Practice Areas
Employment Law
Appellate Law
State Admissions


J.K. Simms is a Partner at Thompson Burton and leads the firm’s employment law practice.

J.K.’s practice is devoted to serving his clients both from a litigation avoidance and litigation defense standpoint.  J.K has nearly two decades of experience representing companies and individuals at the state level throughout Tennessee and in every federal court district in the State of Tennessee.  He has also handled appeals at the state and federal level, including briefing and arguing an appeal before a sixteen-judge en banc panel at the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He is also admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court.In addition to J.K.’s focus on advocating for his clients in employment litigation, he devotes a great deal of time conducting training for his clients and advising them in identifying potential employment-related legal issues and resolving day-to-day management and operations issues.

J.K. has represented companies and individuals in the areas of wrongful discharge, retaliation, whistleblower, discrimination, sexual harassment, wage and hour, Fair Labor Standards Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, Equal Pay Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Americans with Disabilities Act.  J.K. has also stood toe to toe with labor unions, representing companies in collective bargaining agreement negotiations, grievances, and arbitrations and advising them on union avoidance measures.

J.K. has extensive experience representing his clients in the areas of non-compete and trade secret law.  He has drafted such agreements and litigated matters regarding the enforcement of such agreements both on behalf of the employer and employee.

In addition to his litigation experience representing clients in bench trials, jury trials, appeals, and administrative as well as union/management forums, JK has been appointed as an arbitrator in employment and commercial disputes.  

J.K.’s recent representative matters include:

Obtaining summary judgment and dismissal for corporate client in race, gender and religious discrimination and retaliation lawsuit in United States District Court, affirmed by the U.S. Sixth Circuit of Appeals
Obtaining jury verdict for defendant corporation in employment disability discrimination lawsuit in U.S. District Court;
Obtaining summary judgment for defendant corporation in disability discrimination lawsuit in U.S. District Court;
Obtaining summary judgment for defendant corporation in sexual harassment lawsuit in U.S. District Court;
Obtaining dismissal of disability discrimination lawsuit against school principal in U.S. District Court;
Obtaining jury verdict for defendant in highly publicized lawsuit against educational institution;
Negotiating severance agreements for numerous highly compensated executives;
Negotiating employment agreements for professionals and executives;
Representing clients in responding to Charges of Discrimination before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission;
Working with corporate client in drafting a comprehensive document retention and destruction plan and litigation hold policy and provide training of workforce throughout Tennessee on the implementation of such policies;
Advising corporate and individual clients on non-compete, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure agreements;
Drafting comprehensive employee handbook and policies and procedures manuals for corporate clients;
Representing client in Fair Labor Standards Act collective action case pending in United States District Court;
Representing clients in audit by U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division;
Advising client on labor union avoidance measures;
Representing individuals and corporate clients in claims of breach of non-compete agreement, inducement of breach of contract, tortious interference and unfair competition;
Successful resolution of numerous employment-related lawsuits pending in state and federal courts;
Representing corporate client in Charge of Unfair Labor Practice with the National Labor Relations Board;
Every year since 2018, J.K. has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America for his high caliber of work in the practice area of Employment Law – Management.  JK has been recognized as “Best of the Bar” by the Nashville Business Journal in 2015, 2016, and 2022.  He has also been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” by the Super Lawyer publication every year since 2014.

In 2019, J.K. was appointed by Tennessee Governor, Bill Lee, to serve on the Tennessee Board of Appeals. The Board of Appeals is charged with hearing appeals filed by employees of the State of Tennessee who wish to challenge certain adverse employment actions taken against them.

J.K., his wife, Suzanne, and their three children reside in Franklin, Tennessee.


J.K. received his J.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Law, where he served as Lead Editor of Student Materials for the Tennessee Law Review.  He received his undergraduate degree from Lipscomb University, where he graduated magna cum laude.  He has been recognized as a leader among Tennessee lawyers when selected for inclusion in Tennessee Bar Association’s highly selective Leadership Law program, a program for which he now serves on the steering committee.


Representative Cases
• Lewis v. Humboldt Acquisition Corp., 681 F.3d 312 (6th Cir. 2012)
• Link v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County and Kimber Halliburton, 2012 WL 4506028 (M.D. Tenn. 2012)
• Lewis v. Humboldt Acquisition Corp., 634 F.3d 879 (6th Cir. 2011)
• Leu v. Embraer Aircraft Maintenance Svcs., Inc. Structural Modification and Repair Technicians, Inc. and Johnson Service Group, 2011 WL 1337405 (M.D. Tenn. 2011)
• Cumberland Trust and Investment Company v. Genesis Learning Centers, 2010 WL 2265696 (M.D. Tenn. 2010)
• Harris v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County and Genesis Learning Centers, 2009 WL 483153 (M.D. Tenn. 2009)
• Hatcher v. RMR Investment Co., 2005 WL 2338788 (M.D. Tenn. 2005)


JK Simms

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