Education

  • Stanford Law School, J.D, 2008.  Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor, Stanford Journal of Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
  • Claremont McKenna College, B.A., Philosophy, cum laude, 2003

Admissions

  • California, 2009
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T: 415-433-6830
F: 415-433-7104
E: mfreedman@rbgg.com

Michael Freedman, senior counsel at Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP, focuses his practice on complex civil litigation, employment law, constitutional and civil rights law, and appellate litigation.

He has successfully litigated class action cases involving the rights of prisoners with mental illness, disabilities, and serious medical conditions, and represents small business owners in a variety disputes.  Mr. Freedman also has substantial experience with complex wage-and-hour, independent contractor misclassification, and discrimination class actions on behalf of workers, including challenging arbitration clauses and class action waivers.

Full bio »

vCard icon

Download vCard
T: 415-433-6830
F: 415-433-7104
E: mfreedman@rbgg.com

Michael Freedman, senior counsel at Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP, focuses his practice on complex civil litigation, employment law, constitutional and civil rights law, and appellate litigation.

He has successfully litigated class action cases involving the rights of prisoners with mental illness, disabilities, and serious medical conditions, and represents small business owners in a variety disputes.  Mr. Freedman also has substantial experience with complex wage-and-hour, independent contractor misclassification, and discrimination class actions on behalf of workers, including challenging arbitration clauses and class action waivers.

Mr. Freedman has extensive experience in attorneys’ fees matters, both in his practice and in preparing and updating the chapter on fees in CEB’s practice book, Employment Damages and Other Remedies, and other practice materials on the subject.

Mr. Freedman is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Claremont McKenna College. Prior to joining RBGG, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Marilyn H. Patel of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and to the Honorable Reginald C. Lindsay of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He has been named a Rising Star by Northern California Super Lawyers from 2013-2020.

REPRESENTATIVE CASES
  • Olabi v. Neutron Holdings, Inc. dba Lime: RBGG and co-counsel filed an action in the San Francisco Superior Court under California’s Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) against Lime, a startup that rents dockless motorized scooters throughout the United States.  Lime classified all of its “Juicers”–who pickup scooters off the street in the evening, charge them at their homes overnight, and redistribute them in the morning and without whom Lime could not operate—as independent contractors.  Plaintiff alleged that under California law, including the California Supreme Court’s recent decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, all Juicers are actually employees.  Plaintiff further claimed that Lime, by misclassifying Juicers as independent contractors, violated various provisions of California’s Labor Code regarding the payment of minimum wage, reimbursement for necessary business expenditures, and the provision of accurate wage statements.  Plaintiff sought to recover civil penalties available under PAGA on behalf of all Lime Juicers in California. On September 9, 2019 the Court granted plaintiffs’ motion to coordinate all four statewide misclassification cases against Lime in San Francisco Superior Court. In July 2021, the Court granted approval of a $8.5 million settlement of all four cases against Lime. 
  • Moore et al. v. California Department of State Hospitals:  Together with co-counsel, RBGG sued the Department of State Hospitals (DSH) in Los Angeles Superior Court in 2019 for blatant wage and hour violations.  DSH paid patients at its hospitals as little as one dollar per hour to perform work essential to the functioning of the hospitals, including janitorial, dining, laundry, plumbing, clerical, library, and landscaping services.  On March 18, 2021, the Honorable Elihu M. Berle granted preliminary approval to a $2 million settlement on behalf of 2276 patient workers.  A final approval hearing is scheduled for September 23, 2021.
  • Hospitality Company v. Law Firm:  The firm obtained a confidential settlement on behalf of highly regarded hospitality company whose former counsel failed to disclose conflicts and breached fiduciary duties owed to its client in a series of complex corporate transactions.
  • Ex-Spouse v. Spouse’s Business et al.:  Our clients, two businesswomen and the small business they own, had been sued in superior court by one of the women’s ex-husband for allegedly interfering with his interests in a joint commercial lease. RBGG argued that defendant’s statement to the landlord, informing the landlord of the ex-husband’s threat to evict the women’s business from the office space, was protected pre-litigation speech.  The court agreed and granted a motion RBGG filed under the California Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (“SLAPP”).  The court also found that defendants’ claims, which included intentional interference with contract and intentional and negligent interference with prospective economic advantage, had no probability of success.  As a result, the case was dismissed and defendants recovered significant attorneys’ fees and costs in connection with the motion.
  • Resmex Partners LLC v. Kimomex Santa Clara LLC: The firm represented a San Jose restaurateur and his group of restaurants in a dispute over the sale of two popular restaurants to a third party.  We obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of the clients in the main action and in a related real estate action.
  • Hedrick, et al. v. Grant, et. al:  RBGG and the UC Davis Civil Rights Clinic represent a class of pre-trial detainees, convicted prisoners, and immigration detainees challenging conditions of confinement at California’s Yuba County Jail. In 2013, the federal district court denied Yuba’s attempt to terminate a long-standing consent decree requiring the County to maintain certain minimum standards for those incarcerated at the Jail, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed the decision in 2016. In the fall of 2016, RBGG filed an enforcement motion, seeking to require the County to improve its policies regarding safety cells, suicide screening, out of cell time, intake, and other critical issues, as well as a motion to add claims under the ADA.  After extensive court-supervised settlement negotiations, the parties signed an amended Consent Decree in August 2018. The court approved the Amended Consent Decree and awarded attorneys’ fees to class counsel in early 2019. Since then, RBGG has been closely monitoring the County’s compliance with the Amended Consent Decree. 
  • Hernandez v. County of Monterey: We sued the County of Monterey and its private medical provider, California Forensic Medical Group, challenging dangerous and unconstitutional conditions in the County’s Jail, a system plagued by severe overcrowding, outdated facilities, and chronic understaffing.  In 2014, we defeated the defendants’ motions to dismiss and obtained a unique ruling holding that our clients could assert ADA Title III claims against the Jail’s private medical provider.  See Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 70 F.Supp.3d 963 (N.D. Cal. 2014) .  The federal court subsequently certified a class of the approximately 950 prisoners in the Jail, along with a sub-class of prisoners with disabilities.  See Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 305 F.R.D. 132 (N.D. Cal. 2015).  On April 14, 2015, the court granted a sweeping preliminary injunction on behalf of the class and sub-class, finding rampant violations of the Constitution and federal law.  See Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 110 F. Supp. 3d 929 (N.D. Cal. 2015).  The court approved the parties’ settlement on August 18, 2015, which requires defendants to comply with the requirements of the preliminary injunction and to develop and implement a comprehensive set of plans to enhance services at the Jail.  In November 2015, the Court approved a $4.8 million dollar award of fees and costs to counsel for the plaintiff class.
  • Software Consulting Vendor v. Fortune 500 Technology Company:  We provided advice and counseling to a software consulting vendor in confidential disputes over deliverables and payments under a complex set of consulting agreements. 
  • Armstrong v. Newsom: RBGG proved in federal court that California’s prison and parole systems violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 by discriminating against prisoners and parolees with mobility, sight, hearing, learning, mental and kidney disabilities. We secured systemwide injunctive relief to end the discrimination, which was upheld on appeal.  See Armstrong v. Wilson, 942 F. Supp. 1252 (N.D. Cal. 1996), aff’d 124 F.3d 1019 (9th Cir. 1997). We also established that the State is responsible for taking steps to ensure the rights of prisoners and parolees with disabilities are accommodated when it chooses to house them in third-party county jail facilities. See Armstrong v. Brown, 857 F. Supp. 2d 919 (N.D. Cal. 2012), aff’d 732 F.3d 955 (9th Cir. 2013), cert denied, 134 S. Ct. 2725 (2014); and 622 F.3d 1058 (9th Cir. 2010).   The Armstrong litigation has resulted in a series of ground-breaking precedents, including rulings that the ADA does not permit state government agencies to avoid compliance by delegating responsibilities to local governments, and that prisoners cannot be held in solitary confinement solely on account of disability. We are currently working to stop staff misconduct targeting people with disabilities at CDCR.  On September 8, 2020 and March 11, 2021 respectively, Judge Claudia Wilken granted in part our February 2020 and June 2020 motions to stop staff misconduct at six prisons in CDCR.  The Court found that the systemic abuses against incarcerated people with disabilities at—R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility (San Diego, CA)), CSP – Los Angeles County (Lancaster, CA), CSP -Corcoran (Corcoran, CA), Kern Valley State Prison (Delano, CA), Substance Abuse Treatment Facility (Corcoran, CA), and California Institution for Women (Corona, CA) —violate the ADA and prior court orders.  As a remedy, the Court required Defendants to develop plans to install security cameras and use body worn-cameras (BWCs) throughout the six prisons, reform the staff investigation and disciplinary process, and increase supervisory staffing on all yards at the six prisons.  Currently, BWCs are in use at all six prisons; security cameras will be in place by the end of the year.  The Court also appointed an expert to oversee implementation of the mandated reforms.  Armstrong v. Newsom, 484 F.Supp.3d 808 (N.D. Cal. 2020); Armstrong v. Newsom, 2021 WL 933106 (N.D. Cal. 2021).  We are in ongoing negotiations with CDCR administrators regarding system-wide reforms to the staff investigation and discipline system. Relatedly, on July 30, 2020, the Court entered a preliminary injunction to protect two people with disabilities from retaliation by prison guards.  Officers attacked and threatened both people because they had previously reported to RBGG lawyers that officers had abused other incarcerated people incarcerated people with disabilities.  The Court ordered that CDCR transfer these two witnesses from the prison where they had faced assault, threats and other retaliation .  Armstrong v. Newsom, 475 F. Supp. 3d 1038 (N.D. Cal. 2020). 

Honors & Awards

  • Northern California Super Lawyers, 2013-2020 Rising Star

Education

  • Stanford Law School, J.D, 2008.  Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor, Stanford Journal of Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
  • Claremont McKenna College, B.A., Philosophy, cum laude, 2003

Admissions

  • California, 2009

Professional Experience

  • Associate, Lichten & Liss-Riordan, P.C., 2016-2017
  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Marilyn H. Patel, United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 2009-2010
  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Reginald C. Lindsay, United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, 2008-2009

Michael Freedman, senior counsel at Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP, focuses his practice on complex civil litigation, employment law, constitutional and civil rights law, and appellate litigation.

He has successfully litigated class action cases involving the rights of prisoners with mental illness, disabilities, and serious medical conditions, and represents small business owners in a variety disputes.  Mr. Freedman also has substantial experience with complex wage-and-hour, independent contractor misclassification, and discrimination class actions on behalf of workers, including challenging arbitration clauses and class action waivers.

Mr. Freedman has extensive experience in attorneys’ fees matters, both in his practice and in preparing and updating the chapter on fees in CEB’s practice book, Employment Damages and Other Remedies, and other practice materials on the subject.

Mr. Freedman is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Claremont McKenna College. Prior to joining RBGG, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Marilyn H. Patel of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and to the Honorable Reginald C. Lindsay of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He has been named a Rising Star by Northern California Super Lawyers from 2013-2020.

REPRESENTATIVE CASES
  • Olabi v. Neutron Holdings, Inc. dba Lime: RBGG and co-counsel filed an action in the San Francisco Superior Court under California’s Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) against Lime, a startup that rents dockless motorized scooters throughout the United States.  Lime classified all of its “Juicers”–who pickup scooters off the street in the evening, charge them at their homes overnight, and redistribute them in the morning and without whom Lime could not operate—as independent contractors.  Plaintiff alleged that under California law, including the California Supreme Court’s recent decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, all Juicers are actually employees.  Plaintiff further claimed that Lime, by misclassifying Juicers as independent contractors, violated various provisions of California’s Labor Code regarding the payment of minimum wage, reimbursement for necessary business expenditures, and the provision of accurate wage statements.  Plaintiff sought to recover civil penalties available under PAGA on behalf of all Lime Juicers in California. On September 9, 2019 the Court granted plaintiffs’ motion to coordinate all four statewide misclassification cases against Lime in San Francisco Superior Court. In July 2021, the Court granted approval of a $8.5 million settlement of all four cases against Lime. 
  • Moore et al. v. California Department of State Hospitals:  Together with co-counsel, RBGG sued the Department of State Hospitals (DSH) in Los Angeles Superior Court in 2019 for blatant wage and hour violations.  DSH paid patients at its hospitals as little as one dollar per hour to perform work essential to the functioning of the hospitals, including janitorial, dining, laundry, plumbing, clerical, library, and landscaping services.  On March 18, 2021, the Honorable Elihu M. Berle granted preliminary approval to a $2 million settlement on behalf of 2276 patient workers.  A final approval hearing is scheduled for September 23, 2021.
  • Hospitality Company v. Law Firm:  The firm obtained a confidential settlement on behalf of highly regarded hospitality company whose former counsel failed to disclose conflicts and breached fiduciary duties owed to its client in a series of complex corporate transactions.
  • Ex-Spouse v. Spouse’s Business et al.:  Our clients, two businesswomen and the small business they own, had been sued in superior court by one of the women’s ex-husband for allegedly interfering with his interests in a joint commercial lease. RBGG argued that defendant’s statement to the landlord, informing the landlord of the ex-husband’s threat to evict the women’s business from the office space, was protected pre-litigation speech.  The court agreed and granted a motion RBGG filed under the California Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (“SLAPP”).  The court also found that defendants’ claims, which included intentional interference with contract and intentional and negligent interference with prospective economic advantage, had no probability of success.  As a result, the case was dismissed and defendants recovered significant attorneys’ fees and costs in connection with the motion.
  • Resmex Partners LLC v. Kimomex Santa Clara LLC: The firm represented a San Jose restaurateur and his group of restaurants in a dispute over the sale of two popular restaurants to a third party.  We obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of the clients in the main action and in a related real estate action.
  • Hedrick, et al. v. Grant, et. al:  RBGG and the UC Davis Civil Rights Clinic represent a class of pre-trial detainees, convicted prisoners, and immigration detainees challenging conditions of confinement at California’s Yuba County Jail. In 2013, the federal district court denied Yuba’s attempt to terminate a long-standing consent decree requiring the County to maintain certain minimum standards for those incarcerated at the Jail, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed the decision in 2016. In the fall of 2016, RBGG filed an enforcement motion, seeking to require the County to improve its policies regarding safety cells, suicide screening, out of cell time, intake, and other critical issues, as well as a motion to add claims under the ADA.  After extensive court-supervised settlement negotiations, the parties signed an amended Consent Decree in August 2018. The court approved the Amended Consent Decree and awarded attorneys’ fees to class counsel in early 2019. Since then, RBGG has been closely monitoring the County’s compliance with the Amended Consent Decree. 
  • Hernandez v. County of Monterey: We sued the County of Monterey and its private medical provider, California Forensic Medical Group, challenging dangerous and unconstitutional conditions in the County’s Jail, a system plagued by severe overcrowding, outdated facilities, and chronic understaffing.  In 2014, we defeated the defendants’ motions to dismiss and obtained a unique ruling holding that our clients could assert ADA Title III claims against the Jail’s private medical provider.  See Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 70 F.Supp.3d 963 (N.D. Cal. 2014) .  The federal court subsequently certified a class of the approximately 950 prisoners in the Jail, along with a sub-class of prisoners with disabilities.  See Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 305 F.R.D. 132 (N.D. Cal. 2015).  On April 14, 2015, the court granted a sweeping preliminary injunction on behalf of the class and sub-class, finding rampant violations of the Constitution and federal law.  See Hernandez v. County of Monterey, 110 F. Supp. 3d 929 (N.D. Cal. 2015).  The court approved the parties’ settlement on August 18, 2015, which requires defendants to comply with the requirements of the preliminary injunction and to develop and implement a comprehensive set of plans to enhance services at the Jail.  In November 2015, the Court approved a $4.8 million dollar award of fees and costs to counsel for the plaintiff class.
  • Software Consulting Vendor v. Fortune 500 Technology Company:  We provided advice and counseling to a software consulting vendor in confidential disputes over deliverables and payments under a complex set of consulting agreements. 
  • Armstrong v. Newsom: RBGG proved in federal court that California’s prison and parole systems violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 by discriminating against prisoners and parolees with mobility, sight, hearing, learning, mental and kidney disabilities. We secured systemwide injunctive relief to end the discrimination, which was upheld on appeal.  See Armstrong v. Wilson, 942 F. Supp. 1252 (N.D. Cal. 1996), aff’d 124 F.3d 1019 (9th Cir. 1997). We also established that the State is responsible for taking steps to ensure the rights of prisoners and parolees with disabilities are accommodated when it chooses to house them in third-party county jail facilities. See Armstrong v. Brown, 857 F. Supp. 2d 919 (N.D. Cal. 2012), aff’d 732 F.3d 955 (9th Cir. 2013), cert denied, 134 S. Ct. 2725 (2014); and 622 F.3d 1058 (9th Cir. 2010).   The Armstrong litigation has resulted in a series of ground-breaking precedents, including rulings that the ADA does not permit state government agencies to avoid compliance by delegating responsibilities to local governments, and that prisoners cannot be held in solitary confinement solely on account of disability. We are currently working to stop staff misconduct targeting people with disabilities at CDCR.  On September 8, 2020 and March 11, 2021 respectively, Judge Claudia Wilken granted in part our February 2020 and June 2020 motions to stop staff misconduct at six prisons in CDCR.  The Court found that the systemic abuses against incarcerated people with disabilities at—R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility (San Diego, CA)), CSP – Los Angeles County (Lancaster, CA), CSP -Corcoran (Corcoran, CA), Kern Valley State Prison (Delano, CA), Substance Abuse Treatment Facility (Corcoran, CA), and California Institution for Women (Corona, CA) —violate the ADA and prior court orders.  As a remedy, the Court required Defendants to develop plans to install security cameras and use body worn-cameras (BWCs) throughout the six prisons, reform the staff investigation and disciplinary process, and increase supervisory staffing on all yards at the six prisons.  Currently, BWCs are in use at all six prisons; security cameras will be in place by the end of the year.  The Court also appointed an expert to oversee implementation of the mandated reforms.  Armstrong v. Newsom, 484 F.Supp.3d 808 (N.D. Cal. 2020); Armstrong v. Newsom, 2021 WL 933106 (N.D. Cal. 2021).  We are in ongoing negotiations with CDCR administrators regarding system-wide reforms to the staff investigation and discipline system. Relatedly, on July 30, 2020, the Court entered a preliminary injunction to protect two people with disabilities from retaliation by prison guards.  Officers attacked and threatened both people because they had previously reported to RBGG lawyers that officers had abused other incarcerated people incarcerated people with disabilities.  The Court ordered that CDCR transfer these two witnesses from the prison where they had faced assault, threats and other retaliation .  Armstrong v. Newsom, 475 F. Supp. 3d 1038 (N.D. Cal. 2020). 

Honors & Awards

  • Northern California Super Lawyers, 2013-2020 Rising Star

Publications