Compiled by Tess Congo

/ New England's Best Lawyers 2017

IN THE HEADLINES

Green Miles Lipton: Harry L. Miles (personal injury litigation – plaintiffs, 1995) is representing Ayanna Hickman in a lawsuit against UMass director of basketball operations Lou Roe, accusing him and three other basketball team staff of depriving her of her civil rights by unlawfully detaining and intimidating her in a team office in 2013. Hickman and Roe had formerly shared an “intimate but tempestuous relationship,” reports The Recorder.

Lichten & Liss-Riordan: Shannon Liss-Riordan (employment law – individuals, 2008) represented Lyft drivers in a lawsuit against the company, arguing that the drivers deserve to be classified as employees and reap employee benefits, such as reimbursement for gasoline and vehicle maintenance expenses, a cost that drivers have been paying for themselves. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria approved the $27 million settlement. Per the settlement agreement, drivers will remain as independent contractors but with additional benefits.

McKee Law: Walter McKee (bet-the-company litigation; criminal defense: general practice; criminal defense: white-collar, 2012) is representing 70-year-old William Sheldon, who has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly trafficking poached elvers (juvenile American eels) between 2011 and 2014. Sheldon is charged with conspiracy and violating the Lacey Act, which prohibits interstate transport or transactions of fish and wildlife illegally harvested or handled. While Sheldon was licensed in Maine and South Carolina to harvest elvers commercially, he was not licensed to buy or sell in Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, and North Carolina, which are all states where he allegedly sold. The seven counts Sheldon is charged with each carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sheldon is pleading not guilty to the charges.

ON THE MOVE

PRIVATE PRACTICE:

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete: Andrew L. Eisenberg (employment law – management; litigation – labor and employment, 2008) was elevated to an equity partner in the firm’s Boston office.

Duane Morris: Paul D. Moore (bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights / insolvency and reorganization law; litigation – bankruptcy, 1995), who practices in Boston, was inducted as a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy in Washington, D.C.

Locke Lord: James F. Coffey (mergers and acquisitions law, 2012) joined Locke Lord in Boston as a partner in its corporate practice group after serving as a partner at White and Williams. Richard A. Manley Jr. (public finance law, 2006) was elected to Locke Lord’s executive committee alongside George Ticknor (banking and finance law; corporate law; leveraged buyouts and private equity law, 2006) and Christopher D. Graham (banking and financing law; corporate law, 1995).

ITN FEATURE

Oakhurst Dairy Learns the Cost of a Missing Comma

To Oxford comma or not Oxford comma isn’t the question Hamlet asked as he contemplated life or death, but maybe he should have. The lack of an Oxford comma in a Maine law has come at an exorbitant price for Oakhurst Dairy: approximately $10 million.

David G. Webbert (employment law – individuals, 2003), Jeffrey Neil Young (employment law – individuals, 2014), Roberta L. de Araujo, and Carol J. Garvan of Johnson, Webbert & Young represented truck drivers in a class-action lawsuit against Oakhurst Dairy concerning more than four years’ worth of overtime pay. While Maine law requires workers to be paid time-and-a-half for every additional hour over 40 per week, there are some exemptions, as detailed in the following state law:

“The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of:

1. Agricultural produce;

2. Meat and fish products; and

3. Perishable foods.”

Due to the lack of Oxford comma after “shipment,” the First U .S. Circuit Court o f Appeals determined t h at there was enough uncertainty for them to rule in favor of the truck drivers, reversing a lower court decision.

The drivers had earned between $46,000 and $52,000 per year, working an average 12 extra hours a week without earning overtime. While three drivers filed the class-action lawsuit, the total sum after legal fees will be divided amongst 75 truck drivers. Danielle Y. Vanderzanden ( litigation – labor and employment, 2008), Patrick F. Hulla (employment law – management; litigation – labor and employment, 2016), Jennifer K. Oldvader, and David L . Schenberg of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart represented Oakhurst Dairy.