Isaac Linnartz focuses on business litigation, employment litigation, and pre-litigation dispute assessment and risk mitigation. He has experience representing companies in high stakes litigation involving complex contract disputes, corporate governance issues, trade secret and confidentiality matters, and various business torts. On the employment side, he represents employers defending against claims of discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wrongful termination, and wage and hour violations. Additionally, Isaac assists with drafting, assessing, and litigating non-compete and non-solicit provisions, including assessing enforceability and litigating requests for emergency injunctive relief.
Areas of Focus
- North Carolina Super Lawyers, Rising Stars (2014-2022)
- Best Lawyers®
- Commercial Litigation (2024)
- Litigation - Labor and Employment (2024)
- Benchmark Litigation, 40 & Under List (2018-2023)
- Benchmark Litigation, North Carolina Future Star (2024)
- Benchmark Litigation, North Carolina Labor and Employment Star (2019-2021, 2023-2024)
- Selected, North Carolina Bar Association's Leadership Academy, Class of 2016
- Executive Editor, Duke Law Journal
- Law Clerk to Chief Judge David B. Sentelle of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Washington, DC.
- Duke University, J.D., cum laude, 2009
- Order of the Coif
- Duke University Divinity School, Master of Theological Studies, summa cum laude, 2009
- Duke University, B.A., History, 2004
Bar & Court Admissions
- North Carolina
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the District of North Carolina
- North Carolina Bar Association
- Wake County Bar Association
- North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys
- Member, Board of Directors (2021)
- Chair, Ethics Committee (2019-2021)
- Chair, Commercial Litigation Practice Group (2016-2017)
- Vice Chair, Commercial Litigation Practice Group (2015-2016)
- Represented one of the nation’s largest public utilities in complex contract litigation involving a long-term supply contract. Obtained a favorable judgment on an important remedies provision of the agreement after a bench trial in the North Carolina Business Court.
- Represented an internet marketing company in bringing trade secret and breach of contract claims against public company for misappropriating trade secrets and misusing confidential information obtained during due diligence for a potential business transaction. Obtained preliminary and permanent injunctions barring the defendant from using our client’s confidential information or engaging in wrongful competition.
- Represented a publisher of telephone directories in a breach of contract case against a national telecommunications company. After a bench trial, the Court ruled in our client’s favor on all issues, issued a declaratory judgment that saved the client over $100 million, and awarded over $1.2 million in attorneys’ fees.
- Defended a bank in numerous consumer class action lawsuits around the country alleging that the bank facilitated improper lending practices.
- Represented a company and its directors and officers in defense of shareholder derivative claims filed under “say on pay” provisions of Dodd-Frank Act. Obtained dismissal of all claims in federal court.
- Defended a soft drink bottler against claims for breach of an alleged long-term requirements contract brought by cooperative of soft drink bottlers. The case was resolved by confidential settlement after a week-long trial in federal court in South Carolina.
- Defended a law firm and its former managing partner against discrimination claims asserted by a former equity partner in federal court. The trial court’s decision dismissing the complaint was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in a unanimous published opinion following oral argument.
- Defended a public utility company against whistleblower retaliation, retaliatory discharge, wrongful discharge, and wage and hour claims brought by former employee. Obtained summary judgment in federal court that was affirmed on appeal by the Fourth Circuit.
- Defended a public utility company against sex discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims brought by former employee. Obtained summary judgment in federal court that was affirmed on appeal by the Fourth Circuit.
- Defended a global provider of biopharmaceutical development services and commercial outsourcing services against sex and national origin discrimination claims brought by former pharmaceutical sales representative. The matter was favorably resolved by confidential settlement agreement.
- Defended a global provider of biopharmaceutical development services and commercial outsourcing services against national origin and pregnancy discrimination claims brought by former pharmaceutical sales representative. Obtained summary judgment in federal court in Florida.
- Defended a global provider of biopharmaceutical development services and commercial outsourcing services and supervisor against sex discrimination, disability discrimination, FMLA non-compliance, and FMLA retaliation claims brought by former pharmaceutical sales representative. The matter was mediated and favorably resolved by confidential settlement.
- Defended a community college against religious discrimination claim brought under Title VII and obtained dismissal with prejudice.
- Defended a public telecommunications company against claims of racial discrimination and retaliation brought by a former employee in federal court. Obtained dismissal with prejudice by showing through discovery that plaintiff made false representations to the court in applications to proceed in forma pauperis.
- Represented a global pharmaceutical, vaccines, and consumer health company in putative collective and class actions in Florida and New York alleging violations of federal and state wage and hour laws based on failure to pay overtime to pharmaceutical sales representatives.
- Defended a surgeon and surgical practice at trial in case alleging wrongful death. The jury returned a verdict in favor of our clients after a 9-day trial.
- Represented a tenant pro bono in a lawsuit against her landlord for retaining her security deposit after failing to deliver habitable premises. The case was tried and resulted in our client obtaining and collecting a judgment for actual damages and punitive damages.
- RecognitionBenchmark Litigation Ranks Smith Anderson “Highly Recommended” and Honors 15 Litigation and Labor and Employment Attorneys
- QuotedThe Uncertain Future of Non-Competes – WRAL Talks to Smith Anderson’s Isaac Linnartz About Proposed Ban on Non-Compete Clauses
- NewsSmith Anderson Achieves All Time Highs for Attorneys Recognized by Best Lawyers® in Three Categories
- Benchmark Litigation Ranks Smith Anderson “Highly Recommended” and Honors 15 Litigation and Labor and Employment AttorneysBenchmark LitigationRecognition
- The Uncertain Future of Non-Competes – WRAL Talks to Smith Anderson’s Isaac Linnartz About Proposed Ban on Non-Compete ClausesWRALQuoted
- Smith Anderson Achieves All Time Highs for Attorneys Recognized by Best Lawyers® in Three CategoriesBest Lawyers®News
- Smith Anderson “Highly Regarded” in Benchmark Litigation and Labor and Employment Rankings – 15 Attorneys HonoredBenchmark LitigationRecognition
- North Carolina Super Lawyers® Selects Largest Class of “Rising Stars” in Firm’s Recent History – 32 Lawyers Recognized in All!Super Lawyers
- Four Smith Anderson Employment Litigators Honored in 2021 Edition of Benchmark Litigation Labor & EmploymentBenchmark Litigation Labor & Employment
- Hitting a New Milestone - 100 Members of Smith Anderson’s Legal Team Recognized by Best Lawyers® and Best Lawyers: Ones to WatchBest Lawyers
- Law360 | Bloomberg Law | North Carolina Lawyers Weekly | South Carolina Lawyers Weekly
- North Carolina Super Lawyers® Selects 23 Smith Anderson Lawyers as 2021 Super Lawyers and Nine Additional Lawyers as Rising StarsSuper Lawyers
- Benchmark Litigation
- North Carolina Super Lawyers® Selects 24 Smith Anderson Lawyers as 2020 Super Lawyers and Nine Additional Lawyers as Rising StarsSuper Lawyers
- Benchmark Litigation Honors Smith Anderson’s Litigation and Employment Litigation Groups and 12 LawyersBenchmark Litigation
- North Carolina Super Lawyers Recognizes Forty Smith Anderson Lawyers as Super Lawyers and Rising Stars in 2019Super Lawyers
- Benchmark Litigation
- 2018 North Carolina Super Lawyers Recognizes Forty-three Smith Anderson Lawyers as Super Lawyers and Rising StarsSuper Lawyers
- Super LawyersAlert
Publications & Alerts
- The Siren Song of Interrogational Torture: Evaluating the U.S. Implementation of the U.N. Convention Against Torture, 57 Duke L.J. 1485, 2008
Events & Programming
- Panelist, "Key Developments for Multi-State Employers," Smith Anderson's 30th Annual Employment Law Update, VirtualSpeaking Engagement
- Co-Presenter, "Restrictive Covenants and Telehealth Boom," CLE presented by Smith Anderson, Winston-Salem, N.C.Speaking Engagement
- Presenter, "Top 10 Mistakes Employers Make with Non-Compete and Confidentiality Agreements," Smith Anderson 29th Annual Employment Law Update, VirtualSpeaking Engagement
- Panelist, Duke Annual Fund Alumni Career Night, Duke University School of LawDurham, N.C.Event
- Panel Moderator, "North Carolina Business Court Update," NCADA Annual MeetingHilton Head, S.C.Event
- Panelist, "Advice for a Career in Litigation," Duke University School of LawDurham, N.CEvent