Michael Lieder is a partner at Mehri & Skalet. He has worked with the firm since 2012 and specializes in complex employment discrimination and wage and hour litigation. He has had a leading role in all of the employment class action litigation at the firm since he arrived.
Michael is regularly recognized as a leading class action lawyer. He has been named a “Super Lawyer,” one of “500 Leading Plaintiffs’ Lawyers in America” by Lawdragon magazine, and one of Washington’s Best Lawyers by the Washingtonian. Michael also writes and speaks about employment discrimination class actions. His article, Onward and Upward after Wal-Mart v. Dukes, co-authored with Cyrus Mehri, was published by Trial Magazine. He co-authored a book chapter, Addressing the Ever Increasing Standards for Statistical Evidence: A Plaintiff Attorney’s Perspective, in Adverse Impact Analysis: Understanding Data, Statistics, and Risk (2017). In addition, he has prepared papers and/or spoken at seminars concerning mediation of employment discrimination cases, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Rule 23(f) review of class action certification decisions, ERISA litigation, and wage-and-hour litigation. He also has authored several amicus briefs to the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal.
Michael is also an expert in age discrimination and claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”).
Prior to joining Mehri & Skalet, Michael was of counsel, a partner, and a member of Sprenger & Lang, PLLC for 21 years. At that law firm, he generally served as lead counsel or in another leading role in employment discrimination, ERISA, wage and hour, and consumer class action litigation, including the following prominent cases:
- In re TV Writers Cases, No. 268836 et al. (Cal. Sup. Ct. (Los Angeles Cty.) 2011) (settled this age discrimination class action against major television networks, studios, and talent agencies on behalf of members of the Writers Guild of America for about $70 million, believed to be the largest settlement of an age discrimination class action ever);
- Whitaker v. 3M Co., (Minn. Sup. Ct. (Ramsey Cty.) 2011) (settled this age discrimination class action claiming discrimination primarily in potential ratings, training, and promotions for about $16 million plus injunctive relief);
- Seraphin v. SBC Internet Servs., Inc., No. CV 09-131-S-REB (D. Idaho 2011) (consumer class action);
- Jarvaise v. RAND Corp., No. 1:96-CV-2680 (D.D.C. 2007) (settled this gender discrimination class action claiming discrimination in pay for about $3 million);
- Carlson v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., No. CV-02-3780 (D. Minn. 2006) (settled this gender discrimination class action on behalf of about 230 women against a logistics company for $15 million, about $65,000 per class member, one of the largest per capita settlements ever of a gender discrimination class action);
- Lucich v. New York Life Ins. Co., No. 01-1747 (S.D.N.Y. 2004) (settled this ERISA pension benefits class action on behalf of sales agents for $16 million and agreement to make retirement benefits available to more agents);
- Franklin v. First Union Corp., Nos. 3:99cv344 and 610 (E.D. Va. 2001) (settled this ERISA breach of fiduciary duty class action for about $26 million in what is believed to be the first successful challenge to plan fiduciaries selecting own underperforming funds in 401(k) plan);
- Thornton v. National Railroad Passenger Corp., No. 98-890 (D.D.C. 2000) (settled this race discrimination class action for trackworkers for $16 million and broad injunctive relief, most of which was incorporated into a collective bargaining agreement and is thereby enduring);
- McLaurin v. National Railroad Passenger Corp., No. 98-2019 (D.D.C. 1999) (settled this race discrimination class action for managers and professionals for $8 million and broad injunctive relief including salary adjustments for employees identified as underpaid in pay equity analysis);
- Hyman v. First Union Corporation, No. 94-1043 (D.D.C. 1997) (settled this age discrimination collective action for $58.5 million, believed at the time to be the largest settlement of an age discrimination collective action and still possibly the largest per capita);
- Burns v. Control Data Corporation, No. M.D. 4-96-41 (D. Minn. 1997) (settled this age discrimination collective action for $29 million);
- In Re: Maytag Corporation/Dixie Narco Plant Closing Litigation, No. 92-C-417 (Jefferson County, West Virginia Circuit Court 1995) (settled this breach of contract and fraud class action arising out of the closing of a factory for $16.5 million); and
- In re Pepco Employment Litigation, No. 86-0603 (D.D.C. 1993) (settled this race discrimination class action for $38.5 million and broad injunctive relief).
The settlements in many of the cases required comprehensive injunctive relief in addition to substantial payments to the class members. The monetary awards total in excess of $300 million.
Before beginning work at Sprenger & Lang in 1991, Michael graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was a Notes and Comments editor on the Georgetown Law Journal, worked for six years as an associate at the Madison, Wisconsin office of Foley & Lardner LLP, and served as a visiting assistant professor for a year at the University of Toledo College of Law.
Michael is also an accomplished author with wide-ranging interests. He co-authored a book, Wild Justice: The People of Geronimo vs. the United States, published by Random House in 1997, which was favorably reviewed by the New York Times and the Washington Post, among other leading publications.
Michael has also written or co-authored four pieces published in various law journals unrelated to employment class actions:
- Navajo Dispute Resolution and Promissory Obligations: Continuity & Change in the Largest Native American Nation, 18 Amer. Ind. L. Rev. 1 (1992);
- Constructing a New Action for Negligent Infliction of Economic Loss: Building on Cardozo & Coase, 66 Wash. L. Rev. 937 (1991);
- Religious Pluralism and Education in Historical Perspective: A Critique of the Supreme Court’s Establishment Clause Jurisprudence, 22 Wake Forest L. Rev. 813 (1987); and
- Adjudication of Indian Water Rights Under the McCarran Amendment: Two Courts Are Better Than One, 71 Geo. L.J. 1023 (1983).