Donald S. Smith

Attorney

Assistant: Debi A. Baugh – DBaugh@rbelaw.com

317-955-7146

Biography

Don Smith limits his practice to representing employers and executives in labor and employment matters. He defends employers in cases pending before state and federal courts, the National Labor Relations Board, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Indiana Civil Rights Commission, U. S. Dept. of Labor, OSHA, IOSHA, Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development, and Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board. Don advises employers concerning various employment issues such as employee handbooks, employment agreements, severance agreements, covenants not to compete, restrictive covenants, wrongful termination, collective bargaining, labor arbitration, unions, discrimination, harassment, wage and hour matters, unemployment compensation and worker’s compensation.

Community Activity

  • Board of Directors of the International School of Indiana, Board Member (2016 – 2019)
    • The International School of Indiana is a private school (pre-K through high school) offering language immersion in Spanish, French, and Mandarin.
  • Legal Lines (IndyBar’s Ask-A-Lawyer Program), Volunteer Attorney
    • Don answers calls from the general public through the Indianapolis Bar Associations Ask-A-Lawyer program that gives callers the opportunity to obtain legal advice free of charge.
  • North Central Football Fanatics, President (2002-2004)
    • Don renamed the North Central High School football boosters the “Football Fanatics,” led a resurgence of spirit among parents and fans, and organized events for players and their families.
  • North Central High School football, Public Address announcer (2002-2011)
    • Tapping into his penchant for sportscasting, Don was “the Voice of the Panthers” at home football games for 10 years and would surprise the crowd by using creative words to describe the action on the field.
  • Washington Township Baseball, Inc., Secretary (1999-2005); Vice President (2009-2010); President (2010-2011)
    • Don was not just a “fan in the stands.” He was actively involved in the leadership of the governing board of the high school’s baseball program.
  • Westminster Legal Ministry Chairman, (1988-2011)
    • Through its affiliation with Don’s home church, Second Presbyterian, Don headed a group of volunteer attorneys who provided legal guidance to needy families on Indy’s near Eastside.

Representative Matters

Since he started practicing law over 35 years ago, Don has limited his practice to labor and employment law. Don has extensive experience representing clients in the following industries: Credit unions, construction, insurance, manufacturing, retail, healthcare, printing, temporary labor, restaurant, and housing.

  • Prosecuted and defended numerous requests for temporary and permanent injunctions in non-compete cases on behalf of employers.
  • Defended an insurance company in employment discrimination case that set the standard for determining whether an insurance agent is an independent contractor: Knight v. United Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co., Inc., 950 F.2d 377 (7th Cir. 1991).
  • Defended county employer at trial and on appeal against wrongful discharge claim: Moulton v. Vigo Co., 150 F.3d 801 (7th Cir. 1998).
  • Represented employer in a religious discrimination case, in which employee unsuccessfully sought court intervention permitting employee to use the phrase “Have a blessed day” in the workplace: Anderson v. U.S.F. Logistics, 274 F.3d. 470 (7th Cir. 2001).
  • Represented employer in a wage case, in which the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s award of vacation pay to the employee, and enforced the employer’s written policy that vacation pay was not earned until the employee’s anniversary date: Damon Corp. v. Estes, 750 N.E.2d 891 (Ind. Ct. App. 2001).
  • Represented employer hospital in a worker’s compensation case, in which the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that the Worker’s Compensation Board lacked the statutory authority to award interest on worker’s compensation benefits, including overdue medical bills: Christopher R. Brown, DDS, Inc. v. Decatur Co. Memorial Hospital, Inc., 892 N.E.2d 642 (Ind. 2008).
  • Defended employer in a class action in a wage and hour case: Artis v. First Revenue Assurance, LLC, (1:09-cv-01555, S. D. Ind. 2009).

Publications

Presentations

  • "Navigating Uncharted Waters: Helping Employers Understand the Rules of the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act" (April 14, 2020) WATCH RECORDING
  • "Collective Bargaining,” DePauw University (January 16, 2012)
  • “Physicians’ Employment Agreements: What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You!”, Indiana University School of Medicine (April 12, 2012)
  • “Ethical Dilemmas in Worker’s Compensation,” ICLEF (November 5, 2014)
  • “The Birds and the Bees of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace,” presentations to trade groups as well as individual corporations (2016 - )
  • “Supervising in a World of Protected Categories,” presentation to ERMCO Institute (2019)

Beyond the Office

Don and his wife, Debbie, are the proud parents of three sons and the very proud grandparents of two grandsons. All three of their sons are medical doctors after attending medical school at Indiana University. Don remains a huge sports fanatic, with special interests in his Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, Indianapolis Indians, and Chicago Cubs (with whom he has played in two fantasy camps). During the college football season, Don particularly roots for DePauw, Miami (FL), and Alabama, teams he “adopted” as a result of where his sons attended school. Don recently has been struck by the “golf bug” and has been taking lessons to cure a seemingly incurable slice off the tee, but it is that “one shot” each round that keeps him coming back for more.

Awards & Recognition

  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Rated
    • Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ are the gold standard in attorney ratings. An “AV” rating is the most prestigious rating.
  • First Baptist Athletics Hall of Fame inductee (2006)
    • Don was inducted into the First Baptist Athletics Hall of Fame after coaching basketball there for years. He continues to referee youth basketball. First Baptist Athletics’ motto is “The Place for Good Sports.”
  • Indiana Super Lawyers (2004-2006 and 2009-Present)
    • Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

Associations

  • Indianapolis Bar Association
    • Chair, Labor and Employment Law Section (1993)
    • Member, Labor and Employment Law Section (1981 – Present)
  • Indiana State Bar Association
    • Chair, Labor, Employment and Benefits Law Section (2018)
    • Council Member, Labor, Employment and Benefits Law Section (2012 – Present)
    • Member, Labor, Employment and Benefits Law Section (1981 – Present)
  • American Bar Association
    • Member, Labor and Employment Law Section (1981 – Present)
  • Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana
    • President (Current)
    • Board of Directors (2013 – Present)
    • Chair, Worker’s Compensation Committee (2012)
  • Defense Research Institute
    • Member (2013 – Present)

Bar Admission

  • Indiana (1981)
  • U. S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana (1981)
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana (1981)
  • U. S. Circuit Court, Seventh Circuit (1983)
  • U. S. Circuit Court, Sixth Circuit (1983)

Education

  • Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, J.D., cum laude (1981)
  • DePauw University, B.A. Communications, cum laude (1978)

Industries Served

Construction
Finance
Food & Beverage Service
Health Care
Insurance
Manufacturing
Non-profit Organizations
Transportation

Practice Areas

Labor & Employment Law
Labor Law
Employment Law
Non-competition Agreements
Worker’s Compensation Defense