In re Fedex Ground Package System, Inc.

Decision Date27 July 2009
Docket NumberThis Document Relates To: 3:07cv411 (Georgia),This Document Relates To: 3:07cv478 (Colorado),This Document Relates To: 3:07cv322 (Connecticut),This Document Relates To: 3:07cv326 (North Carolina),This Document Relates To: 3:07cv328 (Leighter-Oregon),This Document Relates To: 3:07cv325 (Vargas-MCSA),This Document Relates To: Cause No. 3:05-MD-527,This Document Relates To: 3:08cv53 (Utah).,This Document Relates To: 3:08cv336 (Ohio),This Document Relates To: 3:05-CV-596 (Slayman-Oregon),This Document Relates To: 3:08cv193 (Boudreaux-Louisiana),This Document Relates To: 3:07cv412 (Vermont),This Document Relates To: 3:07cv120 (Nevada),This Document Relates To: RM (MDL-1700).,This Document Relates To: 3:07cv324 (Givens-FLSA),This Document Relates To: 3:07cv272 (Arizona)
Citation662 F.Supp.2d 1069
PartiesIn re FEDEX GROUND PACKAGE SYSTEM, INC., EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES LITIGATION.
CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of Indiana
662 F.Supp.2d 1069
In re FEDEX GROUND PACKAGE SYSTEM, INC., EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES LITIGATION.
This Document Relates To: 3:05-CV-596 (Slayman-Oregon)
This Document Relates To: 3:07cv120 (Nevada)
This Document Relates To: 3:07cv272 (Arizona)
This Document Relates To: 3:07cv322 (Connecticut)
This Document Relates To: 3:07cv324 (Givens-FLSA)
This Document Relates To: 3:07cv325 (Vargas-MCSA)
This Document Relates To: 3:07cv326 (North Carolina)
This Document Relates To: 3:07cv328 (Leighter-Oregon)
This Document Relates To: 3:08cv336 (Ohio)
This Document Relates To: 3:07cv411 (Georgia)
This Document Relates To: 3:07cv412 (Vermont)
This Document Relates To: 3:07cv478 (Colorado)
This Document Relates To: 3:08cv193 (Boudreaux-Louisiana)
This Document Relates To: 3:08cv53 (Utah).
This Document Relates To: Cause No. 3:05-MD-527
This Document Relates To: RM (MDL-1700).
United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division.
July 27, 2009.

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Beth A. Ross, Eleanor I. Morton, Leonard Carder LLP, San Francisco, CA, Lynn R. Faris, Leonard Carder LLP, Oakland, CA, Peter J. Agostino, Anderson Agostino & Keller PC, South Bend, IN, Susan E. Ellingstad, Charles N. Nauen, Lockridge Grindal Nauen PLLP, Clayton D. Halunen PHV, Joni M. Thome PHV, Halunen & Associates, Anne T. Regan, David M. Cialkowski, J Gordon Rudd, Zimmerman Reed PLLP, Wood R. Foster PHV, Jr., Siegel Brill Greupner Duffy & Foster PA. Minneapolis, MN, 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, Jerald R. Cureton, Cureton Clark PC, Mt. Laurel, NJ, 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, Dmitri Iglitzin, 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, 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 PC, Montgomery, AL, Jeffrey A. Bartos, Soye Kim, Guerrieri Edmond Clayman & Bartos PC, Washington, DC, B. James Fitzpatrick, 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

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Meizlish, Deborah R. Grayson, Meizlish & Grayson, Cincinnati, OH, Edward R. Forman, John S. Marshall, Marshall and Morrow LLC, Eileen S. Goodin, Monica Ferraro, Robert E. Derose, II, 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, Barkan Neff Handelman Meizlish LLP, Columbus, IN, 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.

David M. Cialkowski, Zimmerman Reed PLLP, Minneapolis, MN, Joseph J. Haddad, Richard R. Meneghello, Fisher & Phillips LLP, Portland, OR, Michael J. Puma PHV, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, Philadelphia, PA, Rick D. Roskelley, Littler Mendelson PC, Las Vegas, NV, John Alan Doran, John F. Lomax, Jr., Laura Marie Lawless, Michael Cajer Mason, Greenberg Traurig LLP, Phoenix, AZ, Burton Kainen, Sheldon D. Myers, Kainen Escalera & McHale PC, Hartford, CT, Mary Stanfield Bubbett, Phillip A. Wittmann, Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann LLC, New Orleans, LA, Wesley S. Chused, Looney & Grossman LLP, Boston, MA, Louis Adams Bledsoe, III, Nicholas G. Walter, Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson PA, Charlotte, NC, Timothy J. Jacob, Manchester Bennett Powers & Ullman, Youngstown, OH, Edward Scott Smith, Fisher & Phillips LLP, Atlanta, GA, Steven Matthew Kelso, Wheeler Trigg Kennedy LLP, Denver, CO, Kristine M. Larsen, Ray Quinney & Nebeker PC, Salt Lake City, UT, for FedEx Ground Package System Inc.

OPINION AND ORDER

ROBERT L. MILLER, JR., Chief Judge.


In orders dated October 15, 2007 (Doc. # 906) and March 25, 2008 (Doc. # 1119), the court resolved motions for class certification for the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. These were the motions in the first three waves of such motions. The reader's familiarity with the earlier orders is assumed.

The parties made similar arguments in most of those first three waves of class certification motions. Most of the rulings turned on whether, under the law governing the claims of a particular class, the plaintiffs' claims ultimately could be resolved on the basis of common evidence such as the drivers' Operating Agreement with FedEx and commonly applicable FedEx policies. Critical in those decisions was whether a particular state's law looked to the right to control as distinct from the actual exercise of control, and whether evidence unique to less than all drivers might affect the ultimate decision on whether a class of drivers were, under governing law, employees or individual contractors.

Class certification motions in the fourth and fifth waves are ripe for ruling. Resolution of these motions is long overdue, having been delayed by a doubling of the assigned judge's felony docket due to a district judgeship vacancy that has lasted more than twenty months. The parties

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have identified few issues not related to governing state law that were not addressed in the October 2007 and March 2008 orders, and the court adopts the reasoning of those orders to the extent the current motions pose the same arguments. Analysis focuses primarily on whether the substantive law governing the motion allows resolution, without extrinsic evidence, of whether the Operating Agreement and policies applicable to the entire class create an employment relationship, and whether a would-be employer's conduct can convert an employment relationship (as defined in the employment contract) into an independent contractor relationship.

The plaintiffs moved for oral argument on the fourth wave motions. The court has been able to work through those motions without argument, so the court denies that motion as moot.

Arizona ( Gibson )

Named Arizona plaintiffs Margaret Gibson, Don Olsen, Solomon Rachmin, and Joe Shipp bring claims for illegal wage deductions, ARIZ.REV.STAT. § 23-352, rescission, declaratory relief, and injunctive relief. Joe Shipp is a driver for FedEx Home. Margaret Gibson, Don Olsen, and Solomon Rachmin are former drivers for FedEx Home. They seek to represent the following class.

All persons who: 1) entered or will enter into a FXG Ground or FXG Home Delivery form Operating Agreement (now known as form OP-149 and form OP-149 RES) and/or provided or will provide package pick-up and delivery services pursuant to an executed Operating Agreement; 2) drove or will drive a vehicle on a full-time basis (meaning exclusive of time off for commonly excused employment absences) since May 11, 2004, to provide package pick-up and delivery services pursuant to the Operating Agreement; and 3) were dispatched out of a terminal in the state of Arizona.

When the motion was filed, this class would have included at least 197 drivers.

FedEx opposed class certification because (among other reasons adequately discussed with respect to other states) individualized evidence would be needed to evaluate the extent of actual control, each driver's intent, the method of payment and furnishing of equipment, the right to hire and fire, and the characteristics of each driver's business operations.

The Arizona wage deduction statute protects employees, and define as "employee" as "any person who performs services for an employer under a contract of employment either made in this state or to be performed wholly or partly within this state." ARIZ.REV.STAT. § 23-350(2). In deciding whether an agent is an employee or an independent contractor, Arizona law looks to the...

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