Group Photo from E-Discovery Conference

Partner Katrina Carroll Speaks at E-Discovery Conference

Group Photo from E-Discovery Conference

Back row: Simeon Morbey, Katrina Carroll, Drew Lewis, Lea Malani Bays, Jeannine Kenney, Brian Clark, Annika Martin, Jonathan Wiley, Rebekah Bailey
Front row: James Bilsborrow, Jonathan Jagher, Shana Scarlett, Daniel Stromberg

Carlson Lynch LLP Partner, Katrina Carroll presented at the fifth annual E-Discovery Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota this month. The conference, also known as the Complex Litigation E-Discovery Forum, is based on best practices for plaintiffs’ side complex litigation attorneys. The two-day seminar focused on depositions and e-Discovery.

Carroll’s topic, “The Interplay of Depositions & E-Discovery: Plaintiff Offensive Review Workflows and Tips” included several strategies when preparing class action plaintiffs for the litigation discovery process. She highlighted how crucial it is to 1). Establish open dialogue with each client, outlining the importance of transparency in communication and 2.) The discovery process could involve the investigation of a client’s online presence. Social media interactions can result in a waiver of attorney-client privilege. Those clients pursuing litigation must be careful when sharing information on social media and not discuss specific details of their case, otherwise, they forfeit their privilege. In this day in age when oversharing is the norm, attorneys must compel their clients to focus their energy on communicating with their attorneys and forgo the urge to disclose every detail of their case online.

“Crafty defense attorneys focus on social media communications in recent years. This area will surely become the subject of court inquiries and I would expect that any discussion in a public forum will be fair game for examination.” - Katrina Carroll

Katrina Carroll has participated in numerous conventions and conferences such as the American Bar Association Annual National Institute on Class Actions in 2014, the Perrin’s Class Action Litigation Conference in 2015, Loyola University School of Law’s Consumer Law Review Academic Symposium in 2017 and the Class Action Mastery Program in 2018 to name just a few.
For more information on Katrina Carroll’s work or on the E-Discovery Forum please visit:
E-Discovery Conference Website (Opens in new window)


Jamisen Etzel Headshot

Jamisen Etzel of Carlson Lynch Wins Affirmance of Class Action Trial Victory

The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled in favor of Carlson Lynch’s clients and upheld a jury award of more than $4.5 million to a class of dancers who worked for the Penthouse Club in Philadelphia.

The case went to jury trial in March of 2018, and the jury’s award was then appealed by the Penthouse Club. Jamisen Etzel of Carlson Lynch briefed the appeal and presented oral argument in front of the Third Circuit in Philadelphia on April 17, 2019.

The Third Circuit issued its opinion on August 30, 2019, affirming “across the board” the jury’s $4.5 million verdict for unpaid minimum wages and unjust enrichment under Pennsylvania law. The court also confirmed the district judge’s decision in June 2014 that the dancers were in fact employees of the Penthouse Club and subject to the protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act.

Jamisen Etzel, a graduate of Duquesne University (magna cum laude 2008) and New York University School of Law (J.D. in 2011), represented the class of dancers throughout the pretrial and trial phases of the case, along with Carlson Lynch Founding Partner, Gary Lynch, Esq., and Co-Counsel Gerald D. Wells, III of Connolly Wells & Gray.

Since joining Carlson Lynch LLP in 2012, Mr. Etzel has argued in the Third, Fourth, and Eleventh Circuits, and assisted on briefs in the Second and Ninth Circuits and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. His appellate work has yielded reported decisions favorable to his clients, including on several matters of first impression. This is his fourth federal appellate victory on behalf of nightclub dancers. The previous cases are: Mickles v. Country Club, Inc., 887 F.3d 1270 (11th Cir. 2018), DeGidio v. Crazy Horse Saloon and Restaurant, Inc., 880 F.3d 135 (4th Cir. 2018), and Herzfeld v. 1416 Chancellor, Inc., 666 F. App’x 124 (3d Cir. 2016).

In 2019, Mr. Etzel was named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers.


Gary Lynch sitting at his desk

The Legal Intelligencer spotlights Attorney of the Year Nominee


The Legal Intelligencer spotlights Attorney of the Year Nominee and founding Carlson Lynch LLP partner Gary Lynch, Esq. Gary "is involved in just about every major cyber breach litigation in the U.S., but such cases weren’t always his focus.”

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Uber Driver

Uber Sued for Discriminating Against Wheelchair-Users

Uber logoCarlson Lynch LLP and Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) filed a class action lawsuit against Uber, challenging the popular ride-sharing service’s failure to make wheelchair-accessible vehicles available in the Pittsburgh area through its rideshare service.

Today, Carlson Lynch LLP and Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) filed a class action lawsuit against Uber, challenging the popular ride-sharing service’s failure to make wheelchair-accessible vehicles available in the Pittsburgh area through its rideshare service. The suit, brought by individuals in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, challenges Uber’s wheelchair-inaccessibility. The plaintiffs—four individuals who use wheelchairs—brought this action to end Uber’s discriminatory practices and policies.

Since launching its transportation service in San Francisco in July 2010, Uber has experienced explosive growth, has seized an ever-expanding market share from taxi companies, and is now a major provider of individual transportation services in over 450 cities in the United States, including Pittsburgh. However, Uber, a multi-billion-dollar company, does not provide wheelchair-accessible transportation in and around Pittsburgh, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Uber has been sued in cities around the United States for its violation of disability laws by failing to provide wheelchair-accessible service, yet it has continued its policy of denying that service.

Uber’s failure to make accessible vehicles available through its service denies people in Pittsburgh who use wheelchairs access to reliable, on-demand transportation that could drastically improve their lives, enabling them to travel to a wider variety of destinations without having to rely on transportation via expensive and unreliable taxis, unreliable paratransit, and limited public transit. It would enable them to travel spontaneously, without having to schedule transportation hours or even days in advance. Unfortunately, Plaintiffs and members of the class are excluded from these benefits, and suffer real harm as a result.

For example, on multiple occasions Plaintiff Paul O’Hanlon has had to travel several miles by wheelchair when he has missed the last city bus. “By reason of my disability I am denied access to Uber’s on-demand transportation that allows others to move around the city on their own schedules,” he said. Similarly, Plaintiff Irma Allen must rely on her son for transportation, which requires him to take time off work and lose a day’s wages. Ms. Allen said, “My family and I are at a distinct disadvantage because Uber doesn’t provide wheelchair-accessible service. It’s not fair that we are being left behind while other folks are enjoying the benefits of Uber’s new technology.”

Michelle Iorio, Staff Attorney at Disability Rights Advocates, said, “Transportation can be a real challenge for people with mobility disabilities, who often don’t have access to their own vehicle and who frequently can’t depend on paratransit because it is unreliable. Accessible ride sharing would facilitate societal integration for persons with disabilities, and Uber’s failure to provide wheelchair-accessible service undermines this potential.”

Echoing this sentiment, Bruce Carlson, a founding partner at national class action firm Carlson Lynch, LLP, noted: “Uber’s express business plan, as detailed in its regulatory filings, is to displace public transportation with its ride sharing services. The problem is that public transportation, where available, is largely accessible, but Uber’s ride sharing services are not. Uber wants to create a paradigm shift with respect to the provision of transportation services. But will the new paradigm realize the potential of exponentially increasing accessibility, or will it leave individuals with mobility disabilities behind?”

The lawsuit seeks modifications to Uber’s policies and practices to ensure that it makes wheelchair accessible vehicles readily available to persons who need them through its on- demand ridesharing services. Plaintiffs do not seek monetary damages.

In addition to the case filed today against Uber in Pittsburgh, DRA has filed cases against Uber in New York and California for their failure to serve riders who use wheelchairs. DRA has also filed a case against Uber’s competitor Lyft in California. These cases are critical to protecting the rights of wheelchair-users throughout the country.

A copy of the Complaint is available here.


Carlson Lynch Announces Chicago Native, Katrina Carroll, as Partner to Lead New Chicago Office

Carlson Lynch LLP, a Pittsburgh-based class action law firm, expands its national presence with the opening of a Chicago office and the addition of three Chicago attorneys. The firm’s new location will be led by Chicago native and newly appointed Carlson Lynch Partner, Katrina Carroll, a veteran class action litigator and former partner of Lite DePalma Greenberg, LLC. Katrina will continue her national class action practice upon joining Carlson Lynch and will oversee the firm’s expansion into Chicago.

Katrina brings nineteen years of litigation experience and has worked on nearly all types of class actions in various leadership roles, including products liability, data breach and privacy, consumer, environmental contamination, antitrust and securities matters. Katrina also maintains a thriving local counsel practice in Chicago and a vast network of co-counsel relationships with some of the most prominent class action practitioners across the United States.

“I am thrilled to join this talented group of attorneys at Carlson Lynch, some of whom I’ve known for many years,” says Ms. Carroll. “It quickly became apparent that we all share the same passion: fighting for the underdog. I look forward to taking the good fight into the future with the support of my new partners.”

Since the firm was founded in 2004, Carlson Lynch has dedicated itself to representing plaintiffs in class litigation involving consumer and financial fraud, data breach and privacy, labor and employment, disability access and wage and hour laws, in federal and state courts throughout the country. With the addition of the new Chicago office, Carlson Lynch expands its expertise to a major market.

According to Gary Lynch, one of the firm’s founding partners, “Having Katrina join our firm as Partner and opening our Chicago office with two established class action attorneys helps fortify our work in bringing justice for plaintiff’s nationwide. With an office in San Diego and our base in Pittsburgh we are excited to welcome them to our professional family.”

Kyle Shamberg and Nicholas Lange will join Katrina in Carlson Lynch’s Chicago office.


Kelly Iverson

Carlson Lynch Partner, Kelly Iverson, Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Pennsylvania

The National Trial Lawyers Top 100Congratulations to Carlson Lynch LLP Partner, Kelly K. Iverson for being invited to join The National Trial Lawyers as one of the
Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Pennsylvania. Kelly is being recognized as a premier US trial lawyer who exemplifies superior qualifications as civil plaintiff or criminal defense trial lawyers.

Kelly has extensive litigation experience in both state and federal courts and has argued in front of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.

 

Kelly Iverson

Super Lawyers

Carlson Lynch Super Lawyers & Rising Stars Announced

Every year Super Lawyers selects attorneys from all firm sizes & over 70 practice areas throughout the United States. Congratulations to Super Lawyers' Carlson Lynch LLP Partner Gary Lynch, Ed Kilpela, & Todd Carpenter and Rising Stars Kelly Iverson, James McGraw & Jamisen Etzel.

Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a patented multiphase selection process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with independent research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis. The objective is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel. Since Super Lawyers is intended to be used as an aid in selecting a lawyer, it limits the lawyer ratings to those who can be hired and retained by the public.

Group of Carlon Lynch Lawyers nomincates as Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

At Carlson Lynch, our team has been elevating the level of discussion, debate and change towards justice in this country for more than thirty years.

"As we continue to raise the bar fighting for the rights of men & women, we congratulate this group for being selected this year's Super Lawyers* and Rising Stars** recipients." -Bruce Carlson and Gary Lynch

Pictured from left to right: Gary Lynch*, Kelly Iverson**, Bruce Carlson, Ed Kilpela*, James McGraw**, Jamisen Etzel**


Gary Lynch Headshot

Carlson Lynch Partner, Gary Lynch Name the Legal Intelligencer Attorney of the Year Finalist

Today, the Legal Intelligencer announced the 2019 Professional Excellence Award winners, highlighting the great work and achievements across the full breadth of the Pennsylvania legal community and naming Gary Lynch, a partner of Carlson Lynch, Attorney of the Year Finalist.

In the 2018 landmark cybersecurity and data privacy case, Lynch successfully argued before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that companies have a common-law duty to protect their electronically stored employee data. The high court’s ruling reversed two controversial lower court rulings that had tossed out a lawsuit against UPMC over a data breach that exposed the personal information of tens of thousands of current and former employees.

Earlier in 2018, Lynch was appointed co-lead counsel of national multidistrict litigation brought by over 70 financial institutions against Equifax, related to the company’s 2017 data breach.

Lynch is helping to shape the emerging area of data breach and privacy law through his work on several cases over the past few years, including data breach litigation involving Target, Home Depot, UPMC and Wendy’s. He was co-lead counsel for the financial institutions suing Home Depot, following the home improvement retailer’s 2014 data breach and on the five-person executive committee overseeing the prosecution of nationwide litigation against Target for its 2013 breach.

In addition to his work in the cyber security arena, Lynch continued his consumer protection and employee wage and hour practice in 2018, serving as co-lead for plaintiffs in a trial against the Penthouse Club in Philadelphia and securing a verdict of $4.5 Million on behalf of a class of exotic dancers who were misclassified as independent contractors by the night club.


Brittany Casola

Using Motor-Voter Rolls Can Enhance Inclusiveness in Jury Pools

Jury Trial Improvement Committee Newsletter

Editor's note: On October 2, 2018, the California Secretary of State reported a record 19 million registered voters are now on the rolls. According to Paul Mitchell, head of Political Data, Inc., much of the rise in registered voters is the new California Department of Motor Vehicle program that automatically signs up voters or updates their address, when they renew drivers' licenses and identification cards. The DMV process has had some "bumps in the road." By the end of 2018, the DMV reports 23,000 mistakes including duplicate registration and incorrect part affiliation and 1,500 improper registrations of parolees, noncitizens and minors!

Brittany Casola
Brittany Casola, San Diego, CA

A United States citizen’s entitlement to a jury of one’s peers is a touchstone of our justice system and rooted in the Constitution’s right to trial by an impartial jury. Recognizing this democratic principle and striving to achieve adequate representation and inclusiveness in our federal jury panels is critical not only to afford criminal defendants a fair trial, but also essential to foster an environment of active public engagement and to support public confidence in “the process.”
Many district courts in the Ninth Circuit can vastly benefit by supplementing current source lists for their master jury wheels with driver’s license rolls. Currently, most impanelment lists in this circuit are compromised only of voter registration lists. The Ninth Circuit Jury Trial Improvement Committee has recommended the use of motor-voter pools in its Model Plan “in order to increase inclusiveness and to provide better representation of the adult citizen population who are qualified to serve as jurors.” Ninth Circuit Jury Trial Improvement Committee, First Report on Goals and Recommendations (“First Report”), May 2004, p. 4. Adopting the recommended practice of using motor-voter pools to populate jury panels would aid in efficiently reaching the maximum number of qualified citizens to serve as jurors, and would assist in diversifying jury panels to reflect the U.S. citizen population accurately.

The Federal Jury Selection and Service Act of 1968 declares “[i]t is the policy of the United States that all litigants in Federal courts entitled to a trial by jury shall have the right to . . . juries . . . from a fair cross section of the community . . .” 28 U.S.C. § 1861. The Act recognizes that voter lists are the primary source for jury impanelment lists but encourages federal courts to “prescribe some other source or sources . . . where necessary to foster the policy [of representation of a cross section].” 28 U.S.C. § 1863(b)(2); § 1861. In relevant part to this article, the two major requirements an individual must satisfy to be legally qualified to serve on a federal jury is that he or she (1) is a United States citizen and (2) is at least 18 years old. See 28 U.S.C. § 1865(b). Accordingly, voter rolls have historically been a widely accepted method used to create jury panels. In fact, there are currently eight districts in the Ninth Circuit that still utilize only voter lists for populating their jury panels: Alaska, Arizona, Central District of California, Southern District of California, Guam, Nevada, Northern Mariana Islands, and Oregon. However, voter rolls present a wide array of shortcomings that impede upon attaining jury inclusiveness.

Voter lists fail to constitute a “fair cross section of the community” primarily because minorities, the young, and the poor tend to register to vote and vote at lower rates than the remainder of the eligible population. See Jeffrey Abramson, “We, The Jury: The Jury System and the Ideal of Democracy,” at p. 128 (1994). Indeed, national census statistics reveal, “voter registration lists tend to disproportionately represent persons when compared to the total U.S. citizen population in certain age, income, employment classifications, and education categories.” First Report, p. 4. This phenomenon can be attributed in part to the failure of voter registration lists to keep up with the progression of technology, and as a result, voter lists ultimately fail to capture an accurate composition of eligible citizens. To illustrate, PEW researchers estimate at least 51 million eligible U.S. citizens are unregistered, representing more than 24 percent of the eligible population. See PEW, Election Initiatives “Inaccurate, Costly, and Inefficient: Evidence That America’s Voter Registration System Needs an Upgrade,” February 2012, p. 8. One reason for such a significant number of unregistered citizens is that archaic, “paper-based processes” used for voter registration fail to keep up with changes in individuals’ names, addresses, and/or party affiliations, thus, resulting in inaccurate and incomplete data.

The Ninth Circuit’s reach fares slightly better than the U.S. overall in that voter registration lists contain approximately 66 percent of the adult citizen population in the states that comprise the circuit. However, these percentages are wholly inadequate in light of the benchmarks for adequate source list coverage established by the American Bar Association (80 percent) and the National Center for State Courts (85 percent).

State programs, such as California’s New Motor Voter Program, are working to increase voter registration and will ultimately enhance inclusiveness for jury pools. See generally AB 1461. In April 2018, the California DMV began to automatically register qualified driver’s license applicants to vote when they renew or obtain a driver’s license, unless the applicant expressly opts out. Excluded from automatic voter registration are undocumented Californians who maintain drivers’ licenses pursuant to AB 60. See California Secretary of State, California Motor Voter, located at https://www.sos.ca.gov/ elections/california-motor-voter/. Under the program, the DMV sends voter information electronically to the California Secretary of State’s Office, which then verifies citizenship requirements. Importantly, the DMV and SOS will work conjunctively to ensure that individuals with AB 60 drivers’ licenses are not eligible to participate in the program.

California DMV spokesperson Jessica Gonzalez reported that the DMV has “programming in place” to prevent inadvertent voter registration of non-citizens. Moreover, Secretary of State Alex Padilla assures the security of voter registration under the new law, as potential voters will “have to demonstrate proof of age, [and] the vast majority of time people are showing a birth certificate or a passport, which also reflects citizenship. That’s arguably more secure than someone checking a box under penalty of perjury.” Samantha Lachman, Huffington Post, Jerry Brown Signs Automatic Voter Registration in California, October 10, 2015, at https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/automatic-voter-registration-california_us_561680d5e4b0082030a15119.

Lastly, voter pre-registration is available under the program for 16 and 17-year-olds, ensuring a greater presence of the younger population on future jury panels. Undoubtedly, this law advances the goal of attaining more representative jury pools for the remaining California district courts that have not yet added drivers’ license lists to their master wheels.

The committee is confident that supplementing current voter registration lists with drivers’ license lists would provide the most comprehensive coverage of eligible citizens—drivers’ license lists alone account for “more than 90 percent of the adult citizen population in the Ninth Circuit states.” First Report at p. 4. Accordingly, adding drivers’ license lists to federal impanelment wheels would ensure superior reach to all eligible U.S. citizens, increase public participation, significantly expand jury inclusiveness, and bolster the integrity of the justice system.


Pa. Supreme Court rules UPMC — and all employers — must protect workers' data. Doing so is harder.

 

UPMC BuildingGary Lynch, Esq. and Jamisen Etzel argued and won at the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Supreme Court that UPMC breached common law legal duty.

They said UPMC had to meet a standard of reasonable care in handling employee data, because failure to do so could result in harm and it did - to the tune of several million dollars.

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