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Supreme Court Sides with Owner-Operators

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The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in a landmark 8-0 decision, ruled that independent truckers did not have to agree to arbitration to settle differences with carriers. Dominic Oliveira, an owner-operator, sued New Prime, Inc a Missouri-based trucking firm because the trucking firm did not pay him minimum wage.

The crux of the legal argument is that many trucking firms do not pay drivers for duties other than driving even though they are required to perform those duties. The class-action suit brought by Oliveira and others goes straight to the question of whether drivers should be paid minimum wage for non-driving duties.

Most drivers get paid by the mile, and although that is usually better than minimum wage, there are times when hours are spent waiting for loaders and unloaders or stuck in traffic. There’s even a viable argument that overnight stays in hotels en route are hours on the clock. The driver has no choice but to stay in lodging while making over-the-road deliveries.

1925 Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) or U. S. Arbitration Act & Owner-Operators

The Act provides that both sides must use arbitration to settle private disputes, and are bound by the decision of the arbitrator or arbitration panel when confirmed by a court within one year. Both parties give up the right to appeal. Compulsory arbitration is seen by “the average American” as a method to suppress claims. Usually, jury trials for claims see more substantial awards going to claimants and arbitration cases more favorable to big business.

The FAA excludes transportation workers, but then there’s the question, is an owner-operator an employee or a contract driver? Oliveira claims that the company treats them as employees but fails to pay them for minimum wage for non-driving tasks. Prime argued that they must accept arbitration according to the FAA.

Several class-action lawsuits have asked the courts to rule on pay issues. In Arkansas, a court ruled in favor of a class-action suit that proposed drivers get paid for every hour in the truck, and a Nebraska ruling the court decided in favor of student truck drivers who argue they did not get paid fairly.

Traffic Tickets in Truckee, CA and Within Nevada County

When you receive a traffic ticket in Truckee or Nevada County, the court should send you a Courtesy Bail Notice within six weeks to two months. The notice will provide the following information:

  • Bail amount
  • Due date to pay (if pleading guilty)
  • Traffic Violators School (TVS) eligibility (CMV violations are usually not eligible)
  • How to clear a “fix-it” ticket
  • Where and when to appear for arraignment (if pleading not guilty)

Non-receipt of notice does not relieve you of your responsibility to resolve the ticket, and failure to appear could lead to a misdemeanor violation of the CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 40508, Release Upon Promise to Appear, you may get tried in absentia, a civil penalty could get added, and your failure to pay may get reported to a collection agency. Your best option is to contact a traffic ticket attorney who represents clients in Truckee Traffic Court.

Speak to the CDL Friendly Traffic Attorneys About Your Ticket in Truckee, CA

When you need a CDL friendly lawyer to assist you with a traffic ticket in Truckee or other areas of Nevada County, give us a call. Call Bigger & Harman at (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

We handle traffic tickets and DMV Hearing throughout Central and Northern CA. Whether you need resolution on a permit question, overweight truck, speeding, following too closely, etc. give us a call. We offer a free, no-obligation initial consultation. We’ll give you straight forward advice you can trust.

Send us an email, attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.

References:

The 2018 CA Commercial Driver Handbook .pdf

The SFGate.com article, The Supreme Court just handed truck drivers a big win…

Trucks.com article, Truckers Can’t be Forced into Arbitration, Supreme Court Rules

CVC 40508, Release Upon Promise to Appear