Ruiz v. Affinity Logistics Corp., 667 F.3d 1318 (9th Cir. 2012)

Fernando Ruiz and similarly situated drivers filed a class action against Affinity alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and California law for failure to pay overtime, failure to pay wages, improper charges for workers’ compensation insurance and unfair business practices. To work for Affinity, the drivers had to enter into an “Independent Truckman’s Agreement and Equipment Lease Agreement” with Affinity, which stated that the parties were entering into an independent contractor relationship and that Georgia law applied to any disputes. The district court applied Georgia law and ruled in favor of Affinity, but the Ninth Circuit vacated the judgment and remanded the case after concluding that the parties’ choice of Georgia law was unenforceable and that California (not Georgia) law applied. On remand, the district court was ordered to apply California law in order to determine whether the drivers are employees or independent contractors.