Rail Delivery Services
This class and collective action lawsuit is brought by contractor truckers for Rail Delivery Services, Inc. The drivers claim that RDS misclassified them as “independent contractors” when they should have been considered to be employees, and that in so doing, RDS forced drivers to bear the company’s expenses, made unlawful deductions from drivers’ wages, and failed to pay drivers the guaranteed minimum wage in some weeks. The case also claims that RDS’s contract was unconscionable and that RDS failed to abide by various California state law requirements, such as meal and rest breaks. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and is assigned to The Honorable Stanley Blumenfeld, Jr., U.S. District Judge. In addition to Getman, Sweeney & Dunn, the drivers are also represented by Susan Martin of Martin & Bonnett, P.L.L.C, in Phoenix, Edward Tuddenham in Paris (the litigation team that represented drivers in the Swift Transportation and Central Refrigerated Service misclassification cases) along with Howard Z. Rosen of Rosen Marsili Rapp LLP.
Any truck driver who drove for Rail Delivery Services at any time within the past three years is eligible to join their FLSA claims to this case by filling out and signing a Consent to Sue form and returning it to Getman, Sweeney & Dunn, PLLC.
Court Grants Preliminary Approval to Settlement – Posted December 22, 2022
After more than 3 years of litigation, in September 2022, the parties agreed to resolve the remaining claims in this case. On December 2nd, District Court Judge Stanley Blumenfeld granted Preliminary Approval to the proposed Settlement. A notice regarding the Settlement and its terms will be mailed to all class members on December 23rd, and class members will have until February 24th, 2023 to object to or exclude themselves from the Settlement. The Court’s Preliminary Approval Order may be viewed here. A full copy of the Settlement Agreement may be viewed here.
If you drove for RDS under an Independent Contractor Agreement any time between March 4, 2015 and October 22, 2022 and did not previously opt out of the case, you may be eligible to participate in this Settlement. If you have not received a notice about the Settlement, please call Settlement Services, Inc. at 833-616-0395 to find out if you are included, and if so, to request a re-mail of your notice.
The court decision on Final Approval of the Settlement will occur following the Fairness Hearing scheduled for April 7, 2023 at 8:30 a.m. in Courtroom 6C of the Federal Courthouse located at 350 W. 1st St. in Los Angeles.
RDS Trial Postponed to January 10, 2022 – posted September 13, 2021
Para español, favor de ver abajo.
This case was scheduled to begin trial on Monday, September 20th. On September 7, the Court postponed the trial until January 10, 2022. The Plaintiffs and Defendants together requested the rescheduling for two reasons. First, due to the pandemic, the Court was unable to provide a date certain for the trial in September or October, which meant that the lawyers and witnesses would have to show up in Court each Monday, ready to start the trial even though it was likely that we would be told to return in another week. Second, the trial was complicated by uncertainty about what legal standard would apply. There is a pending Supreme Court decision that may clarify the standard by late November.
We expect that the rescheduling will allow us to have greater certainty as to the trial date and allow the Supreme Court to provide some guidance on the legal standard that will apply to the claims.
Juicio de RDS pospuesta al 10 de enero de 2022 – publicada el 13 de septiembre de 2021
Este caso estaba programado para comenzar el juicio el lunes 20 de septiembre. El 7 de septiembre, la Corte pospuso el juicio hasta el 10 de enero de 2022. Los demandantes y los demandados solicitaron juntos la reprogramación por dos razones. En primer lugar, debido a la pandemia, la Corte no pudo proporcionar una fecha segura para el juicio en septiembre u octubre, lo que significaba que los abogados y testigos tendrían que presentarse en la Corte todos los lunes, listos para comenzar el juicio a pesar de que era probable que se nos dijera que volviéramos en otra semana. En segundo lugar, el juicio se complicó por la incertidumbre sobre qué norma jurídica se aplicaría. Hay una decisión pendiente de la Corte Suprema que puede aclarar el estándar a fines de noviembre.
Esperamos que la reprogramación nos permita tener una mayor certeza en cuanto a la fecha del juicio y permita a la Corte Suprema proporcionar alguna orientación sobre el estándar legal que se aplicará a las reclamaciones.
Update on the Rail Delivery Services Case/Actualización sobre el Caso contra Rail Delivery Services - Posted August 11, 2021
Para español, favor de ver abajo.
At a court hearing on July 23, 2021, Federal District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld heard arguments on three issues: 1) RDS’s motion to stay (pause) the litigation, 2) RDS’s motion to decertify (break up) the class, and 3) Plaintiff Drivers’ motion for partial summary judgment asking the Judge to rule, without having to go to trial, that the drivers were employees and not independent contractors.
On August 9, Judge Blumenfeld issued an order ruling that:
- RDS’s motion to stay is denied.
- RDS’s motion to decertify the class is denied.
- The driver class will be considered as two sub-class groups, with those who signed the new contract in use since 2019 as a separate group from those who signed previous versions of the contract.
- Plaintiffs’ motion is denied at the summary judgment stage, saving the decision on the employee/ independent contractor issue for trial.
The case will now proceed to trial, scheduled to begin on September 20th. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
En una audiencia en la corte el 23 de julio de 2021, el juez federal de distrito Stanley Blumenfeld escuchó argumentos sobre tres temas: 1) la moción de RDS para suspender el litigio, 2) la moción de RDS para descertificar (dividir) la clase, y 3) la moción de los conductores demandantes para un juicio sumario parcial pidiendo al juez que dictamine, sin tener que ir a juicio, que los conductores eran empleados y no contratistas independientes.
El 9 de agosto, el juez Blumenfeld emitió una orden que dictamina que:
- La moción de RDS para suspender el caso es denegada.
- Se deniega la moción de RDS para descertificar la clase.
- La clase de conductores se considerará como dos grupos de subclase, con aquellos que firmaron el nuevo contrato en uso desde 2019 como un grupo separado de los que firmaron versiones anteriores del contrato.
- La moción de los demandantes es denegada en la etapa de juicio sumario, guardando la decisión sobre el tema del empleado / contratista independiente para el juicio.
El caso ahora pasará a juicio, programado para comenzar el 20deseptiembre. Por favor, no dude en ponerse en contacto conmigo si tiene alguna pregunta.
Case Status Update – Posted January 4, 2021
On December 9, 2020, U.S. District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld issued an order approving the distribution of the Collective and Class Action Notice in this matter. The Notice was mailed and emailed to all class members using the contact information provided by Rail Delivery Services on December 28th.
On December 24, 2020, the Court issued a modified schedule for the case as follows: The time period for discovery ends on May 21, 2021; the Parties are required to conduct a settlement conference by June 11, 2021; and the jury trial is set for September 20, 2021.
We continue to move forward with the discovery process, in which the parties exchange documents and information relevant to the case.
If you are a class member and your mailing address, phone number, or email address has changed, please do not forget to notify our office so that we can keep in touch with you.
El 9 de diciembre de 2020, el Juez de Distrito de los Estados Unidos Stanley Blumenfeld emitió una orden que aprobaba la distribución del Aviso de Acción Colectiva y de Clase en este asunto. El Aviso fue enviado por correo y por correo electrónico a todos los miembros de la clase utilizando la información de contacto proporcionada por Rail Delivery Services el 28 de diciembre.
El 24 de diciembre de 2020, el Tribunal emitió un calendario modificado para el caso de la siguiente manera: El período de tiempo para el descubrimiento finaliza el 21 de mayo de 2021; las Partes están obligadas a llevar a cabo una conferencia de solución de controversias antes del 11 de junio de 2021; y el juicio con jurado está fijado para el 20 de septiembre de 2021.
Seguimos adelante con el proceso de descubrimiento, en el que las partes intercambian documentos e información relevante para el caso.
Si usted es un miembro de la clase y su dirección postal, número de teléfono o dirección de correo electrónico ha cambiado, por favor no olvide notificar a nuestra oficina para que podamos mantenernos en contacto con usted.
New Judge Assigned to Case – Posted October 5, 2020
On September 29th, by order of the Chief Judge of the Central District of California, this case was re-assigned to Judge Stanley Blumenfeld, Jr. We do not expect the re-assignment to affect the litigation process.
Case Status Update – Posted July 24, 2020
Although the Court certified a class and collective action in this case (see March 2, 2020 Status Report), notice has not yet been sent to class members. As ordered by the Court, the Parties filed a Joint Statement Regarding Collective and Class Action Notice on March 27th. In the Joint Statement, the Parties made a joint proposal for approval of the notice distribution. Although the Court initially scheduled a conference in the case for June 15, it cancelled the conference. In light of the cancellation, the Parties filed a Joint Request to Approve Collective and Class Action Notice on June 15th. We have not yet received a response from the Court.
On June 19th, Judge Bernal issued a Civil Trial Scheduling Order that requires discovery to end on February 8, 2021; directs the Parties to conduct a settlement conference by March 8, 2021; and sets a jury trial for June 15, 2021.
We continue to move forward with the discovery process, in which the parties exchange documents and information relevant to the case.
Aunque la Corte certificó una acción de clase y colectiva en este caso (véase el Informe de Estado del 2 de marzo de 2020), aún no se ha enviado una notificación a los miembros de la clase. Como ordenó la Corte, las partes presentaron una declaración conjunta relativa a la acción de clase y colectiva el 27demarzo. En la Declaración Conjunta, las Partes hicieron una propuesta conjunta de aprobación de la distribución de la notificación. Aunque el Tribunal inicialmente programó una conferencia en el caso para el 15 de junio, canceló la conferencia. Debido a la cancelación, las Partes presentaron una Solicitud Conjunta de Aprobación del Aviso de Acción de Clase y Colectiva el 15 de junio. Todavía no hemos recibido una respuesta de la Corte.
El 19 de junio, el juez Bernal emitió una Orden de Programación de Juicios Civiles que requiere que el descubrimiento terminara el 8 de febrero de 2021; dirige a las Partes a llevar a cabo una conferencia de arreglos antes del 8 de marzo de 2021; y establece un juicio con jurado para el 15 de junio de 2021.
Seguimos avanzando con el proceso de descubrimiento, en la que las partes intercambian documentos e información relevante para el caso.
Court Approves Lawsuit as Class Action – Posted March 2, 2020
On February 27, U.S. District Judge Jesus G. Bernal issued an order granting Plaintiff’s motions to certify federal and California state law classes for “all truck drivers who, at any time after March 3, 2015, owned or leased a truck that they personally drove for Rail Delivery Services, Inc. under an independent contract agreement.” In the same order, the Court denied Rail Delivery Services’ Motions to Dismiss, Strike and Compel Arbitration. This means that the case can move forward as a class and collective action.
Plaintiff’s Motion to Approve Notice was not granted in the order: the parties were ordered to meet and confer regarding the form and process of the notice. Once these issues are resolved, RDS will be required to provide a list of names and contact information for all eligible drivers to Plaintiff’s attorneys, and notice will be sent to all class members regarding their right to participate in the lawsuit and explaining how to do so.
El 27 de febrero, el Juez federal Jesus G. Bernal emitió una orden aprobando las mociones de los Demandantes para certificar clases bajo la ley federal y la ley de California. La clase incluye a “todos los conductores de camiones que, en cualquier momento después del 3 de marzo de 2015, poseyeron o alquilaron un camión que condujeron personalmente para Rail Delivery Services, Inc. bajo un contrato independiente.” En la misma orden, la corte negó las mociones de Rail Delivery Services para despedir los reclamos y obligar a arbitraje. Esto significa que el caso puede seguir adelante como una acción colectiva y de clase.
La Moción de los Demandantes para Aprobar Aviso no fue aprobado en la orden: se ordenó a las partes reunirse y consultar sobre la forma y el proceso del aviso. Cuando estos asuntos son resueltos, RDS tendrá que proveer a los abogados de los demandantes una lista de todos los conductores elegibles con sus direcciones de correo, y se mandará el aviso a todos los miembros de la clase explicando su derecho a participar en la demanda y como lo pueden hacer.
Court Hearing Rescheduled - Posted December 4, 2019
The Court Hearing regarding pending motions which was scheduled for November 25, 2019 has been rescheduled for January 27, 2020. See below for further information about the motions to be heard on that date.
Case Developments and Filings – Posted October 4, 2019
This lawsuit was filed on March 4, 2019 by the filing of the Complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Rail Delivery Services (RDS) promptly moved to dismiss the case, asking the Court to send the case to individual arbitration. Plaintiffs filed their Opposition, Defendants filed a Reply, and Plaintiffs filed a Sur-Reply. Plaintiffs also moved to Certify the Case as a Collective and Class Action, and moved for an order directing RDS to provide the names and contact information for the class members so that Plaintiffs can send a notice, so that individuals who are members of the class can learn how to join and participate in this action.
Plaintiffs have defined the class as any driver who: “signed an independent contractor agreement to drive a truck for RDS and drove for RDS on or after March 4, 2015.” Individuals who wish to join the case may do so by filling out and returning a Consent to Sue form and do not need to wait for a notice to issue to do so.
An argument on all pending motions is scheduled before U.S. District Judge Jesus Bernal at the U.S. Courthouse in Riverside California, on November 25, 2019. The parties expect a ruling on the motions shortly thereafter.
As of the date of this posting, 26 drivers have signed up to join the case.
Answers to Common Questions – Posted April 3, 2019
What claims are covered in this lawsuit?
The lawsuit claims that RDS treated the truckers who drove for them as “independent contractors” when they were really employees of RDS AS A MATTER OF LAW. As such, RDS failed to pay all the wages due, and made unlawful deductions from truckers’ pay for truck lease payments, gas, equipment, maintenance, insurance, tolls, Qualcomm, etc. The case also raises class action claims under California law, as well as claims that the Contract and Rental Agreement are unconscionable.
Who can join this lawsuit?
For now, anyone who signed an independent contractor agreement to drive a truck for RDS in the past three years is eligible to join their FLSA claims to the FLSA claims already pled in this case. To be included in the lawsuit it does not matter whether a driver owned or leased his or her truck. In addition, if the Court certifies the California class action claims that are also a part of this law suit, claims for all class member drivers will go back 4 years from the date the complaint was filed.
What remedies are sought?
Under the federal and California minimum wage law, the drivers seek back pay and an equal amount of liquidated damages. The drivers seek remedies for unlawful deductions, misclassification as contractors, and failure to afford drivers proper meal and rest breaks.
How far back can claims be made?
Generally, the Fair Labor Standards Act claims will be covered for the period extending back three years from the date you file the Consent to Sue form. The California claims are currently asserted (as class action claims) for the four years preceding the filing of the complaint.
Do I have to pay to join the case?
No. The attorneys are handling this case on a contingent basis and will only be paid when we win through a settlement or final judgment. When plaintiffs win a pay case, the defendant must pay the plaintiffs’ costs and attorneys’ fees.
Can I wait to file my Consent to Sue form?
You may be part of the class action if the Court later “certifies the case as a class action,” but if you delay in filing the Consent to Sue form, your FLSA claims may be barred by the “statute of limitations.” This is because the claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act are not covered in the case until your Consent to Sue form is returned to the plaintiffs’ attorneys and then filed with the Court or until you assert them in a different case.
Can RDS fire me or take action against me for joining the lawsuit?
The law prohibits retaliation for joining a pay lawsuit. If any employee suffered retaliation, RDS would be liable for double the injury caused by retaliation against an employee. Notify us immediately if you hear of any threats of retaliation or if you think any retaliation occurs. Retaliation is rare in overtime cases, because an employer can suffer such serious penalties.
What locations are covered by this lawsuit?
Past and present truckers driving for RDS as “owner operators” anywhere in the U.S. may be included in this lawsuit.
Fill out this form if you would like someone from GSD to contact you to provide more information. Please note that if you would like to join the lawsuit, you must fill out the "Consent to Sue" form linked in the "How to Join this Case" section.