Kelli M. Block
Ms. Block's practice is devoted to serving clients on a wide variety of legal issues, with a concentration on independent contractor issues directly facing the transportation industry. Ms. Block focuses her practice on the representation of transportation carriers, freight-forwarders, and logistics companies in regulatory compliance, transportation contract review, owner-operator leasing arrangements, insurance disputes, and IRS matters. Ms. Block also counsels clients on insurance program development and alternative risk programs.
Kelli M. Block counsels clients on a wide array of regulatory and transportation–related issues. Ms. Block regularly advises motor carrier and other transportation intermediary clients regarding reclassification of independent contractor owner-operators as employees, insurance and alternative risk management programs, and general business strategies and operational models. Additionally, Ms. Block is an experienced litigator who assists in the defense of motor carrier client interests concerning state and federal tax matters, as well as class action litigation alleging wage, hour, and other employment law and regulatory violations.
On The Road
- Steering Through the Transportation Assault - From Judicial Hellholes to Nuclear Verdicts & Everything in Between
Sep 21, 2021, Kelli M. Block, Wisconsin Motor Carrier Association’s Annual Meeting - Lake Geneva, WI
- Update on Independent Contractor Rulings, Laws, Bills, and Other Developments Across the Country
Jan 16, 2020, Kelli M. Block, Scopelitis Webinar SeriesAn update regarding the latest information developing across the county, from California’s controversial AB 5 to New Jersey’s S4204. In addition, an overview of best practices, contract provisions, and common mistakes that can create legal jeopardy in motor carriers’ dealings with owner-operator/ independent contractors.
- Protecting the Independent Contractor Model
Sep 10, 2019, Kelli M. Block, FTR Transportation Intelligence 2019 Transportation Conference - Indianapolis, IN
- Safety Oversight, Telematics and Balancing Safety and Control
May 21, 2019, Kelli M. Block, American Trucking Association (ATA) Webinar Series
As many motor carriers have experienced, working with independent contractors and managing telematic tools like electronic logging devices (ELDs) presents many challenges. This webinar duided motor carriers in the implementation of telematics and other safety-related devices in an independent contractor fleet. Topics covered included:
- What to do when the mandated use of telematic and safety related devices run afoul of the federal leasing regulations
- What control a motor carrier may assert while still avoiding misclassification claims
- How safety incentives may be utilized to encourage adoption
Additionally, efforts to enact legislation that protect Independent Contractor status while encouraging adoption of safety-related devices were reviewed and discussed.
- Latest Developments in Owner-Operator Status and Related Issues
May 16, 2019, Kelli M. Block, Scopelitis Webinar Series
This session addressed the evolving landscape of owner-operator independent contractor issues both at the state and federal level. It also identified case law and legislation that might signal changes in judicial temperament, as well as case law and legislation that suggests business as usual. The Firm’s presenters identified potential challenges and best practices for operating under an independent contractor model.
- Did You Hear the One About the Attorney?
Apr 11, 2018, Kelli M. Block, Transportation Intermediaries Association Capital Ideas Conference and Exhibition - Palm Desert, CA
- Independent Contractor Challenges
Jul 14, 2016, Kelli M. Block, Scopelitis Webinar Series
- Law Alert: IRS Guidance on 100% Deduction for Meal Portion of Per Diem ReimbursementNew guidance from the IRS makes clear that motor carriers with drivers subject to hours of service requirements can temporarily deduct the meal portion of per diem expense reimbursements at 100% instead of 80%.
- Law Alert: New Per Diem RatesThe IRS released Notice 2021-52 announcing the new Special Per Diem Rates for 2021-2022. Read more about rate increases, when the new rates take effect, and how to access the notice.
- Transportation Brief: Spotlight on Investigations and AuditsWhile the transportation industry is largely deregulated, a surprising number of federal, state, and local government agencies write and administer a long—and growing—list of rules affecting transportation providers. These agencies regularly inspect for noncompliance, and they have the power to assess civil penalties for violations, place assets “out of service,” or worse. When the inspectors come calling, it is important to be prepared.
- Law Alert: Congress Moves A Step Closer to Examining Truck Lease-Purchase AgreementsThe Senate Commerce Committee passed on a bipartisan basis its contribution to a surface transportation reauthorization bill that includes a threat to lease-purchase agreements in the trucking industry.
- Law Alert: California Court of Appeal Rules AB5 not Preempted by FAAAAThe California Court of Appeal reversed the trial court decision in People v. Cal Cartage Transportation Express, LLC, holding that the ABC test first expressed in Dynamex and later codified in AB5 is not preempted by federal law.
- Law Alert: California Voters Say YES to Prop 22Prop 22 put the issue of the independent contractor status of gig economy drivers before California voters – these voters overwhelmingly voted yes to Proposition 22 on election day according to Associated Press reports. Scopelitis on how this translates to the transportation industry.
- Transportation Brief: Ongoing Developments with the FLSA Joint Employer Rule
Earlier this year, the US Department of Labor (DOL) implemented a Final Rule providing direction on joint employer liability for federal wage and hour violations.
- Law Alert: DOL Releases Text of New IC Rule for FLSAThe U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a proposed rule to determine independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The proposal is expected to be published in the Federal Register later this week or early next week. Comments will be due 30 days following formal publication.
- Law Alert: Motion to Stay Order Enjoining Application of AB 5 to Motor Carriers DeniedLate yesterday afternoon, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied a motion by intervenor-defendant-appellant International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) to stay the federal district court’s preliminary injunction pending appeal in California Trucking Association v. Beccera. The Ninth Circuit also ordered oral argument on the appeal of the preliminary injunction order fast-tracked.
- Law Alert: AB 5 Preliminary Injunction GrantedCalifornia Federal District Judge Roger Benitez granted a preliminary injunction in California Trucking Association v. Beccera. The order enjoins the State from enforcing AB 5 as to any motor carrier operating in California pending entry of final judgment in the case by the District Court. Read more on this news.
- Law Alert: AB 5 Temporary Restraining Order ExtendedCalifornia Federal District Judge Roger Benitez considered whether to grant a preliminary injunction in California Trucking Association v. Beccera. Read more about the latest AB 5 news.
- Law Alert: AB 5 Temporary Restraining Order GrantedOn December 31, 2019, California Federal District Judge Roger Benitez granted a temporary restraining order in California Trucking Association v. Beccera. The TRO enjoins the State from enforcing AB 5 as to any motor carrier operating in California. More on this news.
- Law Alert: California ABC Test - Controversial AB 5 Moves to GovernorScopelitis on the California legislature passing AB 5, which will impact many small businesses in California and will alter business relationships with many companies that work with those small businesses.
- Transportation Brief: Dynamex Weeds are Growing in the Garden StateSupposed public policy concerns akin to those expressed by the Dynamex court have recently popped-up in New Jersey (another ABC Test state), thereby increasing the Garden State’s allure to adversaries as fertile ground for a misclassification battlefront.
- Transportation Brief: DispatchesTransportation Industry News & Trends
- Transportation Brief: Spotlight on Taxation Practice - Federal Employment Tax IC Classification PortfolioFederal employment tax audits remain an active battlefront for transportation companies that engage independent contractors. The ripple effects of such audits may be significant, particularly given the IRS’s information-sharing initiative with the U.S. DOL and state unemployment tax agencies.
- Law Alert: DOL Issues Opinion Letter Deeming Gig Economy Workers Independent ContractorsScopelitis attorneys highlight key facts and circumstances considered by the DOL under each factor of the economic realities test.
- Transportation Brief: U.S. EPA Enforcement of California Air Resources Board (CARB) Regulations Outside of CaliforniaIf your company hires or dispatches heavy-duty trucks to operate in California various CARB regulations may apply to your operations. Read more from our attorneys.
- Transportation Brief: The Tax Law and Motor-Carrier-Sponsored Per Diem PlansWhile the Act did not change the motor carrier’s side of the balance sheet when it comes to properly structured per diem plans, motor carriers must ensure their per diem plans are carefully structured. Read Scopelitis' insight here.
- Transportation Brief: The New Tax Law OverviewThe Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the Act) resulted in the most sweeping tax overhaul in decades. This offers overview of the changes in the Act that may have the most significant impact upon the transportation industry. Read Scopelitis' more here.
- Law Alert: Impact of New Tax Bill on Motor CarriersRead Scopelitis' take on the impact of new tax bill on motor carriers