Lawyer who sued Uber launches Massachusetts attorney general campaign

2 minute read

Mary Garcia, from New England United 4 Justice, holds a sign reading “Big Tech Follow the Law” at a demonstration opposing a ballot campaign by companies such has Uber, Lyft and Door Dash to exempt their companies from some labor laws outside the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., June 22, 2021. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

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  • Shannon Liss-Riordan to run for Massachusetts attorney general
  • Liss-Riordan known for employment litigation against gig economy companies

(Reuters) - Shannon Liss-Riordan, a prominent labor attorney known for pursuing lawsuits accusing gig economy companies like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash of misclassifying their drivers as independent contractors, is running for Massachusetts attorney general.

Liss-Riordan, a Democrat who has also litigated against companies like FedEx and Starbucks, made her announcement on Tuesday, a week after Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey launched her campaign to run for governor.

In a message on her campaign website, Liss-Riordan said Massachusetts residents could "count on me to stand up for them because I've already been doing the work for decades.

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"I've stood shoulder-to-shoulder with our waitresses, truck drivers, firefighters, janitors, and gig economy workers, helping them recoup hundreds of millions of dollars that corporate America stole from them," she said.

In 2019, she launched a primary challenge against Democratic U.S. Senator Edward Markey. But she dropped out eight months later after struggling to gain traction in the field that year.

Other local Democrats are also mulling running for attorney general, including Quentin Palfrey, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2018, and former Boston city councilor Andrea Campbell.

A Harvard Law School graduate, she has been a partner at Boston-based Lichten & Liss-Riordan since its founding in 2009, and before that was a partner at another plaintiff-side employment and union law firm in Boston.

A California judge last month tentatively approved a $100 million settlement in one of her cases alleging that DoorDash misclassified delivery drivers in Massachusetts and California as independent contractors.

She has worked with labor groups to oppose a companies-backed ballot measure that asks Massachusetts voters to treat drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft as independent contractors rather than employees.

Healey has been pursuing a lawsuit against Uber and Lyft challenging how the companies classify their drivers. Should Liss-Riordan win election, she would take over that case.

Liss-Riordan also represents Whole Foods workers challenging a ban on Black Lives Matter face masks and former IBM workers in a lawsuit claiming the company laid off older people so it could hire more millennials. The companies deny wrongdoing.

Read more:

Massachusetts judge allows state lawsuit over Uber, Lyft driver status to proceed

1st Circ. skeptical that Whole Foods' BLM mask ban was race bias

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Nate Raymond reports on the federal judiciary and litigation. He can be reached at nate.raymond@thomsonreuters.com.

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Dan Wiessner (@danwiessner) reports on labor and employment and immigration law, including litigation and policy making. He can be reached at daniel.wiessner@thomsonreuters.com.