Tag Archives: “independent contractors”

California Court of Appeal Applies Dynamex Retroactively

This week, a California Court of Appeal concluded in a class action case that the California Supreme Court’s Dynamex decision applies retroactively. In another case, Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals previously found the Dynamex decision applies retroactively, but subsequently withdrew that opinion and certified the question to the California … Continue Reading

District Court Decertifies FLSA Collective Action With Independent Contractor Issues

We’ve commented many times before that relatively few collective actions survive the “second stage” motion to decertify or, relatedly, an unofficial “third stage” when the trial court actually considers how the matter will be managed at trial. Here is another variation on that theme – an unusual case involving a lender’s claimed involvement in the … Continue Reading

California Off-the-Clock Case Involving Independent Contractors Crumbles

Extensive expert report still fails to establish fairness and manageability for trial. A growing number of courts are questioning classwide proof in off-the-clock cases, and those examining expert testimony in such matters are increasingly coming to the conclusion that they cannot be fairly managed for trial. We’ve blogged this issue several times (see, for example, … Continue Reading

DOL Memo Provides Script for FLSA Collective Actions Alleging Independent Contractor Misclassification

The all-time best The Far Side cartoon (based on an unscientific survey, sample size of me) is the one with two deer standing in the forest, one with a red circular target imprinted on its chest. The other deer says, “Bummer of a birthmark, Hal.” Poor Hal. Blessed with the ability to walk upright, but … Continue Reading

Washington Federal Court Decertifies Class of Insurance Agents Alleging Entitlement to Overtime

Challenging the classification of workers as independent contractors continues to be a growing area of focus for plaintiffs’ attorneys. However, as a recent federal case from Washington demonstrates, the fact-intensive inquiry that is the hallmark of the independent contractor inquiry is not compatible with classwide resolution – particular post-Dukes. In Rodney v. Bankers Life and Casualty … Continue Reading

Two California Juries to Decide Whether Uber and Lyft Drivers Are Employees or Contractors

The core business models of both Uber and Lyft have just been turned over to two separate California juries. These groups of randomly selected citizens will determine whether the drivers for both companies have been properly classified as independent contractors, or whether both companies owe potentially millions of dollars in fines and penalties for having failed … Continue Reading

Conservative Kansas Joins the Liberal Ninth Circuit in Rejecting the Independent Contractor Classification of Delivery Drivers

Last month we blogged about two Ninth Circuit opinions that deemed FedEx Ground drivers to be employees rather than independent contractors under California and Oregon law.  Last week the Kansas Supreme Court joined them, applying Kansas law to reach the same conclusion in Craig v. FedEx Ground System, Inc. (Oct 3, 2014). While the Ninth … Continue Reading

Merits Trump Certification Issues in Two Southern District of New York Cases

Three years ago, the Supreme Court found in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541, 2551-52 (2011) that courts “frequently” will need to look to the merits in determining whether certification is appropriate, particularly where the issues of the merits and certification may overlap.  Despite this pronouncement, plaintiffs often assert that courts should … Continue Reading

U.S. Open Umpires and Linesmen Are Independent Contractors, Court Rules

In an opinion that disappointingly failed to take advantage of countless pun opportunities, a federal judge in New York otherwise got it right, ruling that the United States Tennis Association properly classified U.S. Open tennis officials as independent contractors, not employees.  Meyer v. United States Tennis Ass’n, No. 1:11-cv-6268 (S.D.N.Y. Sep. 11, 2014). The lawsuit, … Continue Reading

Arizona District Court Rejects Joint Employer Arguments in Independent Contractor Case Alleging Misclassification of Truck Drivers

A month ago we discussed the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Ruiz v. Affinity Logistics Corp., Case No. 12-56589 (9th Cir. June 16, 2014), in which the employer treated its delivery drivers as employees in everything but name, resulting in the unsurprising finding that they were employees and not independent contractors.  An Arizona district court has … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Eases Path Toward Class Certification of Independent Contractor Misclassification Claims

Managing independent contractor relationships requires a delicate balance, perhaps best described (unknowingly, of course) by the band .38 Special in the song “Hold On Loosely”: Just hold on loosely But don’t let go If you cling too tightly You’re gonna lose control Maintaining too much control causes the loss of control.  And so it goes … Continue Reading

Exotic Dancers Continue to Rake in Class Action Dollar Bills

In our continuing coverage of exotic dancer performances on the class action stage, another group of dancers from California recently won approval of a multi-million dollar settlement in a wage and hour class action suit. A California federal district court judge approved a nearly $13 million settlement for a class of dancers who had worked … Continue Reading

California Court Proves That They’ll Print Anything These Days With Denial of Decertification in Newspaper Carrier Case

When James Bond brandishes his Walther PPK and walks into a printing plant, you know one thing is certain – you will be “treated” to at least a half-dozen newspaper puns.  And, since this article is about a recent California case involving newspaper carriers, it will, of course, be no different. Ever since Wal-Mart Stores, … Continue Reading

California Court Affirms Summary Judgment Against Putative Class of Insurance Agents

Court Finds That Insurance Agents Were Independent Contractors As A Matter Of Law As we have noted in prior blogs, litigation involving alleged independent contractor status is on the rise, and is increasingly the topic of class action claims. Plaintiffs in these cases tend to argue that they were misclassified as independent contractors and were … Continue Reading

Resort Industry Finds No Refuge From Liability for Misclassification of Salespersons

In White­head v. Va­ca­tion Char­ters, Ltd., a class ac­tion judg­ment in ex­cess of $2.2 mil­lion was en­tered against the owner/op­er­a­tor of a Poconos time­share re­sort for mis­clas­si­fy­ing sales em­ploy­ees as in­de­pen­dent con­trac­tors dur­ing a three-year pe­riod. The Court of Com­mon Pleas of Philadel­phia County held that Va­ca­tion Char­ters and its own­ers were jointly and sev­er­ally li­able for … Continue Reading

The Western District of Texas Shows Some True Grit By Refusing To Grant Conditional Certification

In this day and age, finding a court to deny conditional certification of a proposed FLSA class is sometimes about as difficult as successfully remaking a classic Hollywood western with modern actors and sensibilities.  But, just as the Coen Brothers’ True Grit continues to surprise audiences and critics alike as one of the finest remakes … Continue Reading

Court Grants Summary Judgment in Multidistrict Independent Contractor Cases

We’ve written at least three times now on the case of Dukes v. Wal-Mart, now pending before the United States Supreme Court, as it is the largest employment class action in history.  Perhaps a relatively distant second is the collection of cases against FedEx Ground Package System, currently being handled through the multidistrict litigation docket in Northern Indiana.  … Continue Reading

Summary Judgment Denied, But No Class Certification In Tip Dispute

On September 30, 2010, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts entered an interesting order in a case involving multiple issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act.   In Travers v JetBlue Airways.pdf., airline JetBlue engaged an independent contractor named Flight Services and Systems (“FSS”) to provide skycaps Boston Logan Airport.  Because … Continue Reading

Class Decertified in Case of Former Sales Representatives Asserting ERISA Claims

A federal court in New York decertified a class former sales representatives who claimed that Defendant Linvatec Corp. violated ERISA when it denied severance benefits after the division where the representatives worked was outsourced. Thompson v. Linvatec Corp., No. 6:06-CV-00404 (N.D.N.Y. 6/22/2010). After reviewing the plan documents, the court narrowed the original class definition of … Continue Reading

Federal Court in New York Denies Class Certification of Independent Contractors’ Misclassification Claim

On June 16, 2010, a federal court in New York held that a group of newspaper delivery drivers who claimed they were wrongfully misclassified as independent contractors under New York law could not pursue their claims as a class action. Edwards v. Publishers Circulation Fulfillment Inc., No. 09 Civ. 4968 (S.D.N.Y. 6/16/10).  In an effort to … Continue Reading
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