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California State Court Judge Rules That Controversial New Independent Contractor Law Does Not Apply To Approximately 70,000 Independent Truckers

Following the challenges to AB 5, California’s controversial new independent contractor law, can be a difficult endeavor.  Every day seems to bring a new development.

We have written before about the hasty passage of the statute, about a ballot initiative to escape the scope of the law by ride-share and delivery companies, and challenges by independent truckers, freelance journalists and photographers, and ride-share and delivery companies.

While many were focused on whether a federal judge, who had already issued a temporary restraining order to enjoin enforcement of the new law as to independent truckers, would issue a preliminary injunction, state court judge William Highberger in Los Angeles issued his own ruling, concluding that AB 5 is preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (“FAAA”) and does not apply to approximately 70,000 independent truckers in California.

Eyes will now turn back to the federal case, where a hearing on the request for a preliminary injunction will be held on January 13, 2020.  While Judge Highberger’s ruling is by no means binding on the federal court, the high regard in which he is held would certainly suggest that his analysis will be given significant weight.

And whatever happens on January 13, 2020, it is safe to say that this is just the beginning of a long process by which the hastily passed statute’s application to independent truckers will be analyzed by the courts.

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About this Author

Michael S. Kun, epstein becker green, los angeles, labor, employment
Member

Mr. Kun's practice includes:

  • Litigating more than six dozen class actions and collective actions in California, New York, Georgia and Maryland involving a variety of employment issues, including discrimination and wage-hour claims, and successfully defeating motions for class certification on such claims. The sizes of the putative classes have ranged from 75 to approximately 15,000 employees.

  • Litigating a wide variety of employment-related claims, including discrimination, harassment,...

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