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After the case was consolidated, over the Plaintiffs’ objections, into the MDL proceeding in Indiana, the Court appointed three law firms as Lead Counsel, with authority and the responsibility to handle all of the claims for all of the plaintiffs in each of the individual cases that were consolidated.
The Lead Counsel Firms are as follows:
Beth Ross has been with Leonard Carder LLP since 1990. She specializes in both traditional labor law and employment law, and is a frequent speaker and lecturer in the areas of wage and hour law and trial practice. Ms. Ross’s practice places particular emphasis on wage and hour, independent contractor misclassification, disability discrimination and reasonable accommodation matters and retaliation.
Ms. Ross served as lead trial counsel in numerous wage and hour class actions, including ground-breaking cases establishing the employment status of exotic dancers at San Francisco’s infamous Mitchell Brother’s O’Farrell Theatre, Vickery et. al. v. Cinema Seven, Inc. SF Superior Court Case No. BC-210310 (1994) and FedEx Ground pickup and delivery contractors in California, Estrada v. FedEx Ground Package Systems, Inc., 154 Cal.App.4th 1 (2007). She is currently serving as co-lead counsel in MDL litigation challenging the independent contractor classification of FedEx Ground pick-up and delivery drivers nationally.
Ms. Ross also provides full service representation to numerous labor union clients in a variety of industries, including litigation before the state and federal courts, state and federal administrative agencies, labor arbitration, advice and counsel. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee.
Susan Ellingstad heads the firm’s employment law department and represents large and small governmental and business clients in federal, state and administrative employment actions in Minnesota and throughout the country. Ms. Ellingstad specializes in litigation involving employment discrimination, harassment, wage and hour violations, noncompete agreements and ERISA practice and procedure. She also practices in the areas of class action and commercial litigation. In addition to litigation, Ms. Ellingstad frequently writes and lectures on the Fair Labor Standards Act and other employment law issues, conducts training seminars for businesses, and counsels employers in the areas of FLSA compliance, performance management and disability accommodation issues. She also mediates employment law cases.
Ms. Ellingstad is a 1993 cum laude graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, where she was an editor of the Minnesota Law Review. She was Law Clerk to the Honorable Robert G. Renner, U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, and has been an adjunct professor for the University of Minnesota Law School legal writing program.
Robert Harwood, senior partner of the Firm, graduated from William and Mary Law School in 1971, and has specialized in securities law and securities litigation since beginning his career in 1972 at the Enforcement Division of the New York Stock Exchange. He has prosecuted numerous securities, class, derivative, and ERISA actions. He is a member of the Trial Lawyers’ Section of the New York State Bar Association and has served as a guest lecturer at trial advocacy programs sponsored by the Practicing Law Institute. Mr. Harwood has been consistently identified as a New York Metro Super Lawyer. Mr. Harwood is also a Member of the Board of Directors of the MFY Legal Services Inc., which provides free legal representation in civil matters to the poor and the mentally ill in New York City. Since 1999, Mr. Harwood has served as a Village Justice of Dobbs Ferry, New York.
Matthew Houston, a member of the Firm, graduated from Boston University School of Law in 1988. Mr. Houston is a member of the Bar of the State of New York and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Mr. Houston is also admitted to the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and the District of Massachusetts. Mr. Houston has been selected as a New York Metro Super Lawyer.
Peter Overs, Jr., Counsel to the Firm, was admitted to the New York Bar in 1994 and the U.S. District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York in 1995. He is a graduate of St. Johns University (J.D., 1993) and New York University (B.A., magna cum laude, departmental honors in Philosophy, 1990). Mr. Overs authored “U.S. v. Fagg: Stretching the Bounds of Privacy,” 66 St. Johns L. Rev. 1193 (1993). He is a member of the Association of the Bar, City of New York. Upon graduation from law school, Mr. Overs served as law clerk to the Honorable Paul J. Kelly, Jr., Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Judicial Circuit. Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. Overs represented both plaintiffs and defendants in antitrust and securities class actions, complex commercial litigation and federal appeals.
Lead Counsel appointed the following three firms as the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee
William Christopher Penwell
Siegel Brill P.A.
100 Washington Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Chris’ approach to litigation is that control of outcomes should remain in the client’s hands as much as possible. With almost 30 years of trial experience, Chris knows how to try cases but also understands that there are often better ways to achieve the client’s ideal outcome. Combining thorough preparation with unwavering pursuit of the client’s position is the most effective means of bringing the opposing party to the settlement table. It is also the best way to prevail if trial is unavoidable.
From the first meeting, Chris will help the client define goals and set realistic expectations about what can be accomplished through litigation. He has successfully represented clients in disputes involving regulatory takings, utility management services, wind farms, multi-family construction, minority shareholders and executive severance agreements as well as land use, succession and estate disputes.
Chris works closely with Siegel Brill’s team for Real Estate, Employment and Closely Held Businesses. The firm has a long history of representing business owners and property owners.
Gordon Rudd is a partner with Zimmerman Reed, representing individuals in the areas of mass tort, consumer fraud, and employment law. Gordon is a member of the six-person Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in In re FedEx Ground Package Systems, Inc. Employment Practices Litigation, where over 20,000 FedEx Ground drivers from 36 states contested their classification as independent contractors. For over 20 years, he has represented thousands of clients nationwide, recovering unpaid overtime, penalties, and other compensation for employees.
Gordon has been appointed class counsel in cases venued in both state and federal courts across the country. Recently, he was part of the team that achieved a $50 million settlement in the complicated court fight over publicity rights for retired NFL players. Gordon also represented thousands of individuals injured by the largest release of anhydrous ammonia in U.S. history. Two of those individuals were awarded $1.2 million by a jury. Eventually, these trials led to a settlement on behalf of other residents of Minot, North Dakota injured by the derailment.
Gordon has been selected as a Super Lawyer since 2006. He is licensed to practice before, and is a member in good standing of, the Bar of the State of Minnesota and the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. Gordon is also admitted to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
Anthony created Marchetti Law, P.C. in December 2010 when after several years as a partner in the Cureton Clark, the firm closed. At Marchetti Law, Anthony has maintained his sophisticated civil litigation practice, which focuses on plaintiffs’ employment misclassification, personal injury and commercial litigation. Drawing on his 20 years of experience as a trial lawyer, Anthony has found that this mix provides him with a unique perspective that permits him to efficiently and effectively prepare cases for trial.
Anthony was Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney in March of 2011, a classification that is bestowed upon less than 2% of attorneys in the State of New Jersey after a thorough vetting by adversaries, judges and the Office of Attorney Ethics as well as a day long examination.
Anthony has been on the forefront of the fight in New Jersey and other states regarding the misclassification of workers as independent contractors. In 2005, Anthony and his team organized the Fedex Ground/Home Delivery drivers in Barrington, New Jersey, and spent 20 days in a successful trial before the NLRB, and handled numerous unfair labor practice claims. Anthony has been very active in the Drive for Justice against FXG, as counsel to Plaintiffs in New Jersey, North Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas, Virginia, Michigan, Florida, and even one Plaintiff in Montana. During the MDL proceedings, Anthony traveled the country preparing drivers for their depositions and defending same, as well as taking affirmative depositions of FXG managers and DOT experts. Anthony maintained the Cureton Clark seat on the Steering Committee after that firm closed and its attorneys left to pursue other interests. Anthony, who has handled many termination suits against FXG, was also lead counsel in Lucey v. Fedex Ground, the Third Circuit case that found that the FXG arbitration clause to be unconscionable and unenforceable.
Anthony is also lead counsel in the matter of Hargrove v. Sleepy’s, a seminal case in which the New Jersey Supreme Court declared that the worker-friendly ABC test should apply to determine who is a covered employee under the New Jersey Wage Payment Law and Wage and Hour Law. That case drew the attention and participation of entities as diverse as the National Federation of Independent Businesses (a Karl Rove-sponsored group that represents employers) and the National Employment Lawyers Association, New Jersey Legal Services, the Teamsters and several other unions and the New Jersey Attorney General. The Sleepy’s case fundamentally strengthened workers rights in New Jersey, by placing the burden of proof upon the employer seeking to benefit from the misclassification of workers. Anthony was co-class counsel to the Plaintiffs in Badia v. Macy’s, a New Jersey federal class action asserting similar misclassification claims in which the Court approved a final settlement on behalf of a class of furniture delivery drivers, and in Carlson v. Fedex Ground, a certified class Action in which the Court approved a $13 million settlement on behalf of Florida’s FXG drivers. Anthony has worked on other independent contractor misclassification cases involving diverse occupations.
Anthony graduated Temple Law School in 1994. His undergraduate work was at the Pennsylvania State University, where he received a B.S. in Management and Labor and Industrial Relations in 1991. Anthony spent several of his college and law school years as an organizer for Teamsters Local #331 in Pleasantville, New Jersey.