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Court rules against FedEx in drivers' labor case

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A federal court has ruled that FedEx Corp. improperly classified about 2,300 drivers in California as independent contractors instead of employees.

The decision by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday covered drivers who worked for FedEx between 2000 and 2007. Similar lawsuits were filed in about 40 states before 2009. The cases were consolidated for multidistrict litigation proceedings in the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.

A lawyer for the drivers estimated that they could receive at least $250 million in back pay and damages if the ruling stands up.

The judges said that under California law, the drivers were employees because FedEx controlled how they did their work. They had to wear company uniforms, drive approved trucks, and follow other company procedures.

FedEx said it will appeal to the full appeals court in San Francisco. FedEx general counsel Cary Blancett said that other courts had upheld contract language with "thousands" of independent contractors.

The Memphis, Tennessee-based company said that since 2011, it has only contracted with incorporated businesses that treat drivers as their employees. It also said it will shift to new service agreements in California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada.

In their lawsuit, the drivers sought back pay for overtime, expenses, punitive damages and attorney costs. That would total more than $75,000 for each of the drivers in the original lawsuit, according to filings.

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  1. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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