Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary, P.C.

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Attorneys

Attorney Details

Shannon M. Cohen

Practice Concentration


Ms. Cohen primarily practices in the areas of emerging technologies, independent contractor issues and legislative services.


Profile

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


Publications

  • Law Alert: USDOL Releases Proposed Rule On Worker Status Under the Fair Labor Standards Act
    The U.S. Department of Labor released its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to Employee or Independent Contractor Classification Under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The proposal is expected to be published in the Federal Register on October 13, and the Department will accept comments for 45 days thereafter. As anticipated, the NPRM once again proposes to repeal the Department’s prior regulation on the same subject issued under the Trump administration (an earlier attempt at repeal was held improper by a federal district court) and replace it with a regulation it claims is more aligned with judicial precedent. Read more on this from Scopelitis.
  • Transportation Brief: AB 5 Petition Denied by U.S. Supreme Court
    On June 30, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court refused the California Trucking Association’s (CTA) appeal to maintain an injunction prohibiting enforcement of California’s AB 5 (the strict ABC worker status test used in California). On August 29, the injunction was lifted. AB 5 can now be enforced by state officials against the trucking industry. Transportation businesses may use various strategies in an effort to comply with AB 5, but much is still unclear. Read more from Scopelitis attorneys about thoughtful and informed strategies regarding AB 5.
  • Law Alert:  AB 5 Injunction Dissolved in CTA v. Bonta 
    Judge Benitez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California held a hearing in the California Trucking Association’s (CTA) challenge to enforcement of AB 5 against the trucking industry.
  • Law Alert: Supreme Court Denies Certiorari in CTA v. Bonta
    The Supreme Court denied review of the 9th Circuit’s reversal of the injunction against enforcement of California’s AB 5 against the trucking industry. 
  • Law Alert: CTA v. Bonta -- Still Awaiting Supreme Court Decision on Whether to Hear AB 5 Challenge
    Although three federal preemption of state law regulating prices, routes, or services cases involving transportation were distributed for the Court’s June 23 conference, no decision on whether to hear California Trucking Association v. Bonta (the trucking industry challenge to California’s AB 5’s restrictive employment test) or Virgin America v. Bernstein (an airlines looking at a similar preemption statute) was issued today.
  • Law Alert: AB 5 Challenge Distributed for Consideration by Supreme Court at June 23 Conference
    The California Trucking Association’s (CTA) challenge to enforcement of AB 5 against the trucking industry was distributed today for consideration by the Supreme Court at its conference scheduled for June 23.
  • Law Alert: Solicitor General Recommends the Supreme Court Deny Review of Trucking Case Challenging California’s AB-5
    The Solicitor General (SG) of the United States (the federal government’s representative before the Supreme Court) filed a brief recommending the Supreme Court deny review of California Trucking Association’s (CTA) case challenging the application of AB 5.
  • Law Alert: Supreme Court Stays OSHA’s Vaccine/Testing Mandate
    The Supreme Court ordered a stay of OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). The Court held that Congress had not given OSHA authority to issue such a sweeping regulation addressing a public health concern that was not an occupation-specific risk. 
  • Law Alert: Supreme Court Stays OSHA’s Vaccine/Testing Mandate
    The Supreme Court ordered a stay of OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). The Court held that Congress had not given OSHA authority to issue such a sweeping regulation addressing a public health concern that was not an occupation-specific risk. 
  • Transportation Brief: Vaccination Mandates Take Shape
    The federal contractor mandate, the private employer mandate, and rules for land and ferry border crossings have started to clarify how the Biden Administration’s vaccination initiative might impact the transportation industry – although the final force and effect of these rules remains unclear. Read the latest on these ever-evolving rules.
  • Law Alert: OSHA Vaccine Mandate Developments
    The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation held a lottery which determined that the multiple challenges to OSHA's ETS on COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing would be consolidated and heard in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
     
  • Law Alert: Supreme Court Asks for Solicitor General to Weigh In On AB 5 Preemption Challenge
    The Supreme Court invited the Solicitor General to file a brief expressing the federal government’s views on whether the Supreme Court should hear California Trucking Association’s suit claiming federal law preempts California’s AB 5, which imposes a restrictive ABC test to determine worker classification.
  • Law Alert: OSHA ETS on Vaccines and Testing Temporarily Stayed
    The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a temporary stay of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on Vaccines and Testing, which applies to employers with more than 100 employees.
  • Law Alert: OSHA Issues Emergency Regulations Requiring Vaccination or Weekly Testing
    President Biden announced an action plan which called for OSHA to draft and issue ETS designed to reduce Covid-19 infection numbers. Specifically, the President has called for private employers with at least 100 employees to ensure either that (1) all employees are vaccinated; or (2) all employees are tested at least weekly.
  • Law Alert: Ninth Circuit Grants Stay; Injunction Against Enforcement of AB-5 Against Motor Carriers Remains in Place
    The 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 Case
    The 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.  
  • Law Alert: Congress Moves A Step Closer to Examining Truck Lease-Purchase Agreements
    The 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.
  • Transportation Brief: The PRO Act – Dropping Barriers for Unions
    In 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 Withdrawn
    The 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 Administration
    That 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 Rule
    The 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 FAAAA
    The 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 22
    Prop 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 Industry
    The 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 Rule
    On 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 FLSA
    The 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 AB5
    The 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 Contractors
    A 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 Liability
    As 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 Denied
    Late 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 Continues
    Two 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 Granted
    California 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 Extended
    California 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 Granted
    On 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 Counsel
    As 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 Problem
    Companies 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 Governor
    Scopelitis 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 2019
    Legislative 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 Assembly
    Scopelitis attorneys offer an update on the potential application of the Dynamex standard. 
  • Transportation Brief: Spotlight on Scopelitis Emerging Tech Practice
    The 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 2019
    Updates from Scopelitis' Legislative Services team.
  • Law Alert: Unemployment Tax IC Status Decision Q.D.-A., Inc. v. Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development
    The 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 List
    Pursuant 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 2018
    Trends 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 Gutted
    Read 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 Withholding
    Read Scopelitis' take on a new Pennsylvania non-employee withholding requirement.
  • Scopelitis in the News: Scopelitis Honored with 2017 IMTA Legislative Recognition Award
    Scopelitis recognized for 2017 legislative work.
  • Scopelitis Legislative News - October 2017
    Trends 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 Economy
    The 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 Help
    Scopelitis 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 2017
    This 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 2017
    This 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