Kevin R. Donelson
Kevin R. Donelson
Litigation & Trial Practice
Administrative & Regulatory Practice
Personal Injury & Wrongful Death
Kevin Donelson practices in the areas of labor and employment law and civil and commercial litigation. He has represented clients in defense of cases arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; the Americans with Disabilities Act; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; and the Fair Labor Standards Act. He has handled cases involving retaliation under various federal and state laws relating to employee discipline; in addition, he has provided compliance advice regarding employment issues, including day-to-day questions about the application of various laws, as well as issues related to discipline and discharge.
Donelson’s experience also includes representation of class-wide suits involving the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Moreover, he has successfully negotiated collective bargaining agreements on behalf of employers. Donelson has represented officers and directors who have been named as defendants in employment-related lawsuits, as well as suits in which the actions of the individuals are at issue in relation to their dealing with third parties.
In addition to having tried and arbitrated a number of employment-related matters, Donelson served as an administrative law judge for the Oklahoma Department of Labor.
In relation to commercial and civil litigation, Donelson has represented financial institutions, corporations and individuals in a wide range of matters, including claims of unfair competition, slander, fraud, fiduciary obligations and business disputes. He has represented clients in numerous multimillion-dollar claims.
- Juris Doctor (University of Oklahoma, highest honors, 1988)
- Phi Delta Phi
- Order of the Coif
- Oklahoma Law Review (member, 1986-1988)
- Bachelor of Arts (Southwestern Oklahoma State University, 1984)
- Oklahoma, 1988
- U.S. District Courts for the Western, Eastern and Northern Districts of Oklahoma
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit
- U.S. Supreme Court
- American Bar Association
- Oklahoma Bar Association
- Oklahoma County Bar Association
Awards & Honors
- The Best Lawyers in America (2008-2019)
- Labor Law
- Employment Law
- Commercial Law
- Commercial Litigation
- Super Lawyers (2006-2018)
- Employment & Labor
- Civil Litigation: Defense
- Administrative Law
- Oklahoma Top 50 List (2009, 2010, 2013)
- Martindale-Hubbell, AV Preeminent Rating
- Leadership in Law Award (2009)
- Oklahoma Bar Foundation
- Board of Trustees (2008 to present)
- President (2017)
- Vice President (2015)
- Secretary/Treasurer (2014)
- Co-Chair, Oklahoma Fellows of the American Bar Foundation (2013 to present)
- Board of Directors, Oklahoma County Bar Association (2013)
- Member, Fellows of the American Bar Foundation
- Oklahoma City, Board of Adjustment, Board Member (2015-present)
Representative Matters & Clients
Donelson was lead counsel on Oklahoma Public Employees Association v. Oklahoma Military Department, 214 OK 48, ____ P.3d ____ (2014). In this case, the Oklahoma Military Department refused raises to individuals who were part of the classified service of the state of Oklahoma unless they resigned their positions to become unclassified. The Oklahoma Supreme Court held there is no authority to require declassification in order to obtain a pay raise. The Court further held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in restraining and enjoining the Oklahoma Military Department from conditioning pay increases on declassification of the permanent classified employees.
Donelson also was lead counsel on Oklahoma Public Employees Association v. State of Oklahoma ex rel. the Oklahoma Office of Personnel Management and Oklahoma Office of State Finance, et al, 2011 OK 68, 267 P.3d 838. In this case, the Oklahoma Public Employees Association (OPEA) filed two lawsuits for declaratory judgment seeking to prohibit the release of state employees’ birthdates, claiming it clearly was an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Various media outlets, including World Publishing Company and The Oklahoma Publishing Company, intervened in the lawsuit. Local television stations, the Oklahoma Press Association, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and FOI Oklahoma all filed amicus curiae briefs. The Oklahoma Supreme Court, in a per curiam opinion, found that the release of the birth dates of state employees was clearly an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy and prohibited the release of such birth dates under the Oklahoma Open Records Act. The case represented a major victory for state employees’ personal privacy.
Donelson again was one of the lead counsel in cases involving the Randolph-Sheppard Act, providing food services to major military installations in the state of Oklahoma. Lawsuits filed on behalf of his client have resulted in his client remaining as a subcontractor of a multimillion-dollar contract at such installations.
He also was one of the lead counsel in one of the largest collective actions under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Older Worker Benefits Protection Act filed in the state of Oklahoma. Settlement was reached, on behalf of displaced employees in such collective action, in the amount of $10 million.
- Sanchez v. Nitro-Lift Techs., LLC, 2014 BL 220924, 10th Cir., No. 12-7046, Aug. 8, 2014.
- Oklahoma Public Employees Association v Oklahoma Military Dept., 2014 OK 48, __ P.3d __.
- In re Sturgeon, 496 B.R. 215 (B.A.P. 10th Cir. 2013).
- In this bankruptcy case, Donelson represented the creditor, who had determined the debtor engaged in fraudulent conduct. This finding was upheld by the 10th Circuit Bankruptcy Appeals Panel.
- Nitro-Lift Technologies, L.L.C v. Howard, __ U.S. __, 133 S. Ct. 500 (2012).
- Oklahoma Public Employees Association v. State of Oklahoma ex rel. the Oklahoma Office of Personnel Management and Oklahoma Office of State Finance, et al, 2011 OK 68, 267 P.3d 838.
- Edwards v. Urice, 2004 OK CIV APP 86, 99 P.3d 256.
- This was an estate planning and probate matter in which Donelson helped his client exercise her power of appointment in a revocable trust.
- Kester v. Ives, 1998 OK CIV APP 109, 960 P.2d 865.
- This was a tax-collection matter.