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Transportation Brief: No Circuit Split (Yet) on the FAA “Transportation Worker” Exemption

by Braden K. Core, Prasad Sharma, Ryan W. Wright

November 2, 2020

In the Summer edition of The Transportation Brief, we discussed the First Circuit’s recent holding that Amazon’s “AmFlex” delivery drivers are exempt from the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), even if they do not cross state lines, because the goods they transport are moving in interstate commerce. Since then, the Ninth Circuit has agreed with the First Circuit in another case involving AmFlex drivers (over a strong dissent), while the Seventh Circuit reached the opposite conclusion (i.e., that delivery drivers are not exempt) in a case involving GrubHub. It might appear that the Seventh Circuit’s holding conflicts with the two cases involving Amazon, but the unique nature of prepared-food delivery seems to have influenced the court’s analysis, so it is not clear what test the Seventh Circuit would apply when the delivery of goods is at issue. The Eleventh Circuit is considering such a case, and there is a possibility of a circuit split emerging due to precedent in that circuit. Scopelitis is closely monitoring these developments and will share updates as these holdings develop.


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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