Kalpana Kotagal is a Partner at Cohen Milstein, a member of the firm’s Civil Rights & Employment practice group, and Chair of the firm’s Hiring and Diversity Committee. Ms. Kotagal also plays an active role in the investigation and development of new potential matters for the Civil Rights & Employment practice group.
Ms. Kotagal has represented victims of discrimination in the workplace and in other settings. Ms. Kotagal also practiced as a member of the firm’s Antitrust practice group. A noted speaker, Ms. Kotagal often is called on to address issues of opportunities and impediments to women’s leadership, the ethics of multi-party and class cases, and class arbitration. She also speaks regularly to law students and new lawyers about their career paths.
Ms. Kotagal represents a class of approximately 44,000 female sales employees nationwide in a Title VII and Equal Pay Act case against one of the nation’s largest jewelry chains in Jock, et al. v Sterling Jewelers Inc. Her clients have alleged a pattern of sex discrimination in compensation and promotions. This case presents cutting-edge issues regarding the certification of nationwide classes and litigating in arbitration. Ms. Kotagal also represents transgender beneficiaries of federal health insurance who have challenged the denial of transition-related care as discriminatory.
Ms. Kotagal’s past successes include:
- U.S. Postal Service Disabled Veterans Litigation: Ms. Kotagal represented a class of disabled veteran applicants in Hill, et. al v. Donohue, United States Postal Service, alleging illegal pre-offer medical inquiries during the application process against the United States Postal Service. The case, which settled for $9.58 million, resulted in USPS’s agreement implement changes in its practices to prevent similar violations in the future.
- Pilgrim's Pride Corporation: Ms. Kotagal represented 8,000 workers in 11 states in a wage and hour lawsuit in Aaron v. Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., seeking redress for unpaid overtime. The $10 million settlement allowed class members to recover about 85% of the back pay owed them.
- Nurse Wages Matters: Cohen Milstein represented nurses in an antitrust case in a case contending that hospitals conspired to suppress and fix wages of nurses.
Ms. Kotagal is a member of the Center for Worklife Law’s Working Group on Pregnancy Accommodation of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA). She is also the co-author of "Innovation, Economics and the Law: The Health Care Industry’s Exposure to Antitrust Liability," published by the ABA Antitrust Law Section in 2007.
Ms. Kotagal brings to her litigation practice her experience as an organizer, having previously served as field organizer with Green Corps, an Assistant National Field Director of the United States Public Interest Research Group, and as an advisor to a Congressional candidate in 2006. Ms. Kotagal also served as an honorary chair of the National Finance Committee of Young Lawyers for Obama in 2008.
While in law school, Ms. Kotagal served as law clerk in the Chambers of the Honorable J. Curtis Joyner, Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She served as an Articles Editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.
Prior to joining Cohen Milstein, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Betty Binns Fletcher of United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Ms. Kotagal attended Stanford University, where she was a Morris K. Udall Scholar, and graduated with honors with an A.B.B.S. She earned her J.D. cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a James Wilson Fellow.