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 Jesus G. Bernal, 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.
How to Join this Case
If you have also worked for this defendant you can join this case by downloading and filling out the Consent to Sue Form and faxing, emailing, or mailing it to Getman, Sweeney & Dunn. You need the free Acrobat Reader installed to view the form.
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.