In Re Fedex Ground Package System Inc.

Citation712 F.Supp.2d 776
Decision Date21 April 2010
Docket NumberCause No. 3:05-MD-527 RM (MDL-1700).
CourtUnited States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana

712 F.Supp.2d 776

This Document Relates to: all Actions.

Cause No. 3:05-MD-527 RM (MDL-1700).

United States District Court,
N.D. Indiana,
South Bend Division.

April 21, 2010.

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Beth A. Ross, Eleanor I. Morton, Leonard Carder LLP, San Francisco, CA, Lynn R. Faris, Leonard Carder LLP, Oakland, CA, Clayton D. Halunen PHV, Halunen & Associates, Anne T. Regan, Wood R. Foster PHV, Jr, Siegel Brill Greupner Duffy & Foster PA, J. Gordon Rudd, Zimmerman Reed PLLP, Charles N. Nauen, Lockridge Grindal Nauen PLLP, Joni M. Thome PHV, Halunen & Associates, Minneapolis, MN, Peter J. Agostino, Anderson Agostino & Keller PC, South Bend, IN, George A. Barton, Law Offices of George A. Barton PC, Kansas City, MO, Robert I. Harwood, Peter W. Overs, Jr, Matthew M. Houston, Harwood Feffer LLP, Salvatore G. Gangemi, Gangemi Law Firm PC, New York, NY, Shannon Liss-Riordan, Harold L. Lichten, Lichten & Liss-Riordan PC, Boston, MA, Barry S. Fagan, Darcie R. Brault, Dib Fagan and Brault PC, Royal Oak, MI, Robert K. Firsten, Abbott Nicholson PC, Detroit, MI, Robert E. McDaniel, McDaniel Law Offices, Concord, NH, Dan S. Smith, Dan Solomon Smith LLC, Orange, NJ, Richard Tanenbaum, Brooklyn, NY, Matthew T. Tobin, Sioux Falls, SD, Donald R. Taylor, Taylor Dunham & Burgess LLP, Austin, TX, Jerald R. Cureton, Cureton Clark PC, Mt. Laurel, NJ, James Lester, James Kassuba, Ryan Tomaski, Dmitri Iglitzin, Schwerin Campbell Barnard LLP, Martin S. Garfinkel, Schroeter Goldmark & Bender, Seattle, WA, Alan M. Purdie, Purdie & Metz, Ridgeland, MS, Richard T. Phillips, Smith Phillips Mitchell & Scott, Batesville, MS, Steve D. Larson, Mark A. Friel, Stoll Stoll Berne Lokting & Shlachter PC, Portland, OR, Donald B. Lewis, Bala Cynwyd, PA, Joseph A. Osefchen, Philip Stephen Fuoco, The Law Firm of Philip Stephen Fuoco, Haddonfield, NJ, Paula R. Markowitz, Markowitz & Richman, Jordan M. Lewis, Siegel Brill Greupner Duffy & Foster PA, Philadelphia, PA, Michael J. Watton, Watton Law Group, Milwaukee, WI, Joree Brownlow, Law Office of Joree G. Brownlow, Bartlett, TN, R. Christopher Gilreath, Gilreath & Associates, Memphis, TN, Peter N. Wasylyk, Providence, RI, Gary F. Lynch, Carlson Lynch Ltd., New Castle, PA, R. Bruce Carlson, Carlson Lynch Ltd., Sewickley, PA, Daniel O. Myers, Richardson Patrick Westbrook & Brickman LLC, Mount Pleasant, SC, Jack D. Hilmes, Kevin J. Driscoll, Finley Alt Smith Scharnberg Craig Hilmes & Gaffney PC, Des Moines, IA, Ginger A. Degroff, Tampa, FL, James A. Staack, Staack Simms & Hernandez PA, Clearwater, FL, Charles W. Whetstone, Jr., Cheryl F. Perkins, Whetstone Meyers Perkins & Young, Columbia, SC, Ian Otto, Straus & Boies LLP, Fairfax, VA, Larry A. Golston, Jr., Beasley Allen Crow Methvin Portis & Miles PCV, Montgomery, AL, Jeffrey A. Bartos, Soye Kim, Guerrieri Edmond Clayman & Bartos VPC, Washington, DC, B. James Fitzpatrick, Fitzpatrick Spini & Swanston Fitzpatrick Spini & Swanston, Salinas, CA, William S. Hommel, Jr., Attorney At Law, Tyler, TX, Andrew J. Kahn PHV, McCracken Stemerman & Holsberry, Las Vegas, NV, Jacqueline Mezquita Fernandez, Miami, FL, J. Allen Brinkley, Brinkley & Chesnut, Huntsville, AL, Bruce H. Meizlish, Deborah R Grayson, Meizlish & Grayson, Cincinnati, OH, Edward R. Forman, John S. Marshall, Marshall and Morrow LLC, Columbus, OH, Eileen S. Goodin, Monica Ferraro, Robert E. Derose, II,
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Robert K. Handelman, Sanford A. Meizlish, Barkan Neff Handelman Meizlish LLP, Columbus, IN, Mary D. Walsh-Dempsey, Todd J. O'Malley, O'Malley & Langan PC, Scranton, PA, Peter D. Winebrake, The Winebrake Law Firm LLC, Dresher, PA, Mary Donne Peters, Michael J. Gorby, Gorby Peters & Associates, Atlanta, GA, Robert A. Garcin, Law Offices of Robert A. Garcin, Loveland, CO, for Plaintiffs.

Wesley Martin, pro se.

Devon Nugent, pro se.

Melissa Rohman, pro se.

Ralph Carl Veal, pro se.

Laron Jones, Baltimore, MD, pro se.

Ricardo Huerta, pro se.

C. Victor Pyle, III, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC, Columbia, SC, Chris A. Hollinger, Michael W. Kopp, Nora M. Puckett, Robin Dean, O'Melveny & Myers LLP, San Francisco, CA, Evelyn L. Becker PHV, Kenneth Lee Blalack, II, Aparna B. Joshi, Guy Brenner, Jeffrey S. Nestler, John H. Beisner PHV, Tom A. Jerman, O'Melveny & Myers LLP, Lesley A. Pate, Robert G. Ames, Venable LLP, Washington, DC, Jennifer Rygiel Boyd, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC, Carla D. Macaluso, Jackson Lewis LLP, Morristown, NJ, Karen P. Kruse PHV, Aaron Roblan, Jackson Lewis LLP, Seattle, WA, Michael J. Puma PHV, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, Philadelphia, PA, R. Jay Taylor, Jr, Scopelitis Garvin Light Hanson & Feary PC, Indianapolis, IN, Robert M. Schwartz PHV, Scott Voelz, Cameron H. Biscay, Laura E. Robinson, Michael W. Garrison, Jr, Michael G. McGuinness, Victor H. Jih, O'Melveny & Myers LLP, Los Angeles, CA, Steve Dennis PHV, Reid & Dennis PC, Dallas, TX, Alison G. Fox, Thomas J. Brunner, Jr., D. Lucetta Pope, Baker & Daniels, South Bend, IN, Edward J. Efkeman, Federal Express Corporation, James R. Mulroy, II, Kiesewetter Wise Kaplan Prather PLC, William T. Fiala, Lewis Fisher Henderson Claxton & Mulroy LLP, Memphis, TN, Jeffrey A. Trimarchi, Jennifer Lee Merzon, O'Melveny & Myers LLP, New York, NY, Kenneth E. Milam, Watkins & Eager, Jackson, MS, Eric E. Hobbs, Eric H. Rumbaugh PHV, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, Milwaukee, WI, Patricia A. Sullivan, Edwards & Angell, Providence, RI, Michael R. Reck, Belin Lamson McCormick Zumbach Flynn, Des Moines, IA, Robert James Penny, Wick Bramer Ukasick & Trautwein LLC, Fort Collins, CO, Steven Matthew Kelso, Wheeler Trigg Kennedy LLP, Denver, CO, for Defendants.
ROBERT L. MILLER, JR., District Judge.

This matter is before the court on the plaintiffs' omnibus brief in support of summary adjudication asking the court to give collateral estoppel effect to the California Estrada decision in all the MDL proceedings (doc. # 1194). The plaintiffs contend that the Statement of Decision in Estrada v. FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc., Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC210130, aff'd, 154 Cal.App.4th 1, 64 Cal.Rptr.3d 327 (Cal.App.Ct.2007), precludes FedEx from denying that it has reserved the right to control and has exercised actual control over the manner and means used by the plaintiff drivers in performing their duties for FedEx under the terms of the Operating Agreement and common FedEx policies, procedures, and practices that implement the Operating Agreement's terms. For the reasons that follow, the court denies the plaintiffs' request to give preclusive effect to Estrada in the MDL cases.

I. Background

In Estrada, the court found that FedEx had the right to control and exercised actual

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control over a California class consisting of FedEx single service area pick-up and delivery drivers. The MDL plaintiffs argue that the court's findings in Estrada have preclusive effect in both the certified and non-certified classes as to FedEx's right to control and, where applicable, its actual exercise of control.

FedEx disagrees that Estrada has any preclusive effect. First, FedEx says that certain material facts relied on in Estrada are different from those applicable in the MDL cases. FedEx made a number of operational changes directly affecting its relations with contractors after Estrada, such as the “Document Reengineering Initiative” that clarified the line between policies and procedures. FedEx also contends that the facts in the MDL proceedings will be different than those relied on by the Estrada court because the Estrada class was more narrow than the classes certified here and anecdotal evidence was offered during the Estrada trial involving California terminal managers' and drivers' individual experiences.

Second, FedEx contends the states in the various MDL proceedings apply different legal standards than the California court applied. Because the class certification orders analyzed each jurisdiction's law individually, FedEx reasons that the court's analysis confirms that various jurisdictions treat the factors relevant to the right to control differently.

Third, FedEx states that application of collateral estoppel to the MDL proceeding would be contrary to public policy. The Estrada judgment, FedEx says, is inconsistent with one or more previous judgments in favor of FedEx. Also, the Estrada appellate court reversed the trial court's equitable order enjoining FedEx from misclassifying single service area drivers under its then-current business model because the plaintiffs lacked standing to seek such relief. Accordingly, FedEx contends a decision applicable to a defined class of California FedEx single service area drivers that doesn't apply even throughout California shouldn't be given nationwide preclusive effect.

In Estrada v. FedEx Ground Package Systems, Inc., Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC210130, the court certified a class of FedEx pickup and delivery contractors who at any time between May 1996 and July 2001 performed services for FedEx in the State of California driving full-time in a single work area (SWA) dispatched from a California-based terminal pursuant to the Operating Agreement. See Statement of Decision dated July 26, 2004, pp. 1-2. Drivers who operated in multiple work areas (MWAs), corporate entities, and others were excluded from the class. Decision, p. 2. Two of the named plaintiffs were SWA drivers and another was an MWA driver; although excluded from the class, the MWA driver continued in the litigation individually seeking a determination of employment status. Decision, pp. 2-3.

On July 26, 2004, after a nine-week bench trial with forty-six witnesses, the California Superior Court issued its Statement of...

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