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Richard A. Olmstead


Richard focuses his practice on employment law, appeals, and complex litigation in the energy sector. His employment experience includes defending and counseling employers and management in all aspects of the employment relationship including, but not limited to: defending claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in courts and administrative agencies throughout the country; OSHA compliance and litigation; conducting internal harassment and discrimination investigations; FMLA and ADA litigation and compliance; negotiating, drafting, and litigating employment contracts, non-compete, non-solicitation, trade secret, and severance agreements. Richard frequently counsels and defends clients against claims of disability discrimination under the Fair Housing Act and Title III of the ADA with respect to design and construction barriers to access in places of public accommodation and housing. Richard is a frequent presenter for in-house counsel and HR professionals and regularly trains managers on complying with employment laws and effective implementation of employment policies and procedures. In that capacity, Richard also regularly counsels clients regarding implementation and compliance with COVID-19 related litigation including the FFCRA and CARES Act, development of COVID-19 prevention and mitigation strategies in the workplace, and responding to COVID-19 cases in the workplace, leave and accommodation requests, and compliance with COVID-19 related state and local ordinances nationwide.

Richard’s practice in the energy sector includes representing public utilities, midstream transportation and processing entities, and oil and gas producers and operators. That experience includes litigating disputed ownership claims to hydrocarbon liquids pulled from natural gas transmission pipelines, litigation involving migration of natural gas from underground storage fields, easement encroachments, pipeline spills and ruptures, contractual negotiations and disputes, and condemnation.

Beginning with moot court in law school, appeals have been Richard’s passion. He has turned that passion into a successful appellate practice having briefed and/or argued over 100 appeals in courts throughout the country including the United States Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th Circuits, and numerous state intermediate appellate and supreme courts. Most notably, Richard served as lead briefing counsel for the successful plaintiffs in Montoy v. State of Kansas, a case the Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court declared “the most significant case to come before the court in [her 30-year] tenure.”

Richard is active in the appellate bar and is the Kansas chair for the American Bar Association’s Council of Appellate Lawyers.

  • In Defense of the Indefensible: Title VII Hostile Environment Claims Unconstitutionally Restrict Free Speech, 28 O.N.U. L. REV. 691, 2001 (author)

  • The Best Lawyers in America® “Lawyer of the Year” in Wichita for Litigation – Labor and Employment, 2023
  • Super Lawyers®, Missouri-Kansas Rising Star, 2008-2013
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Litigation – Labor and Employment, 2012-2024
  • Benchmark Litigation Future Star, 2016