Category Archives: Attorneys

Matthew Carlson

Matt Carlson represents workers in class action litigation, including wage and hour, hostile work environment, and discrimination disputes in state and federal courts in California and around the country.

Prior to joining the firm as its first California-based attorney, Matt operated his own law practice, where he partnered with the firm on a number of cases involving “sharing economy” companies in California, including Uber and Lyft. Matt also has substantial experience representing farm workers in central California, transportation workers, and individuals wrongfully classified as “overtime exempt” employees under state and federal law.

Education

University of San Francisco School of Law, J.D.
Yale University, B.A., political science

Bar and Court Admissions

Member, State Bar of California, 2010
United States District Court, Northern District of California
United States District Court, Eastern District of California
United States District Court, Central District of California
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Michael Freedman

Michael Freedman is a dedicated advocate for workers and other marginalized and disenfranchised groups. Michael represents workers in class action wage and hour litigation, many of whom have been misclassified as independent contractors, to recover wages, overtime, tips, and expenses.

Prior to joining Lichten & Liss-Riordan, Michael clerked for the Honorable Marilyn H. Patel (Ret.) on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and the Honorable Reginald C. Lindsay on the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. After completing his clerkships, Michael spent more than five years at a prominent civil rights firm in San Francisco primarily litigating complex class actions to enforce the constitutional rights of state and county prisoners. Since 2012, Michael has co-authored and annually updated a chapter on “Attorney Fees, Costs, and Interest” in the Continuing Education of the Bar’s Employment Damages & Remedies publication. Michael has been named a California Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine every year from 2013 to 2016.

Michael graduated from Stanford Law School in 2008, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights & Civil Liberties and participated in the Stanford Criminal Defense Clinic, representing individuals convicted under California’s Three Strikes law. During law school, Michael also worked and volunteered for the ACLU of Southern California and the ACLU of Northern California.

Education

Stanford Law School, J.D., 2008
Claremont McKenna College,B.A., cum laude, 2003

Bar and Court Admissions

Member, State Bar of California, 2009

Admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of California

Olena Savytska

Olena Savytska is a dedicated and persistent client advocate and combines her experience in civil litigation and direct services in her work, approaching every case as a puzzle. Olena has focused on FLSA wage and hour actions in a variety of industries.

Olena began her work in wage and hour actions at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, where she represented dry cleaning and restaurant workers. As a student at Columbia Law School, Olena helped prepare and present a report to New York State agency members and legislators as part of the Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic and took part in the 2013 National Native American Law Students Association moot court competition.

During college, Olena worked as a paralegal, gaining significant experience in civil discovery and trial preparation. Olena is fluent in Spanish and Russian.

Education

Columbia Law School, J.D.
Boston College, BA in Political Science and Economics, cum laude

Bar and Court Admissions

Member, State Bar of Massachusetts, 2015

Admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts

Harold L. Lichten

Biography

Harold Lichten is a founding partner of the firm and has been practicing labor and employment law for more than 35 years. His practice focuses on class action and individual litigation relating to the misclassification of employees as independent contractors, violations of the wage and hour laws, discrimination based on race, sex, and disability, and wrongful termination based on protected activity. He also represents labor unions including police, firefighters, steelworkers, and electrical workers.

Mr. Lichten is deeply committed to the field of civil rights and the protection of worker rights. He has successfully tried many jury trials, recently recovering nearly $2 million for a City Auditor who was unlawfully fired for testifying against his boss. Mr. Lichten has been lead or co-counsel in landmark employment cases around the country and has obtained significant jury verdicts for individuals who have been the victim of discrimination, retaliation, or whistleblowing, and he has argued and won appeals in the United States Court of Appeals for the First, Third, and Eleventh Circuits. In addition to his representation of classes of employees, individuals, and labor unions, Mr. Lichten has frequently taught courses in employment discrimination, misclassification of workers, and labor law for local, state, and national law organizations.

In 2003 and 2015, he was named Lawyer of the Year by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, and he has been voted a Massachusetts Super Lawyer in each of the last ten years. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and New York University School of Law.

Major Cases

Pace v. City of Lynn, Case No. 11-01360, slip op. (Essex Super. Ct., June 6, 2014) (whistleblower case involving city employee with a multi-million dollar verdict won for plaintiff)

Martins, et al. v. 3PD, Inc., 2013 WL 1320454 (D. Mass 2013) (won class certification and summary judgment that appliance delivery drivers were employees, not independent contractors)

Sam Hargrove, et al. v. Sleepy’s, et al., Case Nos. 12-2541/12-2542 (3rd Cir. 2013) (won reversal and remand of decision finding New Jersey truck drivers to be independent contractors, not employees of Sleepy’s)

Scantland, et al. v. Jeffry Knight, Inc., et al., 721 F.3d 1308 (11th Cir. 2013) (reversing trial court ruling that cable installers were properly classified as independent contractors)

Lopez, et al. v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 463 Mass. 696 (2012) (Supreme Court of Massachusetts reversed lower court decision and held that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts may be held liable under state discrimination law for constructing discriminatory promotional exams)

In The News

Mr. Lichten was named a 2003 and 2015 Lawyer of the Year by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Judge rules Boston police exam discriminated against minorities
The Boston Globe | November, 2015

Court suspends probation officer demotions
The Boston Globe | August, 2015

MCAD ruling supports black Worcester officers passed over for promotion
Telegram & Gazette | July, 2015

NJ’s Definition of ‘Employee’ Revives Sleepy’s Class Suit
New Jersey Law Journal | May, 2015

Fired official wins suit vs. city
The Boston Globe | June, 2014

Black police officials sue city
The Boston Globe | February, 2012

Police hit with bias decision; Two officers may be due ‘millions’
Worcester Telegram | November, 2011

Endo Sales Reps Win Conditional Cert. For OT Suit
Law 360 | June, 2011

Sebring men sue MasTec for OT pay
Tampa Bay Online | June, 2010

Contractors cry foul over benefit-excluding system
St. Petersburg Times | December, 2009

Independent contractor decision has lawyers wary
Mass Lawyers Weekly | December, 2008

Judge says firefighter tests biased and unfair
The Boston Globe | August, 2006

Organized labor of love
The Boston Globe | February, 2005

Education

New York University School of Law, J.D., 1977
University of Pennsylvania, B.A., 1974

Professional Affiliations

Member, National Employment Lawyers Association
Member, AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee

Bar and Court Admissions

Member, State Bar of Massachusetts, since 1986
Member, State Bar of Maine, since 1980

Admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, U.S. District Court of Maine, the U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit, Third Circuit, Fourth Circuit, Seventh Circuit, Eleventh Circuit, and the Court of Appeals District of Columbia

Practice Areas

Labor unions, wage and hour class actions, wrongful termination, employment discrimination

Shannon Liss-Riordan

Biography

Shannon Liss-Riordan is widely recognized as one of the nation’s top plaintiffs’ class action employment lawyers. She has reshaped industries through her pioneering successes representing tipped workers, employees misclassified as independent contractors, and low wage workers who have been denied overtime, minimum wage, and other wage protections. Best Lawyers in America has called her “the reigning plaintiffs’ champion” (2013) and has said she is “probably the best known wage class action lawyer on the plaintiff side in this area, if not the entire country” (2015). Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly described her on its “Power List” (2009) as a “Tenacious class-action plaintiffs’ lawyer [who] strikes fear in big-firm employment attorneys throughout Boston with her multi-million-dollar victories on behalf of strippers, waiters, skycaps and other non-exempt employees.” Politico named her to its guide to the “Top 50 thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics in 2016”.  San Francisco Magazine has said that “Liss-Riordan has achieved a kind of celebrity unseen in the legal world since Ralph Nader sued General Motors.”

For nearly 20 years, Ms. Liss-Riordan has brought and won groundbreaking lawsuits that have shaped the law protecting workers in the food service, cleaning, adult entertainment, trucking, and other industries. She is currently representing workers in a number of cases against self-proclaimed “sharing economy” companies that save on labor costs by misclassifying employees as independent contractors. She represents employees nationally, at the trial court and appellate levels, including six landmark victories at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Some of her most notable cases include victories against Starbucks, FedEx, and American Airlines. The Boston Globe has profiled her work twice as a “legal champion” fighting for the rights of low wage workers, and she has also been profiled in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, and the LA Times.

A graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard College, Ms. Liss-Riordan co-founded Lichten & Liss-Riordan, P.C. in 2009. Previously she was a partner at a plaintiff-side employment and union law firm in Boston where she worked for more than 10 years after clerking for a federal court judge for two years following law school.

Profiles

Uber’s Worst Nightmare
San Francisco Magazine | May, 2016

Litigator of the Week: Shannon Liss-Riordan of Lichten & Liss-Riordan
The American Lawyer | April, 2016

Meet the attorney suing Uber, Lyft, GrubHub and a dozen California tech firms
LA Times | January, 2016

Meet “Sledgehammer Shannon,” the Lawyer Who Is Uber’s Worst Nightmare
Mother Jones | December, 2015

Meet the Lawyer Challenging the Food-Delivery Industry
Eater | December, 2015

Meet the Boston Lawyer Who’s Putting Uber on Trial
Wall Street Journal | November, 2015

‘Sledgehammer Shannon:’ The attorney taking on Uber and others in the sharing economy
Bizwomen | September, 2015

What Strippers Can Teach Uber
Medium | April, 2015

Meet the lawyer taking on Uber and the rest of the on-demand economy
Fusion | April, 2015

2014 Top Women of Law
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly | December, 2014

The worker’s champion
CommonWealth Magazine | July, 2013

Lawyer fights for low-wage workers’ rights
Boston Globe | December, 2012

Skycaps and waiters find a legal champion
Boston Globe | April, 2008

Recognitions

Best Lawyers in America (each year since 2008)
Massachusetts Super Lawyers (each year since 2005)
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Lawyer of the Year (2002)

Lawyer of the Year
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly | December, 2002

Harvey A. Schwartz, Boston employment and civil rights lawyer, on Shannon Liss-Riordan
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly | December, 2002

Major Rulings

Marzuq v. Cadete Enterprises, Inc., 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 21301 (1st Cir. 2015) (Dunkin Donuts general managers could be eligible for time-and-a-half overtime pay by proving management was not their primary duty, distinguishing 1982 Burger King precedent, which had held fast food managers to be overtime-exempt)

Travers v. Flight Systems & Services, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 21671 (1st Cir. 2015) (affirming jury verdict in favor of skycap who was terminated in retaliation for leading class action wage complaint challenging policy affecting skycaps’ tips and reinstating claim for front pay)

Depianti v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, 465 Mass. 607 (2013) (Supreme Judicial Court held that national cleaning company could be liable for misclassifying cleaning workers, notwithstanding that contracts were with intermediary companies)

Taylor v. Eastern Connection, 465 Mass. 191 (2013) (Supreme Judicial Court held that Massachusetts law could apply to work performed outside of the state, due to choice-of-law provision in workers’ contracts)

Sample trial victories

Travers v. Flight Systems & Services (D. Mass. 2014) (close to $1 million jury verdict in favor of skycap who was terminated in retaliation for bringing wage complaint about policy affecting skycaps’ tips)

DiFiore v. American Airlines (D. Mass. 2008) (jury verdict in favor of skycaps, finding that airline violated state tips law and interfered with skycaps’ relationship with passengers by charging $2 per bag and not allowing skycaps to keep the proceeds of the charge; verdict led to airline dropping charge nationwide) (damages award reversed on federal preemption grounds)

Benoit v. The Federalist, Inc. (Mass. Super. 2007) (class action jury verdict in favor of waitstaff who did not receive total proceeds of service charges added to function bills)

Bradley v. City of Lynn, 443 F.Supp.2d 145 (D.Mass. 2006) (class action verdict finding state civil service exam had disparate impact on minorities, resulting in statewide hiring of more than 60 minority firefighters and police officers)

Calcagno v. High Country Investor, Inc. d/b/a Hilltop Steakhouse (Mass. Super. 2006) (class action jury verdict finding management illegally skimmed servers’ gratuities)

Sprague v. United Airlines, Inc., 2002 WL 1803733 (D. Mass 2002) (judgment of $1.1 million in a discrimination case brought by deaf airline mechanic who had been denied employment based on disability)

Dahill v. Boston Police Department, 434 Mass. 233 (2001) (Supreme Judicial Court decided that Massachusetts law would diverge from federal law in prohibiting discrimination against individuals with correctable disabilities, resulting in hiring of hearing-impaired police officer candidate and jury verdict of nearly $1 million)

Education

Harvard Law School, J.D., 1996
Harvard College, A.B., 1990

Bar and Court Admissions

Member, State Bar of Massachusetts, 1998
Member, State Bar of New York, 1999
Member, State Bar of California, 2016

Admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals, First, Second, Third, Seventh, Ninth, and D.C. Circuits

Ben Weber

Ben Weber is a committed workers’ rights advocate with a lengthy record of public service. After graduating from law school in 2005, Ben was awarded an Equal Justice Works Fellowship and began work at Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, where he represented migrant farm workers in complex federal employment litigation throughout the South.

Prior to joining the firm, Ben worked for four years as Assistant Attorney General in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. Ben worked in the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division, where he prosecuted employers for violations of Massachusetts’ wage laws.

Ben later worked in the Attorney General’s Administrative Law Division where he represented numerous state agencies and boards in cases challenging administrative decisions. During that time, Ben briefed and argued more than 30 cases in the Massachusetts Appeals Court and developed an expertise in many areas of administrative law, including unemployment, licensure, and parental rights.

Education

University of Iowa College of Law, J.D., 2005
Brandeis University, B.A., 1996

Morry Stein Award of Valor

Bar and Court Admissions

Member, State Bar of Massachusetts, 2008
Member, State Bar of Tennessee, 2005

Peter Delano

Peter Delano represents employees in a variety of employment matters, including class action wage and hour cases, discrimination cases on the basis of disability, gender, or other protected class, as well as cases challenging unlawful hiring and promotional practices before the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission. In addition, Peter represents labor unions before the Division of Labor Relations and the National Labor Relations Board, as well as in the arbitration of worker terminations and other violations of collective bargaining agreements.

At Northeastern University School of Law, Peter concentrated on workers’ rights, including employment discrimination, wage rights, and labor organization rights. Through Northeastern’s co-op program, Peter completed legal internships with a public school district, a teacher’s union, and Lichten & Liss-Riordan, allowing Peter to gain a variety of perspectives on the issue of worker rights. Before pursuing a legal career, Peter served in the active-duty enlisted ranks of the United States Air Force, where he served in the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, and Iraq.

Education

Northeastern University School of Law, J.D., 2012
University of Maine at Farmington, B.A., 2009
Community College of the Air Force, A.D., 2006

Bar and Court Admissions

Member, State Bar of Massachusetts, 2012

Matthew Thomson

Matthew Thomson proudly represents workers asserting wage claims against their employers, including delivery drivers, cable and satellite installation technicians, couriers, exotic dancers, waitstaff employees, automobile detailers, and carnival workers. Matt has obtained summary judgment and class certification on behalf of employees in a number of cases in state and federal courts across the Commonwealth and elsewhere, and has achieved many favorable settlements on behalf of his clients. In June 2014, together with Attorney Harold Lichten, Matt obtained a jury verdict of close to $1 million for a municipal employee asserting whistleblower claims against his employer. Matt also represents police officers, firefighters, and other public employees in gender, age, and handicap discrimination cases in Massachusetts.

Matt developed his passion for workers’ rights through his extensive background in public service. Prior to attending law school, Matt received his college’s Spirit of Service Award in recognition of commitment to the common good, and he served as an Americorps VISTA coordinating a mentoring program in local elementary schools.

During law school, Matt focused on employment law and civil rights. He worked as a student attorney in the Employment Unit of Greater Boston Legal Services, where he represented workers in unemployment insurance hearings. He also represented workers and individuals with disabilities through Northeastern University’s Poverty Law Clinic.

Prior to joining the firm, Matt gained extensive knowledge of civil litigation and the state trial courts by serving as a law clerk to the Superior Courts of Massachusetts and Maine.

Education

Northeastern University School of Law, J.D., 2011
Bowdoin College, B.A., 2006

Bar and Court Admissions

Member, State Bar of Massachusetts, 2011

Admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

Jill Kahn

Jill Kahn is a dedicated worker’s rights advocate with a strong commitment to public service. Jill represents employees in Massachusetts and throughout the country in class action litigation involving failure to pay wages, overtime, gratuities, minimum wage, and misclassification of employees as independent contractors, as well as employment discrimination suits.

During law school, Jill represented individuals in civil rights disputes as a member of the New York Civil Liberties Union Civil Rights Litigation Clinic. Jill also served as a legal intern for the American Civil Liberties Union Women’s Rights Project, and for Brooklyn Legal Services, where she represented tenant associations.  Following law school, Jill gained extensive litigation experience as an associate at Chadbourne & Parke LLP in New York City, where she maintained an active pro bono practice.

In college, Jill volunteered for the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, assisting eligible candidates to apply for federal food stamp benefits. Jill also served as an intern for Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s office of foreign policy, and for Amnesty International’s Women’s Human Rights Project.

Education

New York University School of Law, J.D., 2011
University of Pennsylvania, B.A., magna cum laude, 2008

Bar and Court Admissions

Member, State Bar of Massachusetts, 2014
Member, State Bar of New York, 2012

Admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of NY

Adelaide Pagano

Adelaide Pagano is a committed workers’ rights advocate with a strong commitment to public service. Adelaide represents employees in class action wage and hour cases, as well as individual discrimination cases. She is currently involved in a number of cases in which employees have been misclassified as independent contractors, including cleaning workers, exotic dancers, and drivers for “sharing economy” companies, such as Uber, DoorDash, and Postmates.

Prior to her work at the firm, Adelaide focused her studies on labor and employment law and civil rights. She worked as an intern for the DC Employment Justice Center in Washington DC and for SEIU Local 615 in Boston, where she assisted with arbitrations on behalf of cleaning workers. Adelaide was also an active member of the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project (PLAP), the Labor and Employment Action Project (LEAP), and she served as an article editor for the Harvard Law and Policy Review.

Before law school, Adelaide worked as a paralegal at union-side labor law firm, in Washington, DC, assisting with cases on behalf of union workers. While an undergraduate at Macalester College, she participated in community and political organizing, working for improved access to health care and to elect progressive candidates to local office.

Education

Harvard Law School, J.D., cum laude
Macalester College, BA in political science, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa

Bar and Court Admissions

Member, State Bar of Massachusetts, 2014

Admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, the U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit and Seventh Circuit