What Matters to You Matters to Us

Marc C. Cote

Partner

Email: mcote@frankfreed.com

Legal Assistant: Megan Grosse
mgrosse@frankfreed.com

“I am committed to a pragmatic approach to dispute resolution—whether I am serving as a neutral mediator to assist parties in resolving a complex employment dispute, representing workers in a class action, or advising a small business on employee concerns.”

Marc Cote
Rated by Super Lawyers


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Marc C. Cote

Marc Cote is a Seattle employment lawyer and mediator with a strong commitment to achieving excellent results for clients from all walks of life. Marc practices throughout Washington, where he represents a broad spectrum of clients and serves as a neutral mediator to help parties resolve their disputes.

Marc serves on the mediator panel for the Washington Arbitration and Mediation Service (WAMS). As a mediator, he works tirelessly to get parties to resolution so that they can avoid the expense, uncertainty, stress, and emotional toll of litigation. Marc has successfully assisted parties in resolving disputes involving allegations of disability accommodation, gender discrimination, age discrimination, and pregnancy discrimination. He has a knack for assessing risk and helping parties make reasoned decisions to reach pragmatic resolutions of their disputes. In early 2020, he attended the “Mediating the Litigated Case” program through the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law. He is a certified neutral on the ADR panel for the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington and a pro bono mediator for the EEOC. Marc’s considerable experience litigating class action cases has given him a keen sense of the ins and outs of class action settlement structure and the settlement approval process under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 and Washington State Civil Rule 23. He also speaks Spanish and welcomes the opportunity to serve as a mediator for cases involving Spanish-speaking parties.

As an advocate, Marc has successfully litigated several groundbreaking class action cases on behalf of farmworkers, dairy workers, delivery drivers, restaurant workers, construction workers, fruit packing workers, and catering servers. He has also successfully represented lawyers, doctors, tech professionals, and other individuals in severance negotiation and employment exit matters. He also advises small businesses on employment policies and employee discipline.

Marc prides himself on working on the cutting edge of employment law. Through his written and oral advocacy, he has helped develop case law and policy that improve the lives of workers. His appellate successes include the following published cases:

Martinez-Cuevas v. DeRuyter Brothers Dairy, Inc., 196 Wn.2d 506, 475 P.3d 164 (2020).

Lopez Demetrio v. Sakuma Bros. Farms, Inc., 183 Wn.2d 649, 355 P.3d 258 (2015).

Carranza v. Dovex Fruit Company, 190 Wn.2d 612, 416 P.3d 1205 (2018).

Hill v. Xerox Business Services, LLC, 868 F.3d 758 (9th Cir. 2017) (certified to Washington Supreme Court).

Becerra v. Expert Janitorial, LLC, 181 Wn.2d 186, 332 P.3d 415 (2014) (amicus curiae on behalf of Washington Employment Lawyers Association).

Brady v. Autozone Stores, Inc., 188 Wn.2d 576, 397 P.3d 120 (2017) (amicus curiae on behalf of Fair Work Center).

In the past few years, he has also served as lead or co-lead counsel in several class action cases, achieving the following results:

  • A $10.5 million settlement for delivery drivers in a joint employer class action suit alleging overtime and break claims against FedEx Ground
  • An $8.2 million settlement for delivery drivers in a joint employer class action suit alleging overtime, unpaid wage, and break claims against Amazon
  • A $3 million settlement for fruit packing workers in a wage and hour class action against Borton & Sons, Inc.
  • A $2.5 million settlement for piece-rate farm workers in a wage and hour class action against Auvil Fruit Company, Inc.
  • A $2.4 million settlement for restaurant workers in a service charge and rest and meal break class action against Tom Douglas Restaurants.
  • Over $1.6 million in settlements for dairy workers in a class action against DeRuyter Brothers Dairy, Inc. alleging failure to pay overtime under Washington’s unconstitutional exclusion of farmworkers, failure to pay for all time worked, and failure to provide proper rest and meal breaks
  • A $1.225 million settlement for farm workers in a wage and hour class action against Dovex Fruit Company
  • A $1.2 million settlement for catering and suite workers in a service charge and rest and meal break class action on behalf of McCaw Hall and ShoWare Center catering and suite workers
  • A settlement for over $1 million on behalf of restaurant workers in a class action suit alleging service charge and break claims against Huxley Wallace Collective.
  • Over $1 million in combined settlements and judgment for piece-rate farm workers in a wage and hour class action against Sakuma Brothers Farms, Inc.
  • A $1.1 million settlement for construction workers in a rest break class action against IMCO General Construction, Inc.
  • A $996,000 settlement for fruit-packing warehouse workers employed by Frosty Packing Co., LLC in a wage and hour class action involving alleged failure to pay for all hours worked and failure to provide proper rest and meal breaks.
  • A $900,000 settlement for Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurant workers in a class action involving alleged violations of Washington’s service charge disclosure statute and rest and meal break regulations.
  • A $900,000 settlement for Central Washington University faculty who alleged failure to timely pay for overload and summer work units.

Marc has also obtained several six-figure settlements and reached pragmatic resolutions in individual and multi-plaintiff cases with claims of disability discrimination, gender discrimination, age discrimination, race discrimination, religious discrimination, and wage and hour violations. He is skilled at negotiating favorable severance agreements for employees who are facing termination or who wish to exit their employment.

Marc advises professionals and business owners in a wide range of matters, including LLC and partnership disputes, employment discrimination, FMLA matters, and contract disputes. He also advises clients on issues arising from non-competition agreements.

Before entering private practice, Marc served as a law clerk to the Honorable Walter L. Carpeneti of the Alaska Supreme Court. He graduated second in his class at the University of Washington School of Law, where he served as Executive Articles Editor of the Washington Law Review. While in law school, he also served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Ricardo Martinez of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Client Comments about Marc

“Marc has great patience and excellent listening skills which are hallmarks of an outstanding attorney. He helped resolve a very complex business partnership through [mediation]. At the conclusion, even the [mediator] commented on how excellent Marc was. I couldn’t agree more.”

-Legal industry client

Education

Pepperdine University School of Law, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution – “Mediating the Litigated Case” program

University of Washington School of Law – with high honors (2nd in class) – J.D.

  • Executive Articles Editor, Washington Law Review
  • Order of the Coif
  • Vivian Carkeek Award for Best Student Contribution to Washington Law Review (for comment on NLRA protection for employee blogs)

Seattle University – summa cum laude – B.A.

  • Sullivan Leadership Award
  • LeRoux Leadership Award

Bar Admissions

Washington

USDC for the Eastern District of WA
USDC for the Western District of WA
USDC for the Eastern District of CA
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Professional & Civic Involvement

Marc regularly speaks at continuing legal education seminars on employment law issues, with strong reviews. He is the co-author of the Wage and Hour Law chapter of the Washington Association for Justice Employment Law Deskbook, and he has served on the Planning Committee of the Pacific Coast Labor and Employment Law Conference. Marc is a member of the Labor and Employment Law Sections of the Washington State Bar Association and King County Bar Association. Marc was named to the Super Lawyers list in 2021 and previously had been named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers several times. He received the 2015 Columbia Legal Services Pro Bono Honoree for work on behalf of Washington farm workers and the 2017 CAIR-Washington Ally for Justice Award for his work fighting employment discrimination against Muslim employees.

Personal

When he’s not practicing law, Marc enjoys spending time with his wife and two young boys. He also plays basketball, and roots for the Mariners, Seahawks, and Gonzaga Bulldogs. Marc is a member of St. Catherine parish in Seattle.