Meet The Attorney Suing Uber, Lyft, GrubHub And A Dozen California Tech Firms

By Tracey Lien
Los Angeles Times.

WWR Article Summary (Tl;dr) A riveting profile of lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan who is fearless when going after companies she believes are ripping off the little guy. Among women in business she is a tough as they come.

SAN FRANCISCO

Shannon Liss-Riordan made a name for herself defending workers against FedEx, American Airlines and Starbucks in wage and hour lawsuits.

If you’re a business executive and she’s knocking at your door, it probably means your company has been accused of doing something few Americans have much tolerance for: ripping off the little guy.

So, if you’re an executive in Silicon Valley, where businesses are lauded for disrupting the old way of doing things, tearing down the hierarchies of the past, making the world a better place, you’d think you’d get a pass, right?

Hardly. After slapping on-demand transportation company Uber with a class-action lawsuit over driver misclassification in 2013, the Boston lawyer has been busy, filing a dozen similar lawsuits against California tech firms.

Silicon Valley companies may think they’re a breed apart, but to Liss-Riordan, too many of them are too similar to the big corporations she’s fought in the past, companies she says flout labor laws for profit at the expense of low-wage workers.

Where some see Silicon Valley innovation, Liss-Riordan sees an old power struggle, wrapped in an app.

Liss-Riordan hasn’t kept track of how many miles she’s logged between Boston and San Francisco since she started litigating against companies in the on-demand economy. But she’s now treated as a regular at the federal courthouse in San Francisco, where she’s often seen dragging a roller bag of legal documents in and out of the towering gray building.

An opposing attorney in one of her cases saw her around so much he challenged whether she should be allowed to file so many lawsuits in the state when she isn’t a member of the State Bar of California.

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