Carla J. Gunnin

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Monarch Plaza
3414 Peachtree Road, N.E.
Suite 1600
Atlanta, Georgia 30326
T: 404.589.3404
F: 404.238.9791

Carla Gunnin primarily focuses her practice on labor relations matters and occupational safety and health issues. Although she is based in the Firm's Atlanta office, Ms. Gunnin has a national practice and litigates cases before federal and state administrative tribunals throughout the United States in matters of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) law and Mine Safety and Health (MSHA) law. 

Ms. Gunnin has a strategic advantage in representing employers in OSHA, MSHA and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) matters, using her prior experience as a trial attorney for the DOL. Since going into private practice, Ms. Gunnin has successfully handled OSHA matters involving egregious citations, willful citations, fatality-related citations and complex multi-employer worksite issues. In addition, she has represented employers in a wide variety of DOL issues.

Whether for compliance-related advice or assistance with DOL inspections or citations, Ms. Gunnin's experience serves clients well. She represents large and small companies, both privately and publically held, across all types of industries, including those in the construction, manufacturing, oil and gas, distribution and entertainment areas.  

Representative Matters

  • Defended nationally-recognized aquarium against OSHA charges of a willful violation in the wake of a fatality, succeeded in having the willful characterization reduced at trial.
  • Succeeded in having an OSHA charge of willful violation against a mechanical contractor in a fatality case downgraded. Citation was initially upheld by administrative law judge, then downgraded to serious when appealed to the Review Commission.
  • Defended electrical contractor against OSHA citation of willful violation in a fatality case, which was ultimately downgraded to serious at trial.
  • Waste hauling company was cited by OSHA for a serious violation after a fatality involving contact with power lines. Won at trial before administrative law judge, where the citations were vacated.
  • Serious citation in wake of fatality involving issue of OSHA multi-employer citation policy against a host employer. Citation vacated.
  • Successfully defended nationally-known meat processing company in multiple OSHA citations across the country, succeeding in having citations completely vacated or downgraded.
  • Defended professional ballet company against serious OSHA citation after dancer fell off stage. Succeeded in having citation withdrawn.
  • Routine successful defense of OSHA citations in multiple cases involving power line fatalities.
  • Successful negotiation of multiple willful Citation, including egregious penalties, to nominal fines.
  • Has handled numerous fatality inspections by OSHA and MSHA in a variety of industries.
  • Has handled various other DOL agency inspections including Wage and Hour Audits and Davis Bacon Issues.
  • Successful litigation of NLRB case involving collective bargaining agreement terms.
  • Has handled multiple arbitrations for employers subject to collective bargaining agreements.

Publications & Speaking Engagements

Ms. Gunnin is a frequent speaker on issues of OSHA and MSHA compliance and defense issues, and is an occasional instructor for the Power and Communication Utility Training Center. She has appeared before Society for Human Resource (SHRM) professionals, and spoken on OSHA topics for the National Rural Electric COOP Association, Organization Resource Counselors (ORC) Worldwide and the American Meat Institute.

  • Author – "OSHA Corner," Baker Donelson's Labor and Employment Newsletter (March 2014, February 2014, January 2014)
  • Author – "What to Expect from OSHA," Energy & Mining International Blog (March 3, 2014)
  • Speaker – "Whistleblower Investigations: A How-to Guide," webinar, American Bar Association (March 5, 2014)
  • Co-speaker – "Is Your Long Term Care Facility Prepared for an OSHA Inspection?" webinar presented with David Gevertz (May 14, 2013)
  • Speaker – "It's 2013, Obama is still in office, so what can we expect from OSHA?" Baker Donelson Breakfast Briefing, Atlanta, Georgia (February 14, 2013); Memphis, Tennessee (February 21, 2013); Birmingham, Alabama (March 21, 2013); Johnson City, Tennessee (March 28, 2013); Houston, Texas (April 18, 2013)
  • Speaker – "How an OSHA Citation Can Bite You," Association of Building Contractors, Atlanta, Georgia (June 2013) 
  • Author – "OSHA Will Keep Focus on Oil & Gas," Energy and Mining International blog (April 9, 2013)
  • Speaker – "Labor and Employment Topics," Georgia Food Industry Association (2011)
  • Speaker – "OSHA and OSHA Recordkeeping," National Utility Training & Safety Education Association (NUTSEA) (2010)

Professional Honors & Activities

  • American Bar Association (OSHA committee)
  • Alabama Bar Association
  • Georgia Bar Association
  • Member – ABC Georgia Safety Forum

Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • Georgia, 2001
  • Alabama, 1991

Education

  • Cumberland School of Law, J.D., 1991
  • University of Alabama, B.S. in International Relations, 1988