A number of trucking companies including Roadrunner Intermodal Services LLC agreed to pay $9.2 million in order to end claims made in California federal court by a putative class of truck drivers. The 796 California drivers in the class claim that they were misclassified as independent contractors. Defendants in the case are: Roadrunner, Central Cal Transportation LLC and Morgan Southern Inc. Drivers in the class worked for the various transportation companies as independent contractors from February 2011 to the time of the proposed settlement. Class members would receive $7,255 on average if the proposed settlement is approved.
Drivers allege that the trucking companies should not have classified them as independent contractors. They allegedly should have been classified as employees and therefore should have been provided with overtime wages, benefit from minimum wage requirements, separation wages, business expenses, meal and rest breaks, and accurate wage statements. Allegedly, the companies failed to fulfill these requirements in violation of a number of state and federal labor laws. The trucking companies deny the alleged violations.
Three different groups of drivers sued the Defendants with similar allegations over the course of three years:
· February 2015, California state court – moved in April 2015 to federal court
· September 2015 in federal court
· January 2016
The above three cases were combined in early 2017. The putative class’ counsel estimated the maximum amount of damages faced by the drivers at $77 million. Yet the drivers are aware that there is no guarantee that they would receive anywhere close to this amount if the case were to proceed to certification and trial. Additionally, there is no guarantee that defendants would be capable of paying anywhere close to that estimated maximum considering the companies’ financial situation.
The motion for preliminary approval estimates that the class members participating in the suit would have access to $5.8 million after fees for attorneys, etc. are deducted. As long as the qualifying workweeks remain unchanged at 41,846 the drivers should receive approximately $140 per work week that is eligible.
If you need assistance with wage claims or you fear that you aren’t receiving accurate wage statements or overtime pay as required by law, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.