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Transportation Brief: Consumer Protection Class Actions — A New Favorite for IC Drivers

by Karen Butler Reisinger, Angela S. Cash

September 14, 2022

Recently, independent contractor drivers in Iowa, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah have obtained class certification of claims alleging deceptive practices by a motor carrier under state consumer protection statutes. Contractors argue that motor carriers deceive drivers by promising monthly miles or revenue in the recruiting process that fails to materialize.

Given the statutes’ broad remedial purpose to guard against deceptive practices, when contractors present evidence they were exposed to the same promise, courts have allowed “an inference of reliance” to replace the need for traditional proof that the promise caused each contractor to sign their contract. Although this inference is subject to legal challenge, it may provide an easier path to certification and leverage to class counsel to demand a multi-million-dollar settlement. Motor carriers should carefully examine recruiting and onboarding practices and address any representations that could be interpreted as a promise of a contractor’s future income.

 


Scopelitis’ Transportation Brief® is intended as a report to our clients and friends on developments affecting the transportation industry. The published material does not constitute an exhaustive legal study and should not be regarded or relied upon as individual legal advice or opinion.

 

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