Lucas Kaster is a skilled and seasoned trial lawyer focused on aggressive advocacy, creative solutions, and responsiveness to clients. As a member of Nichols Kaster’s individual rights team, Lucas represents clients in a wide range of employment matters, including harassment, retaliation, and discrimination claims. Lucas also represents clients in civil rights claims, such as police misconduct and prisoner rights.
In June 2020, Lucas was appointed by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to serve as a member of its Minnesota Advisory Committee. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is the only independent, bipartisan agency charged with advising the President and Congress on civil rights and reporting annually on federal civil rights enforcement.
Over his career, Lucas has tried many cases to verdict or decision. Most recently, in December 2021, Lucas represented a former BNSF employee in a retaliation case under the Federal Railroad Safety Act (“FRSA”) that resulted in a $9.2 million jury verdict. Earlier in 2021, Lucas also represented a former Union Pacific Railroad employee in a discrimination case under the Americans Disabilities Act that resulted in a $2.8 million jury verdict.
Previously, Lucas represented a Metropolitan Airport Commission police officer in a retaliation case under the Minnesota Whistleblower Act that resulted in a $150,000 jury verdict, and in a separate lawsuit, represented four golf course employees who were subject to harassment and retaliation in a court trial that resulted in a plaintiff’s verdict and treble damages under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (“MHRA”). Lucas uses this unique trial experience to drive litigation strategy and provide his clients with the best possible representation.
Lucas is also an experienced appellate advocate. In 2019, Lucas twice successfully argued before the Minnesota Court of Appeals in Wingate v. Metropolitan Airport Commission, A19-0226, 27-cv-18-562, and Moore v. City of New Brighton, A18-2111, 62-CV-17-4989. Both arguments addressed key questions under the Minnesota Whistleblower Act. The oral arguments and decisions are available here and here.
In 2018, Lucas also successfully argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Michael Frost v. BNSF Railway Co., 9:15-cv-000124-DWM. The Ninth Circuit’s decision addressed a hotly debated subject under the Federal Railway Safety Act (“FRSA”). The question before the Court was whether the honest belief instruction was proper because the FRSA’s contributing factor standard required plaintiffs to separately prove discriminatory intent. In the opinion, the Ninth Circuit definitively held that there is no requirement that FRSA plaintiffs separately prove discriminatory intent, and thus the instruction was an error. The oral argument and decision are available here.
Due to his experience, Lucas is a well-respected and sought-after speaker. Lucas is a frequent presenter at the ABA’s Labor and Employment and Employment Rights and Responsibilities conferences. In February 2019, Lucas also spoke at the College of Labor and Employment Lawyer’s Regional Program for the 4th and 11th Circuits in Charleston, South Carolina. Lucas participated in a three-member panel titled: The #MeToo Movement One Year Later: Where Are We Now?
Lucas is a member of Twin Cities Diversity in Practice’s WILD group and a member of Nichols Kaster’s DEI and marketing committees. Lucas also serves as an adjunct professor at the St. Thomas University School of Law. In 2021, Lucas became President of the Board for MN-NELA, the Minnesota Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association dedicated to the advancement of workers’ rights.
Prior to joining Nichols Kaster, Lucas was the founding attorney of Kaster Law in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, whereas a criminal defense attorney, he tried several cases to verdict and fought to defend the rights of those charged with both misdemeanor and felony crimes. Before law school, Lucas worked as a media planner in Irvine, CA, and spent a year volunteering with children in Lima and Cusco, Peru. Lucas is also an avid triathlete and completed the 2017 Wisconsin Ironman.