Theresa Y. Kananen


Fax: 404.873.7011
171 17th Street NW
Suite 2100
Atlanta, Georgia 30363


Theresa is a partner in the Litigation and Employment practices and co-chair of the Payment Systems industry team. Theresa’s practice is multi-faceted, and encompasses employment litigation and counseling, commercial litigation, and regulatory and compliance advice specific to the payments industry.

On the employment side of her practice, Theresa works with employers and human resource professionals in a counseling and training capacity, and also handles internal workplace investigation.  In addition, she represents employers in a full range of employment-based disputes, including termination matters, discrimination and harassment claims, wage and hour issues, restrictive covenants, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and contractual disputes. She appears before administrative agencies, such as the EEOC and Department of Labor, as well as in state and federal courts.

On the payments side of her practice, Theresa serves a variety of entities on the acquiring side of the industry, including ISOs, payment facilitators, and payment processors. She handles both regulatory and compliance matters, whether the genesis of the issue is state law, federal law, or card brand rules.  She is often asked to advise on surcharging practices, money transmitter licensing issues, and issues unique to cryptocurrency. In addition, Theresa routinely handles industry-specific litigation and government investigations, including enforcement actions by the Federal Trade Commission.  Assisting payments clients with contract preparation is also one of her core competencies.  Theresa often presents on payments hot topics at industry conferences.


  • Obtained a complete defense verdict in a jury trial involving claims of legal malpractice and breach of contract.

  • Successfully represented client in a jury trial, obtaining favorable verdict on client’s trademark and trade dress infringement claims, and defeating counterclaims brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

  • Successfully defended and settled dispute with the Federal Trade Commission on behalf of a payments processor regarding disposition of reserve funds under asset freeze order.

  • Obtained complete dismissal of suit alleging claims for unfair competition and misappropriation of trade secrets against client in the low voltage industry.

  • Successfully represented US Mammo, LLC in an unlawful competition and business divorce dispute, obtaining favorable settlement.

  • Defended officers and directors in an action for breach of fiduciary duty before the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

  • Successfully represented payment processors with regard to litigation with merchants, including disputes regarding early termination of merchant agreement, chargebacks, and disposition of merchant funds.


  • University of Georgia School of Law, Juris Doctor,
    magna cum laude
    • Staff Writer and Editor, Georgia Law Review, 2006–08
    • Excellence in Legal Research and Writing, University of Georgia, 2008
    • Excellence in the Studies of Constitutional Law, Employment Discrimination Law, and Employment and Labor Law, University of Georgia; 2008
    • Best Notes Editor, Georgia Law Review, 2007–08
  • University of North Carolina, Bachelor of Arts - English and Spanish,
    with Honors and Highest Distinction
    • Phi Beta Kappa, 2004
    • Golden Key Honors Society, 2002
    • National Society of Collegiate Scholars, 2002
  • State of Georgia 2011
  • State of Arizona 2008
  • Court of Appeals of Georgia 2011
  • Supreme Court of Georgia 2011
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia 2011
  • State Courts of Arizona 2008
  • United States District Court for the District of Arizona 2008
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit 2008
    • Merchant Acquirers Committee
    • Electronic Transactions Association
    • Employment Law Alliance
    • American Bar Association


  • “Rising Star,” Georgia Super Lawyers, 2018
  • ETA’s Inaugural “40 Under 40”