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


News & Analysis

The Transportation Brief®: A Quarterly Newsletter, Winter 2018 - Dispatches

  • Ron Morelock reports, as of January 1, 2018, the California State Board of Equalization (Board) was fully restructured into three separate entities with the Board only retaining duties assigned to it under the California Constitution.  The new California Department of Tax and Fee Administration will now perform statutory duties previously assigned to the Board, such as administering franchise tax, personal income tax, sales and use tax, and other special taxes and fees.  The new independent Office of Tax Appeals will now adjudicate appeals of the statutory taxes and fees.

  • According to Kelli Block, The U.S. Department of Labor recently increased the amount of civil monetary penalties it may impose for some violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act to $1,964 per violation. This equates to an approximate 2% increase over the penalty rates the DOL established last year and applies to penalties imposed after January 2, 2018, for predicate violations that occurred after November 2, 2015.

  • Jerad Childress reminds us that approximately 40 million Kidde fire extinguishers with plastic handles are under recall due to failure to discharge and nozzle detachment. For information related to this recall, consumers may call (855) 271-0773 or visit Kidde’s website at

  • Jeffrey Jackson reminds home delivery transportation providers to be cautious when providing appliance installation services. Any kind of plumbing or electrical hookup work (oftentimes defined as anything more than plugging the appliance into an existing receptacle) can invoke state and local licensing requirements.

  • Jeffrey Jackson reports an increase in the number of California-based operations being audited by workers’ compensation insurers, with the insurers taking the unilateral action of assessing back premiums for independent contractor owner-operators. An important strategy for defending against these assessments is to strongly assert the drivers’ independent contractor status. 

  • Jeffrey Jackson notes that many online retailers are developing their own delivery services and, in doing so, engaging local courier companies to provide the final-mile delivery services. It is important for the parties to understand the interstate vs. intrastate nature of such services and consider whether the courier companies are required by federal law to have interstate motor carrier authority from the FMCSA even if their vehicles do not cross state lines.