Transportation Brief: Circuit Courts Grapple with the “Transportation Worker” Exemption
August 6, 2020
The Supreme Court’s holding in New Prime—that operating agreements with bona fide independent contractors can fall within the “transportation worker” exemption to the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA)-- has not been the death knell for the transportation industry’s efforts to enforce arbitration agreements under the FAA. Instead, the fight has moved to another element of the exemption, namely, whether the individual belongs to a class of workers engaged in interstate commerce. The First Circuit was the first federal appellate court to rule on this topic and held that local delivery drivers who transport goods moving in interstate commerce are exempt, even if they do not cross state lines. But the First Circuit also made clear that courts should look to see whether arbitration is available under state law. Another unsettled question is whether the focus is on the worker bringing claims, or the general class of workers to which the individual belongs. The Ninth and Seventh Circuits heard oral arguments in cases raising similar questions within a week of the First Circuit, so additional decisions are expected soon. The briefing is pending in a similar case before the Eleventh Circuit. Given the possibility of a “circuit split,” we may see another transportation arbitration case on the Supreme Court’s docket in the next year or two.
Transportation Brief: Key Cases Addressing the Reach of California’s Strict Wage and Hour Laws
by Christopher J. Eckhart , Gregory M. Feary , James H. Hanson , Adam C. Smedstad
On a certified question from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the California Supreme Court decided a pair of cases that will certainly impact California wage and hour class actions against motor carriers. Read more from Scopelitis regarding what this means for the transportation industry.
Transportation Brief: COVID-19 and Workplace Liability
by Shannon M. Cohen , Gregory M. FearyAs 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.
Transportation Brief: Plaintiffs Unmask Reimbursement Claims for Personal Protective Equipment
by James A. Eckhart , E. Ashley PaynterSeveral states require employers to reimburse employees for expenses incurred on the job. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, several class action law suits have already been filed seeking to recover costs related to personal protective equipment (PPE) workers have purchased for use while on the job. Read more about what transportation companies operating in states with reimbursement statutes should do to ensure compliance.
Transportation Brief: PPP and Beyond: Where Can I Turn For Additional Help?
by Steven A. Pletcher , Prasad SharmaThe Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), although credited with helping the economy stay afloat and keeping workers employed, has not been a model of clarity. A constant drip of new rules and guidance, leaves many questions unanswered. Read the latest.
Transportation Brief: Department of Labor Activity
by David D. RobinsonThe U.S. Department of Labor has been active through a tumultuous first half of 2020. While the Department’s response to the COVID-19 crisis has garnered most of the attention, there have been important developments in other areas. Read more related to employment perks and benefits, and determining joint employment, the Final Rule updating the Retail and Service Worker Exemption.
Transportation Brief: Spotlight on Cargo Claim & Freight Charge Practice — Managing the Expected & Unexpected in the COVID-19 Era
Kathleen C. Jeffries , Andrew F. Marquis , Gregory A. Ostendorf , Michael J. TauscherWhen COVID-19 struck, shippers, brokers, and carriers had to stay focused on the immediate challenges of the pandemic. However, as we settle into the current “new normal”, cargo claims are back on everyone’s radar. Read more about expecting the unexpected to minimize your exposure to cargo claims, customer bankruptcies, and other collection issues.
Transportation Brief on the Record: News from Scopelitis - Eckhart Passes California Bar
Christopher J. EckhartPartner Chris Eckhart has passed the California Bar. Learn more about Chris and his work in Scopelitis' Class Action Practice.
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