Shannon M. Cohen
Ms. Cohen primarily practices in the areas of emerging technologies, independent contractor issues and legislative services.
Shannon McClellan Cohen provides legislative counsel services to the firm’s clients. Ms. Cohen monitors forthcoming and active legislation and regulation pertaining to issues affecting motor carriers, with an emphasis on legislation touching on the independent contractor status of owner-operators using her extensive background with and familiarity of owner-operator programs and issues attendant to the design of a successful owner-operator model. She regularly assists in drafting and revising legislation and assessing and communicating the impact of such legislation on the trucking industry. Ms. Cohen has also been a featured speaker on these topics to industry stakeholders and associations.
On The Road
- Independent Contractor Developments
May 15, 2021, Shannon M. Cohen, American Trucking Associations’ Mid-Year Management Session - San Antonio, TX
- Independent Contractors Within the New Political Environment—State and Federal Challenges
Apr 20, 2021, Shannon M. Cohen, American Trucking Associations’ 2021 Virtual Law Review Webinar Series
- Update on Independent Contractor Rulings, Laws, Bills, and Other Developments Across the Country
Jan 16, 2020, Shannon M. Cohen, 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.
- Owner-Operator Panel
Jul 15, 2019, Shannon M. Cohen, American Trucking Associations’ 2019 Trucking Legal Forum - Rancho Bernardo, CA
- Safety Oversight, Telematics and Balancing Safety and Control
May 21, 2019, Shannon M. Cohen, 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.
- Updates on Owner-Operator and Independent Contractor Issues
Jul 15, 2018, Shannon M. Cohen, American Trucking Associations General Counsel Forum - Santa Ana Pueblo, NM
- Owner-Operators: Here to Stay, For Now
Jan 18, 2018, Shannon M. Cohen, Transportation Lawyers Association's 2018 Chicago Regional Seminar - Chicago, IL
- Legal Issues Impacting Transportation Operations and Employee Rights
Nov 8, 2017, Shannon M. Cohen, Women in Trucking's Annual Accelerate Conference - Kansas City, MO
- Independent Contractor Status in 2017
Jul 17, 2017, Shannon M. Cohen, American Trucking Associations' Forum for Motor Carrier General Counsel - Beaver Creek, CO
- Legislative Impact of the New Administration
Apr 20, 2017, Shannon M. Cohen, Scopelitis Webinar Series
- Law Alert: Ninth Circuit Grants Stay; Injunction Against Enforcement of AB-5 Against Motor Carriers Remains in PlaceThe United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted California Trucking Association’s request for a stay of the mandate in order to allow CTA to petition the Supreme Court for review of the Ninth Circuit’s holding in CTA v. Bonta that the restrictive ABC test in AB-5 is not preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994.
- Law Alert: Ninth Circuit Denies Rehearing in CTA CaseThe United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has denied the California Trucking Association’s (CTA) request for an en banc review of the Ninth Circuit’s April 28 decision that found the CTA was unlikely to succeed on its claim that the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (F4A) preempts AB-5, the California legislature’s imposition of a restrictive ABC test.
- Transportation Brief: The PRO Act – Dropping Barriers for UnionsIn a sea of legislation threatening business interests, the PRO Act or Act stands out as particularly harsh, making it easier for unions to represent workers. With the recent Amazon vote to reject union representation typifying a longer-term trend among workers, Democrats in Congress seek to re-write the rules according to what many have characterized as a union’s wish list. Learn more about the PRO Act and upcoming democratic control of the NLRB.
- Law Alert: 9th Circuit Rules AB-5 Not Preempted On April 28, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that California Trucking Association (CTA) was unlikely to succeed on the merits with respect to its claim that AB-5, the California legislature’s imposition of a restrictive ABC test, is preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (F4A). What is the future of AB-5 and how will it affect the transportation industry?
- Law Alert: DOL Opinion Letters on Gig Economy Workers and Compensability of Sleeper Berth Time WithdrawnThe U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) withdrew an Opinion Letter issued in 2019 deeming gig economy workers engaging through a virtual marketplace platform to be independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act’s economic realities test (FLSA-2019-6).
- Transportation Brief: Regulatory Outlook for the New AdministrationThat elections have consequences is generally accepted, but agreement on what those consequences are is less universal. If the Biden administration’s early focus is undoing the regulatory actions of the Trump administration, what will the consequences be for trucking outside of the DOT?
- Law Alert: DOL Publishes Final IC RuleThe Department of Labor published the text of its final rule establishing the test for independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The text remained largely unchanged from the initial language released in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published last September. The final rule is an economic realities test with a two-tier analysis.
- 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: Prop 22’s Impact on the Transportation IndustryThe gig economy – spearheaded and underwritten by major gig economy companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Doordash – has launched a high-profile campaign to prevent the application of California’s AB 5 law (and the ABC test it dictates) to determine a worker’s employee status.
- Transportation Brief: DOL Publishes IC RuleOn September 25, 2020, the US Department of Labor (DOL) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to develop a consistent test for determining independent contractor (IC) status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
- 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: Ninth Circuit Holds Oral Argument on CTA’s Challenge to AB5The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral argument in the California Trucking Association’s challenge to AB5, California’s recently enacted misclassification statute. While the Firm is hopeful the Ninth Circuit will leave the injunction in place and fully supports the CTA and feels its request for continued funding is very much warranted, read more about some issues that raised concern during the oral argument.
- Law Alert: Court Says Uber and Lyft Cannot Classify Their Drivers as Independent ContractorsA California state court granted a preliminary injunction sought by the State of California to prohibit and restrain Uber and Lyft from classifying their drivers as independent contractors and from violating any provisions of the California Labor Code, the Unemployment Insurance Code, and the wage orders of the Industrial Welfare Commission.
- Transportation Brief: COVID-19 and Workplace LiabilityAs companies reopen, a primary concern is liability for workers or customers who may claim to have been exposed to COVID-19 in their business. This may arise as a workers’ compensation claim, a claim for negligent sanitation or failure to implement or enforce social distancing measures. Read more about these evolving pandemic-related issues.
- 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.
- Transportation Brief: AB5 and ABC: The Story ContinuesTwo recent decisions have clarified how courts might interpret and analyze California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5). In addition, New Jersey continues to move forward with its efforts to create a more California-like environment. Read more about this and other legislation relating to independent contractors.
- 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.
- Transportation Brief: Spotlight on Independent Contractor Legislative CounselAs California AB 5 made clear, state-level changes to independent contractor (IC) status can significantly change the business operations of a motor carrier in any given state and can have a domino effect on operations even beyond the borders of that state. Read more about how Scopelitis' IC legislative counsel practice regularly assists clients, state associations, industry associations, and coalitions with monitoring recent legislative activity that could impact IC status.
- Transportation Brief: AB 5 – Practical Solutions to a Thorny ProblemCompanies and owner-operator businesses are both searching for practical solutions to the problem presented by California Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5). Read more from Scopelitis regarding solutions that are developing as the best options for tackling the practical realities of equipment and professional services that companies face.
- Scopelitis in the News: "Trucking Looks for Solutions to California's Stringent New Independent Contractor Law." October 22, 2019. Heavy Duty Trucking (HDT).Scopelitis Partners Greg Feary, Shannon Cohen, and Chris McNatt quoted in Heavy Duty Trucking on California's AB 5 law.
- 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.
- Scopelitis Legislative News - June 2019Legislative updates from Scopelitis including FY 2020 Transportation Appropriation, infrastructure spending, autonomous vehicles, and portable benefit models and independent contractor status.
- Law Alert: Dynamex Legislation Passes California AssemblyScopelitis attorneys offer an update on the potential application of the Dynamex standard.
- Transportation Brief: Spotlight on Scopelitis Emerging Tech PracticeThe way transportation companies conduct business today is changing quicker than ever, with technology presenting new opportunities and challenges. The Scopelitis Firm actively follows these changes and frequently assists newly-formed, technology-based transportation companies and established companies that seek to adopt new technologies to enhance their existing business model.
- Scopelitis Legislative News - March 2019Updates from Scopelitis' Legislative Services team.
- Law Alert: Unemployment Tax IC Status Decision Q.D.-A., Inc. v. Indiana Dept. of Workforce DevelopmentThe Indiana Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Q.D.-A., Inc. v. Indiana Department of Workforce Development. Read insight from Scopelitis attorneys.
- Scopelitis in the News: "Feary & Cohen: Changes Might Affect Transportation Independent Contractors." Indiana Lawyer. January 23, 2019.Scopelitis Partners Greg Feary and Shannon Cohen in Indiana Lawyer on a decision that may impact independent contractor relationships across the country, especially in the transportation industry.
- Law Alert: California Joint and Several Motor Carrier ListPursuant to the statutory “publication” requirement under CA Labor Code §2810.4 a list of motor carriers that have outstanding California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement wage and hour liabilities has been published. Read more.
- Scopelitis Legislative News - December 2018Trends covered in this issue:
• Midterm Election Shifts
• Infrastructure Funding on the State Level
• Portable Benefits Model for Independent Contractors
• Upcoming DOT Funding
• Will Divided Congress be Productive?
• FMCSA Signals Aggressive Timeline
- Law Alert: NJ Unemployment Tax Owner-Operator Exemption GuttedRead Scopelitis' take on the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development notice that it had adopted substantial changes to the regulations interpreting what constitutes necessary evidence under New Jersey’s unemployment tax independent contractor exemptions applicable to a wide range of industries -NJ Stat. Ann. S 43:21-19(i)(7).
- Law Alert: Pennsylvania IC WithholdingRead Scopelitis' take on a new Pennsylvania non-employee withholding requirement.
- Scopelitis in the News: Scopelitis Honored with 2017 IMTA Legislative Recognition AwardScopelitis recognized for 2017 legislative work.
- Scopelitis Legislative News - October 2017Trends covered in this issue:
• States Prepare for 2018 Sessions
• The Emerging Economy Continues to Impact Legislatures
• IC Certification Procedures on the Rise?
• Appropriations for the Department of Transportation Advances in the House
• FMCSA Administrator Nomination Announced
• Joint Employer Clarification Bill Advances
• Autonomous Vehicle Bills Advance
- Transportation Brief: Occupational Accident Coverage in the Gig EconomyThe collaborative economy or “gig economy” continues to make its mark on the independent contractor landscape. As these services and the companies that oversee them mature, the market is responding to contractors’ business needs in much the same way the market has responded to independent contractors in other, more traditional business models.
- Scopelitis in the News: HB 1002 Balances Higher Trucking Fees, Infrastructure HelpScopelitis Partners Andy Light and Shannon Cohen share insights with Indiana Lawyer on Indiana House Bill 1002.
- Scopelitis in the News: "City Mulls Taxi Rule Changes in Era of Uber, Lyft." June 17, 2017, Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ)Scopelitis Partners Greg Feary and Shannon Cohen share insights with IBJ on state legislation governing app-based ride-hailing companies.
- Scopelitis Legislative News - June 2017This newsletter includes a sampling of noteworthy developments or trends affecting transportation in Congress or the state legislatures during the last two months.Trends covered in this issue:• Scopelitis Law Alert: U.S. DOL Announces Withdrawal of Joint Employment, Independent Contractor Informal Guidance
• States Seek Infrastructure Funding
• Lowering Roadblocks to Platooning
• States React to Gig Economy
• FY 2018 Presidential Budget
• DOT Personnel Changes
• Regulatory Reform
• Tax Reform
• FMCSA Withdraws Minimum Insurance Limits Rulemaking
• Entry-Level Driver Training Rule
• FMCSA Split-Sleeper Berth Pilot
• Rescission of USDOL Persuader Rule Submitted to OMB
- Scopelitis Legislative News - March 2017This newsletter is an overview of noteworthy developments or trends affecting transportation in Congress or the state legislatures so far in 2017.
Trends covered included in this newsletter:• National Carrier Hiring Standard
• Regulatory Reform
• Class Action Reform
• 2018 Presidential Budget
• States Seek Infrastructure Funding
• Lowering Roadblocks to Platooning