California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Independent Contractors

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Employee of Independent Contractor Cannot Sue Company That Hired Contractor for Negligence

SeaBright Ins. Co. v. US Airways, Inc., 52 Cal. 4th 590 (2011) US Airways uses a conveyor to move luggage at San Francisco International Airport. US Airways hired independent contractor Lloyd W. Aubry Co. to maintain and repair the conveyor and did not direct Aubry’s employees in their work. The conveyor lacked certain safety guards … Continue Reading

Investor Permitted To Proceed With Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Claim Against NY Life

Oravecz v. New York Life Ins. Co., 95 Cal. Rptr. 3d 1 (Cal. Ct. App. 2009) Paul Oravecz sued Steve Roth and New York Life (which was allegedly Roth’s employer) after losing money in an investment in an offshore foreign currency trading fund, which Oravecz alleged was a “Ponzi scheme.” Among the claims Oravecz alleged … Continue Reading

Investor Permitted To Proceed With Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Claim Against NY Life

Oravecz v. New York Life Ins. Co., 95 Cal. Rptr 3d 1 (Cal. Ct. App. 2009) Paul Oravecz sued Steve Roth and New York Life (which was allegedly Roth’s employer) after losing money in an investment in an offshore foreign currency trading fund, which Oravecz alleged was a “Ponzi scheme.” Among the claims Oravecz alleged … Continue Reading

Messengers Were Independent Contractors And Not Employees

Cristler v. Express Messenger Systems, Inc., 171 Cal. App. 4th 72 (2009) James Cristler and others sued Express Messenger, a parcel delivery service, for violations of California law based upon Express’ allegedly illegal classification of its workers as independent contractors and not employees. Among other things, plaintiffs alleged violations of the California overtime requirements, as … Continue Reading

Independent Contractor’s Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Was Properly Dismissed

Varisco v. Gateway Science & Eng’g, Inc., 166 Cal. App. 4th 1099 (2008) Gateway engaged Al Varisco to provide construction inspection services on two projects it was doing for the Los Angeles Unified School District (“LAUSD”). Gateway retained Varisco pursuant to a letter agreement whereby he was to be paid $75 per hour for the … Continue Reading

FedEx Drivers Were Employees For Purposes Of Obtaining Reimbursement For Expenses

Estrada v. FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc., 154 Cal. App. 4th 1 (2007) Anthony Estrada, a former driver for FedEx, alleged unfair business practices under Business & Professions Code § 17200, contending that the pick-up and delivery drivers were improperly classified as “independent contractors” rather than employees and, as a result, they were owed reimbursement … Continue Reading

Class-Action Plaintiffs Could Not Appeal Dismissal Of Non-Participating Members’ Claims

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 … Continue Reading

Temporary Insurance Adjusters Are Not Permitted To Proceed With FLSA Class Action

Pfohl v. Farmers Ins. Group, 2004 WL 554834 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 1, 2004) Thomas Pfohl filed this putative class action for unpaid overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) on behalf of himself and all other similarly situated individuals who worked for Farmers as temporary full-time insurance adjusters. In this proceeding, the District Court … Continue Reading

Newspaper Columnist May Have Been Terminated In Violation Of Public Policy

Ali v. L.A. Focus Publication, 112 Cal. App. 4th 1477 (2003) Najee Ali, who worked as the community affairs columnist for L.A. Focus Publication, was terminated after he expressed support while a guest on a local radio program for Antonio Villaraigosa, a candidate for mayor of Los Angeles, and criticized United States Representative Maxine Waters … Continue Reading

Good Cause Was Not Required To Terminate Independent Contractors Of Insurance Company

Appling v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 340 F.3d 769 (9th Cir. 2003) The State Farm agents in this case alleged that the company had terminated them in breach of their independent contractor agreements. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of State Farm, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that the termination … Continue Reading
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