The Third Circuit revived claims asserted by UberBlack drivers that Uber misclassified them as independent contractors to deny them proper minimum and overtime wages. The trial court had granted summary judgment in Uber’s favor. Now, the drivers will go to trial to prove whether they are, in fact, employees.

The three judge panel vacated U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson’s April 2018 decision granting summary judgment to Uber Technologies Inc., saying there isn’t yet a cut-and-dried answer to the question of whether UberBlack drivers are employees or independent contractors, so the dispute should be allowed to go to trial.

The plaintiffs drive for Uber’s higher-end service UberBlack, which offers rides in luxury sedans or SUVs. Uber has maintained throughout the litigation that the drivers are entrepreneurs who are in business for themselves. Uber also contends that the drivers provide a service materially and wholly different from the business that Uber operates in — which is the development and licensing of its smartphone-based ride-hailing app — and acted at all times in their own interest and for their own advantage while also deriving their revenue from multiple streams.

Meanwhile, attorneys for the drivers have hailed the decision as a major win, describing it as the first court of appeals decision to address the proper classification of gig-economy workers under the FLSA.

Travis Lenkner of Keller Lenkner LLC said March 3rd on Twitter that under this ruling, “it is difficult to imagine how Uber and other gig companies can avoid trial on any of their workers’ misclassification claims.”

The appellate case is Ali Razak et al. v. Uber Technologies Inc. et al., case number 18-1944, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.


This blog is intended to provide information to the general public and to practitioners about developments that may impact Oregon class actions.

Sign up to receive Class Actions Blog posts in your inbox!


U.S. District Judge Edward M. Chen, from the Northern District of California, rejected Uber’s motion to dismiss a driver’s suit alleging he was misclassified as an independent contractor and shorted on wages under a new California law. It remains to be seen how many drivers in the putative class are covered by Uber’s arbitration agreement.

Judge Chen kept alive most of the driver’s claims in light of Assembly Bill 5, which was signed into law in September and was set to take effect Jan. 1, 2020, which codified the so-called ABC test that the California Supreme Court adopted in its April 2018 decision in Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court of Los Angeles. The decision imposed a stricter three-pronged test on employers looking to classify workers as independent contractors, who have fewer workplace protections than employees.

The case is Colopy v. Uber Technologies Inc., case number 3:19-cv-06462, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.


This blog is intended to provide information to the general public and to practitioners about developments that may impact Oregon class actions.

Sign up to receive Class Actions Blog posts in your inbox!


Shortly after the California lawmakers passed a bill calling for gig economy workers to be labeled employees rather than independent contractors, an Uber driver in San Francisco filed a proposed class action alleging she and other drivers were misclassified as independent contractors and underpaid. The legislation, which, if signed by the governor will take effect in 2020, requires employers to prove three things to classify workers as independent contractors: that the workers are free from their control, perform work outside the usual business, and — independent of the work for the company — are regularly engaged in the trade they’re hired to do.

Uber’s Chief Legal Officer Tony West acknowledged in a statement Wednesday that the ABC test “certainly sets a higher bar for companies to demonstrate that independent workers are indeed independent,” but added that “just because the test is hard does not mean we will not be able to pass it.”

West noted that several courts have held that drivers’ work falls outside the usual course of Uber’s business, which he described as “serving as a technology platform for several different types of digital marketplaces.” He also said the company will continue to respond to litigation or arbitrations in which it is accused of misclassification, in keeping with Uber’s current approach.

The suit alleges that Uber, as a result of misclassifying its drivers, committed a series of wage violations against them, including not paying for business expenses like gas, insurance and vehicle maintenance and not paying them required minimum wages and overtime


This blog is intended to provide information to the general public and to practitioners about developments that may impact Oregon class actions.

Sign up to receive Class Actions Blog posts in your inbox!


A federal judge in Washington state has ruled that Amazon delivery drivers that had filed a collective action alleging that Amazon misclassified drivers as independent contractors fit the definition of transportation workers who are exempt from the Federal Arbitration Act. U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour relied on a recent ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court, which said in New Prime v. Oliveira that transportation workers engaged in interstate commerce, including those classified as independent contractors, are exempt from the Federal Arbitration Act.

The case is Rittmann et al. v. Amazon.com Inc. et al., case number 2:16-cv-01554, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

This blog is intended to provide information to the general public and to practitioners about developments that may impact Oregon class actions.

Sign up to receive Class Actions Blog posts in your inbox!


Uber Technologies Inc. has agreed to pay $20 million to nearly 14,000 drivers to settle a class action lawsuit alleging that the ride-hailing company misclassified those drivers as independent contractors. The settlement only includes drivers in Massachusetts and California that did not have arbitration clauses in their contracts with Uber.

In 2015, a California federal court had certified a class of 240,000 California drivers. In 2016, that court was presented with a $100 million settlement that included the Massachusetts drivers. But the court rejected the earlier agreement, taking issue with the resolution of the Private Attorneys General Act claims in the case. That case was later greatly diminished when the Ninth Circuit ruled in September that Uber’s arbitration agreements with class waivers were valid and enforceable, reversing the lower court’s finding to the contrary.

The case is O’Connor et al. v. Uber Technologies Inc. et al., case number 3:13-cv-03826, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.


This blog is intended to provide information to the general public and to practitioners about developments that may impact Oregon class actions.

Sign up to receive Class Actions Blog posts in your inbox!


Swift Transportation Co. Inc. has agreed to pay $100 million to about 20,000 drivers to settle a class action alleging that it makes its drivers fake owner-operators in order to avoid federal and state wage laws. The lawsuit was filed in December 2009 and alleged that Swift misclassified its drivers as independent contractors and paid them below the federal minimum wage after making them lease and maintain their trucks and pay for gas, tolls, insurance and other costs. The suit also included claims for violations of state wage, contract and forced labor laws.

Swift tried to compel the drivers to arbitrate their claims individually pursuant to arbitration agreements in the independent contractor agreements. An Arizona federal judge rejected Swift’s arbitration bid in early 2017, saying the pacts were invalid under a Federal Arbitration Act exemption barring interstate transportation companies from making workers covered by “contracts of employment” bring claims in arbitration. In January 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court said the FAA’s so-called transportation exemption applies to contractors, mooting an appeal by Swift.

The case is Virginia Van Dusen et al. v. Swift Transportation Co. Inc. et al., case number 2:10-cv-00899, before the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.


This blog is intended to provide information to the general public and to practitioners about developments that may impact Oregon class actions.

Sign up to receive Class Actions Blog posts in your inbox!


A federal judge in Ohio ruled that a certified class of nearly 7,000 insurance agents were misclassified as independent contractors by American Family Insurance Co. and are in fact employees under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

Continue reading “Judge rules American Family Insurance agents are employees, not independent contractors”

A few months ago, real estate company Redfin Corp. won a battle to get a proposed class action transferred to arbitration.

Continue reading “After successfully compelling case to arbitration, real estate company says arbitration was unfair”

CarLyft agreed to increase its proposed settlement with its 163,000 California drivers to $27 million. That more than doubles the earlier $12 million offer. 

Continue reading “Lyft increases proposed settlement fund to $24 million”

CarUber has agreed to pay up to $100 million to settle a class-action lawsuit which resolves a major challenge to its business model by allowing the ride-hailing service to keep its California and Massachusetts drivers as independent contractors.

Continue reading “Uber settles driver misclassification class action for $100 million”

employeesA federal judge in Ohio granted class certification to insurance agents who claim that the company who hired them, American Family, mislabeled its sales force as “independent contractors” to avoid compliance with the requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”). Continue reading “American Family Insurance agent class action certified in misclassification case”

Fotolia TruckWe received an excellent ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the FedEx case.  We have been representing the Oregon drivers in this class action for almost 10 years.

Continue reading “Court rules FedEx drivers are employees not independent contractors”