Hillary Schwab has been a partner at Lichten & Liss-Riordan, P.C. since its inception in 2009. Hillary’s practice focuses primarily on four areas: (1) class actions brought under the Massachusetts Tips Statute and related laws on behalf of employees who earn the majority of their income from gratuities, including food servers, bartenders, and airline skycaps; (2) class actions brought under the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Statute and related laws; (3) class actions brought under federal wage laws and the wage laws of other states; and (4) individual discrimination and retaliation cases, brought under state and federal anti-discrimination statutes, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, the Massachusetts Whistleblower Act, etc.
Hillary has been co-counsel in three cases brought under the Massachusetts Tip Statute in which the firm has received favorable jury verdicts on behalf of workers – cases against the Hilltop Steak House and the Federalist restaurant challenging the restaurants’ practice of not distributing the total proceeds of service charges to the wait staff and a case brought on behalf of American Airlines skycaps challenging American’s policy of charging passengers $2 per bag for baggage checked by the skycaps. A federal court recently certified a national class of skycaps in a subsequent case filed by the firm against American Airlines, challenging the $2 per bag policy under the state common law theories of tortious interference and unjust enrichment.
Hillary is also co-counsel in a number of cases in which the firm represents janitorial cleaning workers, challenging the practices of janitorial franchise companies under state independent contractor misclassification laws and statutes challenging unfair and deceptive business practices. A federal court has granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs in one of these cases brought against Coverall North America, Inc., holding that the company had violated the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Statute as a matter of law. Another federal court has issued a decision certifying a class of janitorial workers in Massachusetts in a similar case against Jani-King.
Hillary has also represented individuals in employment discrimination and retaliation cases. In 2009, she was co-counsel in a case in which a jury returned a plaintiff’s verdict in a police officer’s claim that he was removed from his position as head of the detective division for the Stoughton Police Department in violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Massachusetts Whistleblower Act, after he participated in a grand jury investigation into allegations of police misconduct and after he refused to support the political candidates endorsed by the Chief of Police. The jury awarded him $165,000 in lost wages, emotional distress damages, and punitive damages, and the judge returned him to his position as head of the detective division. Hillary also represented an individual who had been denied a position with the U.S. Foreign Service because of her diabetes. On the eve of trial in December 2009, the State Department agreed to a settlement in which it paid her attorneys’ fees and lost wages and hired her to a position with the Foreign Service.
In 2008, Hillary was named as an “Up and Coming Lawyer” by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.
Prior to joining Lichten & Liss-Riordan, P.C., Hillary worked for several years in civil rights and the public sector. After graduating from Columbia Law School in 1999, Hillary was a law clerk for Judge Robert P. Patterson, Jr. in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and then for Judge Leonard I. Garth for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Hillary then spent a year at the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York as a Blackmun Fellow, litigating cases concerning reproductive rights in state and federal courts all over the country. She then practiced law in Wisconsin for several years, where she first worked representing victims of domestic violence in a rural community and then served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Environmental Protection Unit at the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
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Hillary has been named as one of the Up and Coming Lawyers of 2008 by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, in recognition of her work successfully representing restaurant workers and skycaps in cases brought under the Massachusetts Tips Law.
Awuah et al. v. Coverall North America, Inc., 2009 WL 159423 (1st Cir. 2009) (First Circuit affirmed trial court's ruling that court, rather than arbitrator, may decide whether arbitration clause is unconscionable)
Robert J. Welch v. Christopher Ciampa and Town of Stoughton (1st Cir. 2008): Obtained reversal by the First Circuit Court of Appeals of trial court's decision granting summary judgment to defendants in a case in which a police sergeant brought claims under First Amendment and Massachusetts Whistleblower Act, challenging his demotion after his participation in a grand jury investigation into police misconduct and his refusal to support the political candidate endorsed by his supervisors.
Don DiFiore et al. v. American Airlines (U.S. Dist. Ct. 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)
Donald Benoit et al. v. The Federalist, Inc., (Suffolk Superior Court 2007) (jury verdict in favor of class of Federalist restaurant waitstaff who did not receive total proceeds of service charges added to function bills)
Calcagno, et al. v. High Country Investor, Inc., d/b/a Hilltop Steak House, Essex County Superior Court Case No. 03-0707: Co-counsel in case in which plaintiffs won a jury verdict totaling approximately $2 million on claims that the Hilltop Steak House had failed to distribute all service charges from functions to servers in violation of the Massachusetts Tips Law and had fired the four named plaintiffs in retaliation for them asserting their rights under the wage laws.
Cooney, et al. v. Compass Group Foodservice and Northeastern University, 69 Mass. App. Ct. 632 (Mass. App. Ct. Aug. 1, 2007): Co-counsel in case in which the Massachusetts Appeals Court held that Northeastern’s “service charges” for functions were “service charges” within the meaning of the Massachusetts Tips Law and that, therefore, Northeastern was required to distribute to servers the total proceeds from those service charges.
State of Wisconsin v. Menard, Inc., Eau Claire County: As an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Wisconsin, prosecuted one of the largest home improvement store chains in the country for violations of environmental wastewater discharge and hazardous waste laws. Obtained the largest court-ordered penalty for an environmental violation ever in the State of Wisconsin (more than $2 million).
Simat Corp. v. Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, 203 Ariz. 454, 56 P.3d 28 (Ariz. 2002): While a Blackmun Fellow at the Center for Reproductive Rights, co-counsel in case in which the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that, under the Arizona Constitution. The state could not refuse to fund abortions for indigent women whose health was threatened by pregnancy.
Columbia Law School, J.D., 1999
Brown University, A.B. 1995
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
State of New York
Employment law, including class action wage and hour litigation and individual discrimination and retaliation cases (in state and federal court)
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