Overview

Sara Schretenthaler Staha is a Dallas labor, employment and benefits attorney who works with clients handling complex commercial, employment and franchise litigation matters. Ms. Staha has experience defending claims of discrimination and retaliation, wage-and-hour claims, and breach-of-contract and wrongful-termination cases. She is well versed in handling complex pretrial procedures and electronic discovery matters, and focuses on client-centered results that are cost efficient and effective. Her litigation experience covers all major aspects of the lifecycle of a case, including dispositive motion practice, post-trial proceedings, appeal and enforcement of judgments.

In addition, Ms. Staha assists companies with obtaining or defending against temporary restraining orders and temporary/preliminary injunctions to prevent departing employees or competitors from violating non-disclosure, non-compete or non-solicitation agreements, or from using their former employer's trade secrets. She also counsels companies and individuals unfairly accused of trade secret misappropriation and related claims.

Ms. Staha provides clients proactive and practical recommendations to avoid litigation with their employees. She has represented local, national and multinational companies in federal and state courts. She also has experience successfully defending appeals in federal and state courts.

Ms. Staha also assists clients in complex intellectual property litigation including patent and trade secret litigation. She has represented clients in a wide range of technologies, including e-commerce, light emitting diodes, industrial lubricants, building materials and fracking logistics technologies.

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Ms. Staha began her legal career representing a broad range of companies and individuals facing U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigations, and companies involved in multidistrict product liability litigation.

During law school, Ms. Staha served as a technical editor for the Baylor Law Review. She also was active in mock trial teams, serving as a brief writer and witness for the National Pretrial Competition and as a team member for the University of Missouri-Kansas City National Voir Dire Competition. Ms. Staha also served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Jeffrey Manske for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Waco Division.

Representative Experience

  • Obtained preliminary injunctions in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in restrictive covenant, trade secrets and antitrust litigation on behalf of major building products distributor against a group of former executives and salespeople with the multistate litigation spanned two Texas state courts (Denton County District Court and Harris County District Court); Denver County, Colorado District Court; the Northern District of Illinois; and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of a defendant former employee in oil and gas engineering industry in Smith County, Texas District Court holding that a non-compete and non-solicitation agreement were unenforceable against a defendant former employee and defended the denial of an application for temporary injunction and the summary judgment on appeal before the Tyler Court of Appeals
  • Obtained temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction in Collin County (Texas) District Court ordering the return of misappropriated trade secrets and confidential information and full enforcement of restrictive covenants for FinTech client
  • Obtained TRO and preliminary injunction in Denton County District Court ordering the return of misappropriated trade secrets, confidential information and full enforcement of restrictive covenants for a building products distributor against a current employee
  • Obtained TRO and preliminary injunction in Collin County District Court against two terminated employees starting a competing business ordering the return of misappropriated trade secrets, confidential information and full enforcement of restrictive covenants for a building products distributor and successfully resolving the matter through settlement which included an agreed permanent injunction
  • Obtained TRO in Dallas County District Court against an e-commerce client's current C-suite executive who announced that he was going to work for a competitor based on the imminent violation of his non-compete and successfully resolving the matter through quick settlement with the executive
  • Obtained multiple TROs in a variety of Texas court venues on behalf of corporate clients in non-compete and trade secret theft disputes

  • Represented manufacturer and developer of LED chips in numerous patent cases against infringing retailers and manufacturers
  • Defended a manufacturer of specialty lubricants in patent infringement and false advertising case under the Lanham Act involving advertising for specialty pipe gel products used in the refrigeration industry, following a strong petition for inter partes review, the plaintiff dropped its patent infringement claims; after discovery, the parties reached a mutual settlement
  • Represented a bulk material logistics provider in a patent enforcement action against a competitor, the dispute implicated the structure of the competitor's bulk materials containers, in addition to numerous ancillary issues under federal and state law; the dispute was settled following lengthy and complex motion practice

  • Represented major organic and packaged food manufacturer and distributor in race and disability discrimination allegations
  • Representation of a critically acclaimed restaurant group in their nationwide labor and employment litigation and provide consistent advice and counsel regarding employment policies and procedures
  • Defended a well-known nonprofit company in response to allegations of race, color and gender discrimination
  • Defended a leading cross-media advertising company in Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) litigation
  • Frequently defend companies by preparing position statements and negotiating with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
  • Frequently manage U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) audits related to wage and hour claims and working conditions
  • Frequently represent companies in negotiations and litigation involving former executives and other employees in employment contract and related disputes
  • Litigated employment contract disputes in several industries including aviation, retail, restaurant, fast food, hotel, real estate, healthcare, medical services, elder care, personnel and recruiting, among others
  • Frequently prepare employment and trade secret protection guidance, policies and procedures

  • Represented organic dairy co-op in District of Idaho in a breach of contract suit brought by a large dairy; successfully negotiated a favorable settlement for the client
  • Defended internet-based tutoring company in franchise and sales tax claims brought by the Texas Comptroller
  • Frequently advise franchisees regarding disputes with franchisors regarding breach of contract claims

Credentials

Education
  • Baylor Law School, J.D., magna cum laude
  • Creighton University, B.A., Political Science, magna cum laude
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Texas
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas
  • All U.S. District Courts in Texas
  • All Federal Courts in Texas
  • All State Courts in Texas
  • All Appellate Courts in Texas
  • Texas Supreme Court
Memberships
  • Dallas Bar Association
  • Dallas Association of Young Lawyers Aid to the Homeless Committee, Co-Chair, 2018-2020; Leadership Class, 2016; Foundation, Life Fellow, 2018-2021
  • Young Catholic Professionals, Dallas Chapter, Board of Directors, 2019-2021; Director and Vice President, 2018-2019; Volunteer, 2015-2021
  • Attorneys Serving the Community
  • Junior League of Dallas
  • St. Monica Catholic Church, Volunteer
  • Military Spouse JD Network
Honors & Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Dallas Litigation - Labor and Employment Ones to Watch, 2022
  • Rising Star, Texas Super Lawyers magazine, 2020, 2021
  • Holland & Knight Pro Bono All-Star, 2020
  • Holland & Knight Public and Charitable Service All-Star Award, 2017

Publications

Speaking Engagements

News