Estrada v. RPS, Inc., 125 Cal. App. 4th 976 (2005)

Anthony Estrada, a former driver for RPS, alleged unfair business practices under Business & Professions Code § 17200, contending that RPS unlawfully classified its pickup and delivery drivers as “independent contractors” rather than employees and, as a result, had failed to reimburse them for employment-related expenses as required by Labor Code § 2802. After the statutory opt-out period had expired, the trial court accepted a certified list of approximately 700 class members. The list was later reduced to 207 members after potential class members failed to respond adequately or at all to questionnaires that had been sent to them during the litigation. The remaining class members appealed the dismissal of the non-responding class members on the ground that the questionnaires never should have been authorized by the trial court and the dismissals should not have been entered. However, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeals as premature on the ground that the dismissal orders had no “death knell” effect (and thus were not appealable) “as evidenced by the fact that the 207 qualified class members have completed the first phase of trial and are currently in the midst of litigating their damage claims.”