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Lucas J. Kaster


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.

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Over his career, Lucas has tried many cases to verdict or decision. Most recently, in April 2021, Lucas 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, in February 2020, 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.

Lucas also represented a South Dakota law enforcement officer in a retaliation and sexual harassment lawsuit that resulted in a $1.2 million jury verdict. In a separate lawsuit, Lucas 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 the best possible representation.

Lucas is also an experienced appellate advocate. In 2019, Lucas twice successfully argued before 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 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 Twin Cities Diversity in Practice’s Emerging Leaders Group and a contributor to Nichols Kaster’s training and marketing committees. Lucas also serves as an adjunct professor at the St. Thomas University School of Law and is a board member with 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, where as 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.

Admissions & Education

  • District of Minnesota
  • 8th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Minnesota Supreme Court
  • California Supreme Court
  • Wisconsin Supreme Court
  • Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • Western District of Wisconsin
  • 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • J.D., Marquette University Law School, 2011
  • B.A., Villanova University, 2004

Speaking Engagements & Publications

  • The Changing Landscape of Title VII, ABA Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee Mid-Winter Meeting, Virtual, 2021
  • Ways to Address Bias in Investigations and Disciplinary Decision-Making, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, Minneapolis, MN, 2021
  • Handling Witnesses and Opposing Counsels During Depositions, ABA Labor and Employment Conference, Foundations and Essentials, 2020.
  • Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Track Coordinator, ABA Labor and Employment Conference, New Orleans, LA, 2019.
  • Arbitration in an Epic World, ABA Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee Mid-Winter Meeting, Las Vegas, NV, 2019.
  • Interrupting Bias in the Legal Profession: What Would You Do?, ABA Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee Mid-Winter Meeting, Las Vegas, NV, 2019.
  • The #MeToo Movement One Year Later: Where Are We Now?, College of Labor and Employment Lawyer’s Regional Program for the 4th and 11th Circuits, Charleston, SC, 2019.
  • Negotiating Protective Orders: Don’t Let Them Come Back to Haunt You, Annual ABA Labor and Employment Law Conference, San Francisco, CA, 2018.
  • Winning the Harassment Case – Strategies and Tactics, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, Minneapolis, MN, 2018
  • Motion for Summary Judgment: Time Saving and Persuasive Techniques 2018 ABA Litigating Employment Discrimination Cases Three-Part Webinar Series, 2018.
  • How to Prepare and Win and/or Defend a Single Plaintiff Discrimination Suit: Top 20 Tips from an Associate’s Perspective, ABA Labor and Employment Conference, Washington, D.C., 2017.
  • Everything But the Kitchen Sink? Conducting Effective and Efficient Written Discovery, Minnesota CLE New Lawyers Experience, Minneapolis, MN, 2017.
  • Losing the Reins: How Bankruptcy Can Affect Your Plaintiff's Case, American Association for Justice, Railroad Law Journal Newsletter, June 2016.
  • McDonnell-Douglas v. AIR-21: Key Considerations in Retaliation Cases Against Railroads, American Association for Justice, Railroad Law Journal Newsletter, January 2016.

Titles, Awards, & Memberships

  • U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, MN Advisory Committee
  • Adjunct Professor, St. Thomas University School of Law
  • Named to the Rising Stars list, Minnesota Super Lawyers, Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine, and Twin Cities Business, 2018-2021
  • Named to Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment & Civil Rights Lawyers list, 2021
  • American Bar Association (ABA) Member, Labor and Employment Section
  • ABA Employment Rights and Responsibilities (ERR) Committee Member
  • National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) Member
  • Minnesota NELA (MN-NELA) Member and Board Member
  • American Association for Justice (AAJ) Member
  • Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) Member
  • Hennepin County Bar Association (HCBA) Member
  • Minnesota Justice Foundation, Street Law Program Trainer and Attorney Mentor
  • Twin Cities Diversity in Practice, Emerging Leaders Group, Recruiting Lead
  • MSBA High School Mock Trial Coach, DeLaSalle High School

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