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U.S. Supreme Court Decides Transportation Independent Contractors Exempt from forced arbitration under Federal Arbitration Act

An enormous win within the US Supreme Court for Skilled truckers, particularly Independent Contractors, who will not be forced into arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act.  Independent Contractors exempt from Federal Arbitration Act
The case is New Prime Inc. v. Dominic Oliveira, case quantity 17-340, within the U.S. Supreme Court.

NEW PRIME INC. v. OLIVEIRA United States Supreme Court decides ALL transportation staff are exempt from forced arbitration in Federal Arbitration Act ( FAA)

It has been accepted among the many trucking business that unbiased contractors ought to be forced into arbitration fairly than proceed via the courts when discrepancies occur between parties. Carriers have based mostly this on the 1925 Federal Arbitration Act ( FAA).

The  trucking business has exerted that an unbiased contractor is NOT an employee and thus shouldn’t be exempt from FAA and must be forced into arbitration.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled January 15th that trucking firm New Prime Inc. can’t compel arbitration in a class motion which alleged it did not pay unbiased contractor truck-driver apprentices the right minimal wage. This current choice of FAA exemptions by SCOTUS has now set precedent for Independent Contractors they usually too will probably be included in FAA arbitration exemption.

The US Supreme Court stated Congress meant to exempt ALL transportation staff from the Federal Arbitration Act.  In other phrases, the exemption does not mean simply staff, and consists of unbiased contractors. Thus unbiased contractors now have the fitting to go though the courts and not forced into arbitration, regardless of how they are categorised or what the arbitration wording is in their contracts.

The Federal Arbitration Act exemption when read, seems to be clear as day and says the FAA  excludes transportation staff from being forced into arbitration.
So how then have so many leased on trucking Independent Contractors been forced into arbitration?
Simply put, there has been a discrepancy within the interpretation of what the FAA truly infers.

Here’s what the exemption says
Section 1 of the FAA states that the Act doesn’t apply to “contracts of employment of seamen, railroad employees, or any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce.”

Seems pretty clear to me, and it did to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch also.


In March 2015, Dominic filed a lawsuit towards Prime on behalf of himself and hundreds of present and former Prime drivers who have been misclassified as unbiased contractors, subsequently were not provided the protections of the Truthful Labor Requirements Act (FLSA) 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219, as well as the Missouri minimum-wage statute, by failing to pay its truck drivers minimum wage..

Oliveira v. New Prime, Inc.
United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit.
DOMINIC OLIVEIRA, on his behalf and on behalf of all others equally located, Plaintiff, Appellee, v. NEW PRIME, INC., Defendant, Appellant.
No. 15-2364    Decided: Might 12, 2017

Oliveira and his legal workforce, argued he was misclassified as an unbiased contractor.
US Department of Labor- Employee Misclassified as Independent

New Prime then filed a motion to compel arbitration under Part 4 of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”). In response, Oliveira argued that New Prime can’t compel arbitration because Section 1 of the FAA excludes “contracts of employment of . . . seamen, railroad employees, or any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce,” commonly often known as the transportation staff exclusion.

The Oliveira authorized group gained their case towards New Prime in the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, claiming that he  is exempt from his arbitration clause and that his initial misclassification lawsuit ought to be taken up by the courts. New Prime argued otherwise, saying his contract stipulates that his unique lawsuit towards the corporate, is sure to arbitration. Prime then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court

In October 2018, Public Justice’s Jennifer Bennett argued on Oliveira’s behalf before the U.S. Supreme Court. You’ll be able to take heed to her oral argument and skim transcripts here.

Jennifer Bennett

Jennifer Bennett of Public Justice representing Dominic Oliveira case in Supreme Court Hearing

Public Justice Secures Historic Staff’ Rights Victory at Supreme Court

In January 2019, the Supreme Court unanimously dominated for Dominic Oliveira, applying the regulation because it was written: as exempting all transportation staff. It’s a landmark win for staff’ rights and a blow towards office forced arbitration.

Jennifer Bennett

Public Justice Secures Historic Staff’ Rights Victory at Supreme Court

Jennifer Bennett, stated Oliveira’s unique lawsuit relating to his classification as a contractor can now proceed in courtroom.

“Today’s ruling is a huge step forward for truck drivers. This decision will enable so many drivers like Dominic who are not being paid what the law requires to go to court and fight for their rights,” Jennifer Bennett- Public Justice

REVIEW: Prime tried to drive this lawsuit out of courtroom and into arbitration. Like many trucking corporations nowadays, the contract Prime requires that lots of its drivers sign to work for the company accommodates an arbitration clause, which states that drivers might not sue the company in courtroom. The corporate argued that the Federal Arbitration Act requires courts to implement this arbitration clause and kick Dominic (and the other drivers whose wages he’s preventing for) out of courtroom. But, by its phrases, the Federal Arbitration Act doesn’t apply to the “contracts of employment” of transportation staff. And truck drivers, in fact, are transportation staff. The company argues that it could get round this exception because it labels its drivers “independent contractors.” However the history of the Act—and the unusual which means of its phrases on the time it was passed—makes clear that it exempts all transportation staff, no matter how their firm labels them.

In Might 2017, the First Circuit Court of Appeals, the first appellate courtroom to think about the difficulty, agreed. Prime then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and misplaced in the unanimous determination.

Take heed to the replay as Dominic  goes by way of the timeline explaining his expertise, from driver trainee, to leased unbiased contractor, back to company driver, and eventually to the courtroom

Employee/Independent Contractor- Misclassification & the Federal Arbitration Act

Dominic Oliveira

In March 2015, Dominic Oliveira filed a lawsuit towards Prime on behalf of himself and hundreds of present and former Prime drivers who’ve been misclassified as unbiased contractors, subsequently weren’t provided the protections of the Truthful Labor Requirements Act, together with minimum wage.

In the course of the show, Trucker Dominic Oliveira explains how he brought a class action towards Prime in March of 2015, alleging that it violated the FLSA and the state’s minimal wage statute. New Prime made their case towards Dominic stating that he ought to be forced into arbitration and never with the courts. Although Dominic gained his case in Might 2017 with the First Circuit Court of Appeals, (the first appellate courtroom to think about the difficulty),  Prime then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Dominic’s lawyer Jennifer Bennett, an Lawyer at Public Justice,.  represented Dominic as she made her oral argument to the Supreme Court.   Take heed to Dominic and lawyer Jennifer Bennett

U.S. Supreme Court makes their Choice

The US Supreme Court justices choice affirmed the First Circuit ruling that has now allowed for truck driver Dominic Oliveira’s Truthful Labor Standards Act go well with towards New Prime to proceed in courtroom relatively than forced arbitration, after determining that an exemption in the Federal Arbitration Act for interstate transportation staff applies to all such staff whether or not they’re categorized as staff or unbiased contractors.

Based on Section 1 of the FAA exempts from arbitration “contracts of employment of seamen, railroad staff, or another class of staff engaged in overseas or interstate commerce,

Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the courtroom “When Congress enacted the Arbitration Act in 1925, the term ‘contracts of employment’ referred to agreements to perform work,”. “No less than those who came before him, Mr. Oliveira is entitled to the benefit of that same understanding today. Accordingly, his agreement with New Prime falls within [Section] 1’s exception, the court of appeals was correct that it lacked authority under the act to order arbitration, and the judgment is affirmed.”

“The parties’ private agreement may be crystal clear and require arbitration of every question under the sun, but that does not necessarily mean the act authorizes a court to stay litigation and send the parties to an arbitral forum,” Gorsuch wrote in his 20-page opinion.

The Supreme Court opinion was unanimous, apart from Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was recused from the case as he had not but been confirmed in the course of the listening to. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed a separate concurring opinion.

The ruling, in accordance with Gorsuch, means courts will be capable of determine whether or not the “contracts of employment” exclusion applies earlier than arbitration begins.

Prior to the graduation of the Oliveira lawsuit, many courts had interpreted Section 1’s exemption to apply only to staff, to not unbiased contractors (whose arbitration agreements have been enforced).  This has now changed.

Trucking Business Background on forced arbitration via FAA

It has been acceptable information that carriers have been profiting from skilled drivers by convincing them to be unbiased contractors, a term intertwined with owner operator.  Notice, a real sense of the which means of Independent often refers to at least one who has his/her personal authority.
A standard apply is for the driving force, many occasions a new inexperienced driver, is to turn out to be a leased on proprietor operator to the service. They run under the service authority.
These drivers find yourself signing a contract with the service which incorporates an arbitration clause, which principally states that under the 1925 Federal Arbitration Act, these drivers are sure to arbitration slightly than pursuing the courtroom system during disputes of unfair service wrongful conduct and discrepancies.

The hook to convince drivers into working as an “independent” is that they’ll earn extra money, have more freedom, personal their own truck, and be their very own boss.  What they don’t emphasize is that they will be pay for all bills for the truck, their truck cost, lose all employee rights and benefits, including protections under the Truthful Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and yet these “independents” still remain under the control of the service.  They are commonly thought-about glorified staff with out rights or advantages.

A most detrimental facet has been the misclassification of those drivers as “independent contractors”.  By labeling drivers “independents”, carriers have secured the drivers lack of ability to go through the courts when disputes arise, and drivers have been prior to now forced to go through 3rd get together arbitration to resolve their differences.  Many occasions  arbitration has gone in favor of the service.

Federal Arbitration Act  Title 9, US Code, Section 1 14, was first enacted February 12, 1925
FAA Abstract

Arbitration is a method of authorized dispute decision by which a neutral, personal third social gathering, quite than a decide or jury, renders a choice on a specific matter.

Under a growing variety of shopper and employment agreements, corporations have come to require arbitration to resolve disputes.

While arbitration is usually seen as  an expeditious and economical various to  litigation, shopper advocates and others contend that obligatory arbitration agreements create one-sided preparations that deny shoppers and staff advantages afforded by a judicial continuing.

The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) was enacted in 1925 to make sure the validity and enforcement of arbitration agreements in any “maritime transaction or… contract evidencing a transaction involving commerce[.]”

The U.S. Supreme Court (Court) has recognized the FAA as evidencing “a national policy favoring arbitration.”

The appliance of the FAA, nevertheless, notably in mild of varied state regulation necessities and using several types of arbitration agreements, has raised numerous authorized questions and been the subject of several instances before the Court.

Trucker Dominic Oliveira and lawyer Jennifer Bennett shall be back on AskTheTrucker Stay on Thursday 1-24-19 at 6PM to assessment the case and talk about next steps now that the Supreme courtroom has declared ALL transportation staff are exempt from the Federal Arbitration Act.

Be a part of us on AskTheTrucker ‘Live’ 1-24-19 6PM for Half 2
Massive Supreme Court win for Independent Truckers-Ends Service forced Arbitration

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Lone Mountain Truck

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