized sombrero in her office.
The employee was then passed over for promotion, for a position to which she was eminently qualified for an employee who claimed to be a clergy member, and who ministered to the recommending supervisor, who apparently shared his religious faith.
During the discovery phase of the case, it was further revealed that the selectee and the recommending supervisor had exchanged emails professing their love for one another.
The case is currently being litigated before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Partner Kevin Byrnes Prevails in Discrimination Case Involving Federal Employee
A federal employee was cleared of all allegations of wrongdoing, including creating a hostile work environment and misuse of government equipment, after FH+H Partner Kevin Byrnes presented evidence that religious discrimination was the motivating factor behind complaints by fellow employees.
The client, a practicing Muslim, is a former Marine and converted to Islam when he served in combat in Afghanistan. In his civilian position, he participated in daily prayers, grew a beard, and supported the local Mosque and the Islamic community on the military installation where he worked.
Relying on strained accusations that the employee was too harsh on subordinates and created a “hostile work environment”, subordinates made allegations that the employee had engaged in misuse of government equipment, threats, and harassment. The employee was recommended for suspension and placed under investigation by the Inspector General.
Byrnes’ opposed the personnel action and the IG inquiry. In submissions to the agency, Byrnes presented compelling evidence that the employee had been subject to discrimination, harassment, and reprisal for his religious practices. Thanks to Byrnes, the employee was cleared of all claims of wrongdoing by the Inspector General. His proposed adverse action was mitigated, nevertheless, believing there was no basis for any charge, Byrnes filed an Equal Employment Opportunity claim for the employee, which is pending.
Partner Kevin Byrnes Defends U.S. Army Doctor Against Being Fired
FH+H Partner Kevin Byrnes successfully defended a U.S. Army civilian doctor against a termination action by his agency, by establishing that the doctor’s medical condition was responsible for what had been perceived as misconduct and by showing that the agency had engaged in numerous due process and procedural violations in bringing its action.
Rather than being fired, the client received a minor punishment for what was in effect an oversight on certain travel submissions and was cleared of more extensive charges of fraud and false statement. He also preserved his medical license and referred his own treatment to the Inspector General.
FH+H Defends FBI Whistleblower Before Congress
Partner Kevin Byrnes assisted an FBI Intelligence Analyst who resigned from his position after being harassed for reporting a lack of concern by the Agency over possible terrorist activity in the Balkans.
Since there is no legislation that allows FBI personnel to pursue whistleblower claims in any judicial or administrative forum, the only remedy for a whistleblower is to appeal the matter to the Bureau or seek Congressional intervention.
In this instance, the whistleblower resigned his position after a prolonged effort to first silence him, then impose discipline, and finally attack his security clearance.
After the employee was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Agency, he resigned under protest of a hostile work environment.
Byrnes assisted the employee in drafting a comprehensive letter detailing the employee’s concerns about the resurgence of terrorist groups in the Balkans. The matter is subject to Congressional inquiry at this time.
FH+H Negotiates Hard-Fought Resolution to Race- and Disability-Based Discrimination
In a matter involving an Equal Employment Opportunity failure to provide a reasonable accommodation claim against a component of the Department of Justice, Partner Kevin Byrnes successfully negotiated the resolution of a race- and disability-based claim involving the denial of telecommuting and other accommodations to a disabled veteran.
The agency initially denied any misconduct and litigated the case aggressively until the eve of a hearing before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Upon submission of initial discovery, the agency agreed to a settlement that also involved payment of attorneys’ fees and emotional distress damages.
Partner Kevin Byrnes Defends Property Owner with Brain Inflammation Caused by Adjoining Building’s Construction
In a case involving a property owner who suffered brain inflammation due to an error in the neighboring building’s redevelopment, FH+H Partner Kevin Byrnes and his client obtained a six-figure verdict against the developer who negligently discharged water on the owner’s property, which resulted in harmful mold growth.
Medical testimony established that the client suffered brain inflammation and loss of employment due to mold that developed from a broken waterspout, which the developer failed to correct despite several complaints from the homeowner.
Byrnes presented physical evidence and medical testimony at trial to prove the mold was caused by the activities of the developer, and he established wage loss as well as pain and suffering on the homeowners’ behalf, which led the court to impose punitive damages of approximately twice the compensatory damages.
Partner Kevin Byrnes Protects Executive’s Position in Age Discrimination Case
In an age discrimination suit that was resolved through mediation, FH+H Partner Kevin Byrnes obtained a highly favorable settlement that addressed the issue of whether the executive should be treated as an employee under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), rather than an agent or independent contractor.
After successfully arguing that the individual, who also served as the general counsel of the organization, worked primarily as an employee, the parties agreed to a severance compensation package and lifetime achievement award.
Byrnes effectively presented evidence that the termination violated the District of Columbia Human Rights Act. The matter was settled after federal suit was filed.
Partner Kevin Byrnes Protects Army Physician from Unauthorized Termination
FH+H Partner Kevin Byrnes successfully represented an army physician who suffered a traumatic brain injury against job termination for errors in travel submissions.
In an action involving an experienced physician who suffered a work-related injury, Byrnes blunted an effort to terminate the physician based on issues related to the physician’s recall of events, which was affected by his traumatic brain injury that occurred in a workplace-related accident.
Byrnes successfully argued that the conduct was related to the physical impairment, and the employer should mitigate punishment, since the conduct was disability related and out of the ordinary for what was otherwise an unblemished career.
Partner Kevin Byrnes Helps Contest Improper Fitness for Duty Examination
FH+H Partner Kevin Byrnes helped a federal law enforcement agent reach settlement in a case involving the agent’s supervisor subjecting them to an improper fitness for duty examination.
The client said their supervisor made inappropriate comments about when the client would retire. When the client protested the comments, the supervisor retaliated, which culminated in the improper fitness for duty examination.
The supervisor argued that the client has a physical injury that made them unable to do their job. It was decided, however, that the client’s physical injury was not incapacitating.
The client argued to the EEOC that the examination violated the Rehabilitation Act and was part of a retaliatory scheme.
During the pendency of the claims, the agent reached mandatory retirement. The supervisor then settled for backpay and a partial payment of attorney’s fees.
Partner Kevin Byrnes Defends Federal Employee Facing a Security Clearance Denial
FH+H Partner Kevin Byrnes successfully defended a federal employee facing a security clearance denial based on the employee allegedly failing to report prior alcohol-related incidents in their security questionnaire.
The employee did not report several prior alcohol-related incidents on their SF-86 Security Questionnaire. Byrnes helped the employee provide written and oral statements to explain that the employee thought the juvenile matters has been expunged and did not need to be reported.
The denial was overturned, and the employee was able to obtain the security clearance.
Partner Kevin Byrnes Helps Challenge the Completion of a Construction Contract
In a recent arbitration, FH+H Partner Kevin Byrnes prevailed on behalf of a private daycare against a construction company that failed to complete work under a service contract.
The daycare wanted to improve the quality of the school under a D.C. set-aside program that provided loans for just that purpose, but the contractor failed to complete the work in a timely fashion and left the worksite unclean.
The contractor said the daycare’s requirement that the company not work during facility hours caused the delay and denied that the workers failed to maintain the cleanliness of the worksite.
The daycare facility presented pictures and text messages to confirm that the contractor had lacked diligence in the set work schedule and had left the conditions of the facility unsafe for the children in attendance – who were as young as six months.
The arbitrator rejected the contractor’s defenses, awarding the daycare with damages to complete the project and handle cleaning fees and the costs of arbitration.