David A. Selden

Representative Experience

David A. Selden is a partner concentrating his practice in representing management in a wide variety of employment law matters, including discrimination, wrongful discharge, employment contracts, workplace torts, EEOC, ACRD, OSHA, DOL, NLRB restrictive covenants, non-competition, trade secrets, and human resources counseling, investigation, and training, employer immigration compliance under federal law and the Legal Arizona Workers Act. He literally “wrote the law” of wrongful termination in Arizona.

Mr. Selden has successfully defended employers in state and federal trial and appellate courts in Arizona and elsewhere, including The Neiman Marcus Group, Safeway, Troy Corp., Scripps-Howard Broadcasting, Century Surety, the City of Mesa, Allstate Insurance and AdobeAir. He has also obtained dismissal of countless alleged OSHA citations, including scores of fatality cases, through negotiated resolutions or through hearings.

His commercial litigation experience includes contracts, business torts, construction disputes and alleged defects, real estate conveyancing secured lending, lender liability, securities fraud, anti-trust, Constitutional law, civil rights litigation and more. He has also prosecuted and defended professional licensing matters.

Before entering law school, Mr. Selden worked in Washington, D.C., as a legislative and administrative assistant to several members of Congress from 1971 through 1982. Mr. Selden remains active in legislative and administrative matters. He wrote and was the primary advocate to achieve enactment of the Employment Protection Act, which overhauled Arizona’s employment laws in 1996, Arizona’s 1997 constructive discharge law, and other laws to limit employment litigation. He has testified before the Arizona Legislature as an expert in employment law matters dozens of times.

Mr. Selden has been interviewed by and quoted in numerous publications on employment law, including The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, The New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, Arizona Republic, East Valley Tribune, Arizona Daily Star and The Tucson Citizen.

Associations & Activities

  • Adjunct Professor of Law, teaching courses in Employment Law and Employment Discrimination Law, Phoenix School of Law
  • Arizona Chamber of Commerce:  Board of Directors, 2004 – present; Chair or Co-Chair, Employment Committee, 1989 – present
  • Phoenix Symphony:  Board of Directors, 1995 – present; Chair, Lawyers for the Symphony; past Chair, Phoenix Symphony Council.
  • Management Labor and Employment Roundtable member, 1990 to present
  • Litigation Counsel of America 2010

Awards & Recognition

  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Labor and Employment Law, 2007 to present
  • Sustaining member of Arizona’s Finest Lawyers
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Labor and Employment Law, 1995 to present
  • Recipient, Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Volunteer of the Year Award, 2004
  • Recipient, Phoenix Symphony, Maestro’s Award, 2010; Volunteer of the Year Award, 1992
  • Fellow in Litigation Counsel of America
  • Recipient, Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Volunteer of the Year Award, 2014

Bar Admissions

  • Arizona, 1982

Court Admissions

  • Supreme Court of Arizona, 1982
  • U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, 1982
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 1983
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, 2008
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1985


  • Georgetown University Law Center (J.D. 1982, magna cum laude)
 Editor, The Tax Lawyer
  • George Washington University (M.A., Legislative Affairs, 1976)
  • George Washington University (B.A., Political Science, 1973)

Representative Matters

  • Obtaining a jury verdict rejecting disability discrimination claims for multiple chemical sensitivity by multiple employees dismissed after 12 weeks of workers compensation leave following an exposure to toxic substances at work.
  • Obtaining a jury verdict rejecting the claims of five pharmacists who alleged that their terminations violated public policies regarding safe pharmaceutical practices and approximately 40 other claims.
  • Obtaining a jury verdict for a national supermarket chain in an age discrimination trial brought by a 35-year employee with a history of good performance, whose duties were redistributed largely to a woman in her 30’s.
  • Obtaining a jury verdict for a national department store in a disability discrimination claim by a long-term employee who was separated because her quality of speech was considered substandard after she developed a neurological condition that reduced the clarity of her enunciation. Obtaining a jury verdict for a hospital rejecting sexual harassment claims by an operating room nurse arising out of alleged sexual advances by an anesthesiologist.
  • Obtaining an injunction prohibiting the seller of a business from proceeding with opening a competing business for four years.
  • Obtaining summary judgment through Arizona Supreme Court reversal of lower court decisions, upholding out-of-state choice of law provision in a national publisher’s executive employment agreement that precluded triple-damage claim for severance pay under Arizona Wage Act.
  • Obtaining summary judgment, upheld on appeal, rejecting a whistle-blowing claim by an in-house counsel alleging that he was terminated for asserting that the company, during a public offering, failed to set aside sufficient reserves for claims he was defending for the company.
  • Dismissal by motion of class action clams seeking millions of dollars of compensation for hundreds of employees for time they were “on-call” for emergency duties.
  • Obtaining summary judgment, before any discovery, dismissing wrongful termination lawsuit by former evening television news anchor.
  • Obtaining the dismissal of more than 1,900 claims in a labor union sponsored Fair Labor Standards Act collective action against a construction company.
  • Successfully defending claims by EEOC, including settlement to dismiss class action by agreeing to facilitate training for construction industry associations to educate other companies regarding respectful treatment of Latino employees.
  • Successfully defending employers in unfair labor practice charges before the NLRB.
  • Negotiating collective bargaining agreements with labor unions.
  • Obtaining injunctions against harassment against former employees, including a former company president, a chief marketing officer, and lower-level employees.
  • Obtaining dismissal of claims against a national financial services company for negligent hiring and negligent retention after worker shot and killed co-worker and their unborn child on company premises, before committing suicide. Successfully defending OSHA citation against general contractor for a subcontractor’s violation of fall protection standard.
  • Obtaining judgment against former Company president for taking company information on CDs and laptop and for breach of fiduciary duties.
  • Obtaining consent decree for surrender of license by professional who disclosed confidential information of company’s principals.
  • Defending class action claims by residents in large condominium project for alleged construction defects. Defending class action litigation for sending unsolicited faxes in alleged violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
  • Filing 35 lawsuits against hundreds of investors in real estate limited partnerships and defending against securities fraud and lender liability claims.
  • Defending against claims for failure to close $50 million real estate transaction, resulting in dismissal of suit and an award of attorneys’ fees in client’s favor.
  • Defending title/escrow company against claims regarding possession and perfection of security interest in negotiable instrument being providing collateral for leveraged lease of oil well drilling rig.
  • Defending a public employer from multiple claims arising out of the publication of a public safety officer’s “diary” of his wife’s consensual activities with his fellow employees.
  • Representing the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in litigation regarding the ownership and control of the Integrated Criminal Justice Information System used by multiple government agencies.
  • Representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 10 Arizona business associations in challenging the constitutionality of the Arizona employer sanctions immigration law the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA).


News & Publications

Cavanagh Law Firm Receives Top-notch 2019 Awards with First-Rate Attorneys

The Cavanagh Law Firm is an outstanding and distinguished law firm in Arizona that covers a variety of practices. The Firm’s exceptional lawyers have an impressive history litigating complex and sophisticated cases.  The firm has been recognized by U.S. News - Best...

The Cavanagh Law Firm is Home to 23 Super Lawyers (2015 list)

Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.