Nola J. Hitchcock Cross has built her career by standing up for those who stand up or stand out while trying to make a living. She navigates highly confidential career transitions for high profile C-suite executives, professionals and public officials; she litigates retaliation claims for those who exercise their rights or oppose illegal discrimination or fraud; she takes on issues of fraud, whistleblowing and retaliation through qui tam actions, False Claims Act and SEC "relator" statutes; she is skilled in the negotiation of non-compete agreements and partnership issues; she litigates employment discrimination, wage & hour, and wrongful and retaliatory discharge claims; and she works with community organizations, cooperatives, consultants and micro-businesses in start-up and on-going representation.
In addition to litigation, she also focuses on counseling clients through pre-termination intervention, severance agreements, non-compete agreements and other restrictive covenants, employment contracts and key employee agreements, commission agreements and disputes, and job counseling, especially when “the handwriting is on the wall.” Counseling and negotiation may include particular attention to reputation and career transition, restrictive covenants, deferred compensation, stock options and grants, special tax considerations for highly paid individuals, benefit transition and consulting arrangements. She gives attention to issues of social media, press and internal announcements, and employment references, all with an eye for reemployment and reputation repair.
Ms. Hitchcock Cross has a reputation for handling matters where extraordinary remedies are required, such as injunctive relief, declaratory judgments, mandamus, writs of prohibition and other emergency equitable actions. Her communications background has led her to succeed in defamation, slander, and libel litigation and resolution.
Ms. Hitchcock Cross has a concentration in whistleblower actions. In addition to several smaller recoveries, she has obtained settlements under the False Claims Act for $12.9 million, $25 million, $31.5 million, and $38 million. Working to obtain the largest possible whistleblower share, she has made millionaires out of some of her clients. She also pursues Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower actions and resolutions, either on a confidential settlement or a litigation basis. Federal contracts, as well as compliance with federal laws and regulations including FDA, Medicare, Controlled Substance Act, FARs, DFARs, ITAR, FOCI, SEC, IRS, Medicare and Dodd-Frank, are primary areas of her legal practice.
She has decades of experience representing labor unions in both the private and public sector, including in law enforcement, healthcare, construction trades, industrial employees, service employees, etc.
Ms. Hitchcock Cross also contributes to the Firm's Business Law Center. She advises on business start-ups, contract bids, personnel, key employee contracts, vendor and customer collection disputes, and all manner of commercial litigation.
She also represents community organizations and co-operatives. She handles education law matters which involve special consideration of tenure, plagiarism, teacher and administrator contracts. She also represents community schools in start-up and on-going representation.
Attorney Hitchcock Cross is a frequent speaker and writer in areas of interest in employment, business, university law, community organizations and cooperatives, social media and employment law, and retaliation, in addition to qui tam, False Claims Act, SEC, IRS, OSHA and other whistleblower litigation. Recent presentations include to the Taxpayers Against Fraud Educational Fund on “Relator Share” (2015) and to the ABA False Claims Institute on “FCA Enforcement Against Hospitals, Device and Pharmaceutical Companies and Other Health Care Industry Companies: Is Medical Judgment a Trump Card?” (2016).
She has achieved an AV Preeminent peer-review rating,* the highest rating, through Martindale-Hubbell.
*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer-review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ fall into two categories - legal ability and general ethical standards.
Areas of Practice
- False Claims Act
- Employment Law & Litigation
- Civil Rights & Constitutional Law
- Employment Torts & Litigation
- Job Counseling
- School Law - Teacher Contracts & Discipline, Student Rights
- Small Business Start-Up & Representation, Partnerships, Non-Profits, Cooperatives
- Wrongful Discharge
- Severance agreements
- Sexual harassment
- Whistleblowing - False Claims Act, Sarbanes-Oxley, NRA, SEC & IRS whistleblowers, OSHA
- Whistleblowing - Healthcare Retaliation, Medicare fraud, pharmaceutical fraud, defense contracting fraud
- Employment contracts-drafting, resolution & litigation
- Employment discrimination
- Cooperatives and cohousing
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin
- U.S. District Court Western District of Wisconsin
- U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit
- University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison, Wisconsin
- Juris Doctor - 1975
- Honors: cum laude
- Honors: Law School Service Award
- Washington State University, Edward R. Murrow School of Journalism, Pullman, Washington
- Bachelor of Arts
- Major: Mass Communications
- Merton College, Oxford University, BNA Comparative Industrial Relations Symposium, Oxford
- Harvard University, Non-Matriculated Courses in International Banking and Finance, Spanish and Latin American Politics and Government
- Non-Matriculated Courses
- "The Duty to Bargain Collective" Chapter 3, (Co-Author) Employee and Union Member Guide to Labor Law, A Manual for Attorneys Representing the Labor Movement, Contributing Author, Chpt. 3, Nat'l Labor & Employment Comm., National Lawyers Guild eds.,
- Cooperatives/Cohousing/Condos: A Study in Comparative Housing Structures, Milwaukee CoLOG, February 8, 2011
- Frequent Commentator, Various Labor Law Topics
- Regular Commentator, Case of Figueroa v. Mayor Norquist and City of Milwaukee, Channel 58
- Hiring & Firing, State Bar Of Wisconsin, Solo Practice Institute
- Legal Issues in Personnel, UW-Milwaukee Small Business Institute
- Lecturer, Collective Bargaining Course, Milwaukee Area Technical College
- Sexual Harassment Sensitivity, City of Milwaukee, Trainer
- Talks on SOX: Employment Provisions Under Sarbanes-Oxley, February, 2005; Wisconsin State Bar, Labor & Employment Section, 2005
- Covenants Not to Compete: Trends and Developments, State Bar of Wisconsin Conference, Madison, Wisconsin, 2006 to Present
- Guest Lecture, Mediation-Arbitration, UW-Wisconsin, UW-Wisconsin School for Workers
- Stewards Schools for Teamsters, IBEW, UE, OPEIU, Hospital Workers, Public Health Nurses, Ironworkers, AFSCME, etc.
- Speaker, Legal Issues for Housing Cooperatives, Wisconsin Cooperative Housing Conference
- Speaker, Women and Employment: Challenge Amidst Change, YWCA Conference, Workshop Session
- Speaker, Legal Issues Affecting Women in Employment, Broad Vocabulary Bookstore
- Alexander v. Gardner-Denver and the Role of Arbitration in Title VII Cases, National Education Association Council, National Convention
- “Relator Share”, Taxpayers Against Fraud Educational Fund, 2015
- “FCA Enforcement Against Hospitals, Device and Pharmaceutical Companies and Other Health Care Industry Companies: Is Medical Judgment a Trump Card?”, ABA False Claims Institute
Honors and Awards
- "AV" rating (the highest) from Martindale-Hubbell
- Listed in "Best of the Bar," Employment Law, Milwaukee Magazine, 1985
- "Lead Attorney," Employment Law, CBS Channel 58
- Honorary Co-Chair, National Business Advisory Council
Professional Associations and Memberships
- American Bar Association, Labor & Employment Sections , Member
- Wisconsin State Bar Association, Labor & Employment Sections, Member, Chairperson (Two Separate Terms) & Three- Term Board Member, Present
- Milwaukee Bar Association, Labor Law Section, Co-Chair
- American Association for Justice (AAJ), Member
- Industrial Relations Research Association, Member
- National Whistleblowers Association, Member and Attorney Referral Panel
- National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), Member and Attorney Referral Panel
- Wisconsin Employment Lawyers Association (WELA), Member and Attorney Referral Panel
Past Employment Positions
- Murray & Cross, Managing Partner
- Adelman, Adelman & Murray, S.C., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Partner
- Podell, Ugent & Cross, S.C., Managing Partner
Pro Bono Activities
- Milwaukee Forum, Former Member and Coordinator
- Milwaukee Forum, Coordinator Emeritus, Present
- American Association of University Women, Member & Attorney Referral Panel
- AFL-CIO Lawyers, Member, Coordinating Committee
- Association for Union Democracy, Advisory Board
- International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Member
- Wisconsin Women Angel Investors