Jones v. Royal Admin. Servs., 2017 WL 3401317 (9th Cir. 2017)

Charles Jones and Josh Watson (individuals whose cell phones are registered on the national do-no-call registry) sued Royal Administration Services for violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act for calls that were made by telemarketers who were employed by All American Auto Protection (“AAAP”), which went bankrupt. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Royal on the ground that the telemarketers were acting as independent contractors rather than as Royal’s agents, which means that Royal cannot be held vicariously liable for the telephone calls. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that AAAP was its own independent business that made sales for multiple companies without the direct supervision of a Royal employee – “AAAP provided its own equipment, set its own hours, and only received payment if one of its telemarketers actually made a sale.”  See also Alvarez v. Seaside Transp. Servs., LLC, 13 Cal. App. 5th 635 (2017) (independent contractor’s employee may not recover tort damages for work-related injuries from contractor’s hirer); Espejo v. The Copley Press, Inc., 13 Cal. App. 5th 329 (2017) (newspaper home delivery carriers were employees, not independent contractors, but employer was entitled to reduction in award to employees based on “readily identifiable payments and credits” that had been made).