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Michael Reiss

ReissMichael
Partner
T206.757.8130
F206.757.7130
M206.390.1875
Mike Reiss is a nationally known trial lawyer, particularly in employment cases. Mike has successfully tried more than a dozen discrimination and wage and hour cases, including three class action trials. His successful defense of Boeing in a racial discrimination class action jury trial (Williams v. The Boeing Company) was recognized by The National Law Journal as a top 10 defense win of the year. He also frequently serves as a mediator and has served as a court-appointed special master in employment class actions.

Mike currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Employment Law Council, an invitation-only organization limited to the nation’s top labor and employment attorneys and in-house counsel. He has written and presented extensively on employment law and litigation topics for the American Bar Association, the American Employment Law Council, the National Employment Law Institute and other similar organizations.

For the past ten years, Chambers USA has recognized Mike as a leading employment trial attorney. He also is named among “The 100 Most Powerful Employment Attorneys” by Human Resource Executive magazine in a list published by Lawdragon.

Mike's clients have included: Alaska Airlines, the American Red Cross, ARCO, AT&T, Bank of America, Boeing, Denny's, Home Depot, King County, the NFL, Nike, Pitney Bowes, Paccar, PEMCO, the Seattle Seahawks, The Seattle Times, Starbucks, Teledesic, the University of Puget Sound and the Virginia Mason Medical Center.

Representative Experience

Beem v. Providence Health & Services, Inc.

Obtained jury verdict for Providence Health & Services, Inc., in wrongful termination case involving allegations of failure to accommodate under the ADA and WLAD. (E.D. Wash. 2012)

Dolan, et al. v. King County

Represented King County (Seattle) in class action by over 400 public defenders, attorneys and staff, who work for independent, nonprofit agencies but claim they are entitled to be enrolled in the State's Public Employee Retirement System. (Wash. 2012)

Priyanto, et al. v. Holland America Lines, Inc., et al.

Successfully represented Holland America Lines in defeating class certification in a putative class action by Indonesian seamen involving statutory and contractual claims for damages; case then settled. (C.D. Cal. 2012)

Abdul Alani v. Alaska Airlines

Obtained summary judgment in wrongful termination case involving an Iraqi-born employee alleging national origin discrimination and retaliation. (N.D. Cal. 2011)

Apilado Charles Russ v. NAGAAA

Successfully established First Amendment defense for North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance against claim that Washington state's public accommodations laws were violated by a rule limiting number of heterosexuals on a team. (W.D. Wash. 2011)

Williams v. Boeing Co.

Successfully represented Boeing in 9th Circuit appeal, following complete defense verdicts in bench and jury trial, of class action alleging racial discrimination in compensation. Jury verdict for Boeing was regarded by The National Law Journal as one of the Top 10 defense jury verdicts in any civil trial in 2005. (9th Cir. 2008)

Bell v. Addus Healthcare, Inc.

Successfully represented health care services company in defeating class certification in 3,000+ person putative class action alleging violations of Washington and Oregon wage and hour laws based on alleged denial of meal breaks and rest periods, unpaid overtime and unpaid wages; summary judgment dismissal of multiple claims brought by plaintiff. (W.D. Wash. 2007)

Mitchell v. PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company and PEMCO Insurance Company

Successfully represented PEMCO in Washington Court of Appeals following defense verdict in trial of wage and hour class action lawsuit brought by current and former insurance claims adjusters claiming they had been misclassified as “exempt” employees and were therefore entitled to overtime pay. 03-2-15301-0 SEA (Wash. App. 2007)

Black v. Port of Seattle

Successfully represented Port of Seattle, obtaining summary judgment dismissing all claims in wage and hour putative class action. (2003)

Shahriary v. Teledesic et al.

Obtained summary judgment for Teledesic and all individual defendants on claims of breach of contract, race and age discrimination, fraud and misrepresentation, and alleged violation of California Labor Code in case in which plaintiff sought damages of $100 million; then prevailed in plaintiff's appeal to 9th Circuit. C00-1755C (9th Cir. 2002)

Holloway v. King County, et al.

Successfully resolved class action lawsuit by female jail guards against County and individual defendants by working with clients and class counsel to establish new intake protocols for inmates and procedures for corrections officers. 97-2-23951-6SEA (King Cnty. (Wash.) Super. Ct. 2001)

Witherspoon v. Philips Medical Systems, Inc.

Obtained complete defense verdict in jury trial involving claims of age discrimination arising out of layoff; then negotiated favorable resolution of two other related cases. (W.D. Wash. 1995)

EEOC and Moore, et al. v. Linden Grove Health Care

Successful resolution of class action under Title VII, Section 1981, and Washington Law Against Discrimination, involving claims of racial discrimination against nursing home facilities.

EEOC v. The Boeing Company

Effective resolution of EEOC class action under ADA challenging certain Boeing pre-employment medical examination procedures. Read more

Hulsey, et al. v. Calpine

Negotiated successful resolution of wage and hour class action involving claims regarding exempt status of certain categories of engineers. (Santa Clara Cnty. (Cal.) Super. Ct.)

Woods, et al. v. Bank of America

Successful resolution of wage and hour class action under Washington law involving exempt status of retail mortgage account executives.

Additional Qualifications

  • Trial Skills Training Instructor, Washington State Bar Association and similar organizations, 1980-present
  • Trial Advocacy, University of Washington School of Law, 1980-present
  • Program Director, Team Leader and Faculty, National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) 1975-present
  • Regional Attorney, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Seattle, 1979-1986
  • Law Professor, University of Southern California Law Center, 1968-1979

Professional & Community Activities

  • American Bar Association
  • Board of Directors and Advisory Board, American Employment Law Council
  • Advisory Board, National Employment Law Institute
  • Program Director, National Institute for Trial Advocacy
  • Fellow, College of Labor & Employment Lawyers
  • Instructor, Trial Advocacy, University of Washington School of Law, 1980-present
  • Program Director, Team Leader and Faculty, National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), 1975-present

Professional Recognition

  • Named to the "Most Powerful Employment Attorneys Hall of Fame" by Human Resource Executive magazine and Lawdragon, 2014
  • Winner, "Top 10 Defense Wins of 2005," The National Law Journal, for Williams v. The Boeing Company
  • Named one of "The 100 Most Powerful Employment Attorneys" by Human Resource Executive magazine, published by Lawdragon, 2010-2013
  • Named one of "America's Leading Lawyers for Business" in Employment (Washington) by Chambers USA, 2003-2014; Received "Band 1" ranking, 2012-2014  
  • Named one of the "Best Lawyers in America" in Labor and Employment Law by Best Lawyers, 1993-present
  • Selected to "Washington Super Lawyers," Thomson Reuters, 1999-2014
  • Awarded "2013 Top Rated Lawyer" in Labor & Employment by American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell