Harvard Law School, J.D., 2005
University of Montana, B.A., with high honors, 2002
Pearlynn Houck is a versatile litigator and adviser. She represents companies and executives in complex business and employment disputes and bet-the-company litigation. She has experience in matters involving fraud, breach of contract, unfair trade practices, financial products, securities, corporate governance, professional negligence and class actions.
Pearlynn regularly represents clients in noncompetition, trade secret and other employment disputes, conducts internal investigations, and assists clients in responding to government inquiries. Pearlynn also co-chairs the firm’s Government and Internal Investigations Practice Group.
Pearlynn's clients benefit from her courtroom experience. She has argued injunctions, temporary restraining orders and dispositive motions, participated in multiple jury trials and arbitrations before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and litigated appeals in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and U.S. Courts of Appeals.
Honors & Awards
- The Best Lawyers in America, commercial litigation, 2020
- North Carolina Super Lawyers, Rising Star, business litigation, 2013-20
- Benchmark Litigation, Labor & Employment Star, 2019-20; Top Litigator Under 40, 2016-19; Future Star, litigation, 2015-16
- Business North Carolina, Legal Elite, Young Guns, 2014, 2016; litigation, 2019-20
- The Mecklenburg Times, 50 Most Influential Women, 2020
- Charlotte Business Journal, Charlotte’s Forty Under 40, 2015
- Law Clerk, The Honorable N. Carlton Tilley Jr., Chief Judge, Middle District of North Carolina,
Complex Commercial Litigation
Represents the Southeastern Conference in multidistrict litigation putative class actions filed by former student-athletes challenging the validity of NCAA grant-in-aid rules, centralized in the Northern District of California, captioned In re National Collegiate Athletic Association Athletic Grant-in-Aid Cap Antitrust Litigation and Jenkins v. NCAA, (N.D. Ca.).
Serves as general counsel to the Morehead-Cain Foundation.
Represents national trust company in defense of claims arising out of allegations of wrongdoing by account holder's investment adviser.
Represents asset management firm in lawsuits arising out of placement agent services for an investment fund.
Represents the Southeastern Conference in 11 "single-school, single-sport" putative class actions (MDL centralization in Illinois) filed by former football student-athletes related to concussions in college sports.
Obtained summary judgment for national bank in defense of Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower and other claims brought by former investment adviser.
Successfully defended a national gas distributor in a case alleging unfair business practices and related claims. The case settled on very favorable terms while our client's motion for summary judgment was pending.
Obtained injunction for a pharmaceutical company against defendants prohibiting them from wrongfully interfering in a pending arbitration between clients and its contract counterparty.
Represents estate in a wrongful death lawsuit relating to a CO2 paintball canister that exploded and killed a 38-year-old man.
Represented major financial institution, which arranged multiple financings for a defunct entity, in defending suits in New York, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh filed by bondholders, senior secured lenders, a bond trustee and a liquidating trustee in bankruptcy.
Represented large commercial real estate developer in claims against architect for breach of contract resulting in two-week trial in state court.
Pursued negligence, breach of contract and breach of warranty claims in jury trial against contractors and architects for faulty construction of high-end condominiums in mountain resort community.
Employment and Executive Compensation
Represents worker's compensation insurance company in defense of claims of wrongful termination, securities fraud, discrimination and defamation relating to its termination of a former executive-level employee.
Represented water treatment company in appeal of multimillion-dollar trial court judgment involving trade secrets, employment covenants, covenants not to solicit and other employment-related claims, including punitive damages. GE Betz, Inc. v. Conrad, et al., 752 S.E.2d 624 (N.C. Ct. App. 2013).
Defeated motion for preliminary injunction against former employee of asset management firm for breach of noncompetition provisions in employment agreement.
Represents executives and businesses relating to the negotiation and finalization of comprehensive executive compensation agreements, including employment contracts and severance arrangements.
Represented public company sued by former executive arising from alleged promises of executive compensation and unfair trade practices. Cole v. Champion Enterprises, Inc., 496 F. Supp. 2d 613 (M.D.N.C. 2007).
Internal and Government Investigations
Represents multinational commercial and consumer products company in matters relating to grand jury subpoenas.
Conducted internal investigation for committee of board of local company and represented the committee in subsequent governance dispute.
Conducted internal investigations for health care provider regarding allegations of sexual harassment.
Represents national broker-dealer in arbitration matters before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
Represented national bank in connection with subpoenas from the Securities and Exchange Commission.
News & Events
- April 13, 2020
- April 3, 2020
- Feb. 21, 2020
- Jan. 22, 2020
- Jan. 3, 2020
- Oct. 17, 2019
- Aug. 15, 2019
- Aug. 5, 2019
- Jan. 28, 2019
- Jan. 2, 2019
- Nov. 16, 2018
- Aug. 31, 2018
- July 9, 2018
- Jan. 30, 2018
- Nov. 2, 2017
- Aug. 15, 2017
- Jan. 26, 2017
- Nov. 9, 2016
- Aug. 17, 2016
- Aug. 8, 2016
- June 3, 2016
- May 18, 2016
- Jan. 27, 2016
- Jan. 5, 2016
- Oct. 21, 2015
- Robert W. Fuller Quoted in Law360 Article "Broadcasters Escape NCAA Athletes' Publicity Rights Suit"June 4, 2015
- March 13, 2015
- Jan. 21, 2015
- More Ranked Attorneys Than Any Other North Carolina Firm for Fifth Consecutive YearOct. 29, 2014
- Jan. 21, 2014
- Eighteen Robinson Bradshaw Attorneys Included Among North Carolina’s 2014 ‘Legal Elite,’ ‘Legal Elite Hall of Fame’Jan. 6, 2014
- Jan. 2, 2014
- Dec. 9, 2013
- Six Shareholders Among State’s Top 100 Attorneys, Two in Top 10Jan. 18, 2013
- July 20, 2009
- Nov. 20, 2006
- Duke Future of College Sports Conference
Duke University Fuqua School of Business
100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708March 7, 2020
Queens University of CharlotteFeb. 19, 2020
Byron's South End
101 W. Worthington Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28203Jan. 8, 2020
Mecklenburg County Bar & Foundation Center
2850 Zebulon Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28208Oct. 25, 2019
11 Boston Way
Asheville, NC 28803Oct. 4, 2019
101 N. Tryon St., Suite 1900
Charlotte, NC 28246Feb. 7, 2019
Sheraton Charlotte Hotel + Le Meridien Charlotte Hotel
555 S. McDowell St.
Charlotte, NC 28204April 3, 2017
North Carolina Bar Center
8000 Weston Parkway
Cary, North Carolina 27513Nov. 14, 2014
Smith Moore Leatherwood
300 N. Greene Street, Suite 1400
Greensboro, North CarolinaMay 1, 2014
- Robinson Bradshaw Publication
- Oct. 3, 2016Robinson Bradshaw Publication
- Starting Out on the Right Foot: Early Efforts Regarding Electronically Stored InformationSept. 12, 2014Antitrust & Complex Business Dispute News, a newsletter from the NCBA
- Jan. 15, 2009Robinson Bradshaw Publication
- Jan. 15, 2009Robinson Bradshaw Publication
- International Association of Defense Counsel, Member
- Mecklenburg County Bar, Nominating Committee, 2018
- North Carolina Bar Association, Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee, 2014-19
- Mecklenburg Bar Foundation, Grant Review Committee, 2014-present
- North Carolina Business Court, Advisory Rules Committee, 2015
- Women Executives, 2018-present
- Women’s Impact Fund, Grants Committee, 2008-09, 2012-16; Grants Team Co-Chair, 2014-16; Grants Task Force Co-Chair, 2016-17; Spark Committee, 2017-18; Board of Directors, 2017-19
- Nurse-Family Partnership, Community Advisory Board, 2015-present
- Leadership Charlotte, Class 38
- Smart Start of Mecklenburg County, Board of Directors, 2012-14