Phelps Dunbar Elects 6 to Counsel

January 09, 2017

NEW ORLEANS – Phelps Dunbar LLP is pleased to announce that Michael Held, Doug Kleeman and Tessa Vorhaben of the New Orleans office; Jessica Huffman of the Baton Rouge office; Erin Malone of the Tampa office; and Day Peake of the Mobile office have been elevated from associate to counsel, effective January 1, 2017.

Michael Held

Mr. Held has practiced law with Phelps Dunbar since 2005, recently moving from the Gulfport office to the New Orleans office, and practices in the areas of admiralty, commercial litigation and general insurance defense matters involving both third-party liability claims and first-party coverage issues (including extensive work in the area of lender/force-placed insurance). He has experience defending tort claim liability matters, as well as transportation litigation, collections, real property disputes, contract disputes, municipal liability defense claims, products liability claims and professional liability matters. He has also litigated cases in the area of maritime law, representing owners, charterers and/or underwriters in defense of personal injury claims, both blue and brown water, and cargo claims, as well as handling environmental, Customs and Coast Guard matters.

Mr. Held has litigated matters in Mississippi state courts, including chancery, county, and circuit courts, the Mississippi Supreme Court (including interlocutory appeals), and the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi. Additionally, he has litigated matters before the state and federal district courts of Alabama.

He has been recognized by his legal peers throughout the state as a Mid-South Super Lawyers – Rising Star, which recognizes the top 5 percent of attorneys in the state who are younger than 40 or have been in practice for 10 or fewer years.

He earned his J.D. from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 2005 and his bachelor’s degree from Auburn University in 2002.

Jessica Huffman

Ms. Huffman joined Phelps Dunbar’s Baton Rouge office in 2007 and practices in the area of labor and employment law. She represents primarily employers in civil litigation, arbitrations and administrative proceedings regarding claims involving all areas of labor and employment, including employment discrimination, ERISA, sexual harassment, employee defamation and other employment-related tort claims, employment contracts, OSHA, union matters, wage and hour and drafting and implementing employment policies. Ms. Huffman also represents employers in prosecuting and defending cases involving alleged breaches of non-competition agreements, and employment or business-related tort claims. Additionally, she counsels and assists employers regarding compliance with various applicable federal and state labor and employment laws, including the preparation and/or review of employment contracts, severance agreements and employee handbooks and policies.

Ms. Huffman has been recognized by her legal peers throughout the state as a Louisiana Super Lawyers – Rising Star, which recognizes the top 5 percent of attorneys in the state who are younger than 40 or have been in practice for 10 or fewer years.

She earned her J.D./B.C.L. from Louisiana State University Law Center in 2006, where she was on the Board of Editors for the Louisiana Law Review, and her bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, in business administration from Louisiana State University in 2002.

Prior to joining Phelps Dunbar, Ms. Huffman was a judicial law clerk to Judge W. Eugene Davis, United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Doug Kleeman

Mr. Kleeman has practiced law with Phelps Dunbar’s New Orleans office since 2012 and practices in the area of insurance and reinsurance. He counsels clients, manages disputes and tries cases involving a variety of first- and third-party insurance coverage issues.

Mr. Kleeman has been recognized by his legal peers throughout the state as a Louisiana Super Lawyers – Rising Star, which recognizes the top 5 percent of attorneys in the state who are younger than 40 or have been in practice for 10 or fewer years.

He earned his J.D. from Tulane University Law School in 2007, where he was managing editor of the Tulane Law Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property, and his bachelor’s degree, cum laude, from Tulane University in 1999.

Erin Malone

Ms. Malone has practiced law with Phelps Dunbar’s Tampa office since 2008 and practices in the area of labor and employment. She represents employers in civil court litigation, arbitrations and administrative proceedings regarding claims involving employment discrimination and retaliation laws, wage and hour laws, family and medical leave laws, whistleblower laws, union-management relations, employee benefits and various employment-related torts. Ms. Malone also counsels and assists employers regarding compliance with various labor and employment laws, including the preparation and/or review of employment contracts, drug-testing policies, severance agreements and employee handbooks and policies.

She has been recognized by her legal peers throughout the state as a Florida Super Lawyers – Rising Star, which recognizes the top 5 percent of attorneys in the state who are younger than 40 or have been in practice for 10 or fewer years.

She earned her J.D., cum laude, from Stetson University College of Law in 2006, where she was a senior associate member of the Stetson Law Review, and her bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish from Wake Forest University in 2003.

Day Peake

Mr. Peake has practiced law with Phelps Dunbar’s Mobile office since 2005, including his practice at Lyons, Pipes & Cook, which Phelps Dunbar acquired in 2010. He practices in the area of labor and employment, with an emphasis on employment law. His practice includes the defense of employers in various Title VII and ADEA claims, I-9 audits, DOL audits, violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the WARN Act and actions filed before the EEOC. His practice also involves counseling businesses on an array of employment practices from developing an employment handbook and drafting non-compete agreements to protecting trade secrets and proprietary information.

He received Mobile Bay Magazine’s Forty Under 40 recognition in 2012 and has been recognized by his legal peers throughout the state as a Mid-South Super Lawyers – Rising Star, which recognizes the top 5 percent of attorneys in the state who are younger than 40 or have been in practice for 10 or fewer years.

He earned his J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law in 2005 and his bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Sewanee – The University of the South in 1999.

Tessa Vorhaben

Ms. Vorhaben has practiced law with Phelps Dunbar’s New Orleans office since 2010 and practices primarily in the areas of general litigation, insurance coverage and tort litigation. She defends claims involving personal injury, products liability, premises liability, property damage, business interruption, insurance bad faith and extra-contractual litigation. Ms. Vorhaben also represents Write-Your-Own (WYO) insurance carriers participating in the U.S. Government’s National Flood Insurance Program.

Ms. Vorhaben has been recognized by her legal peers throughout the state as a Louisiana Super Lawyers – Rising Star, which recognizes the top 5 percent of attorneys in the state who are younger than 40 or have been in practice for 10 or fewer years.

She earned her J.D. from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law in 2007 and her bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Southern Mississippi’s Honors College in business economics in 2004.

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With offices positioned along the Gulf Coast from Houston to Tampa, Phelps Dunbar is a regional law firm of more than 260 attorneys uniquely equipped to serve clients in the major commercial centers of the burgeoning “Third Coast” of the United States. Locations in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Jackson, Tupelo and Gulfport, Mississippi; Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; Tampa, Florida; Mobile, Alabama; Raleigh, North Carolina; and London enable Phelps Dunbar to serve clients not only along the Third Coast, but also the South, nationwide and abroad.