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Amazon Flex Drivers Denied Class Action Status Again

On July 8, 2022, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington denied a motion for class certification (“Motion”) filed by Amazon Flex Drivers (the “Drivers” or “Plaintiffs”) in a misclassification suit against Amazon.com, Inc. and Amazon Logistics, Inc. (collectively, “Amazon” or “Defendants”).

In the Motion, filed on June 30, 2022, the Drivers argued that they meet all the requirements for class certification: numerosity, commonality, typicality, adequacy, predominance, and superiority. Specifically, the Drivers claim they performed the same job duties and were all subject to the same policies and treatment as independent contractors, wrongfully denying them the rights and benefits associated with employee status.

The Court did not reach the merits of the Drivers’ Motion, instead issuing a denial pursuant to a stay of the litigation. The denial is without prejudice, and the Court noted that once the stay is lifted, Plaintiffs may move for certification again. This was Plaintiffs’ second motion for class certification. The first motion, filed in February 2022, was also denied because of the ongoing stay.

The Court stayed the Action pending the Supreme Court’s decisions in Southwest Airlines Co. v. Saxon, 142 S. Ct. 1783 (2022) and Viking River Cruises v. Moriana, 142 S. Ct. 1906 (2022), two suits dealing with the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”). Section 1 of the FAA states that “seamen, railroad employees or any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce” are exempted from arbitration. On June 6, 2022, the Supreme Court held in Southwest Airlines that a ramp agent supervisor qualified for the Section 1 arbitration exemption under the FAA and was thus not required to arbitrate her wage claims against Southwest Airlines. However, on June 15, 2022, the Supreme Court ruled in Viking River Cruises that a former sales representative could not be exempt from arbitration under the California Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) because the FAA preempted the PAGA claim.

On July 26, 2022, the Court partially lifted the stay in the Action, but only to appoint lead counsel and resolve procedural issues resulting from the consolidation of additional cases.  The parties are directed to present a plan of action regarding those issues to the Court by August 19, 2022.

Updates will be posted to this blog as the matter progresses. A class has not yet been certified in this Action. The case caption for the lawsuit is Bernadean Rittmann, et al. v. Amazon.com, Inc., case number 2:16-cv-01554-JCC, filed in United States District Court for the Western District of Washington.

The legal team at Miller Shah LLP has significant experience representing class action matters. If you have any questions regarding this subject or this post, please contact Nicholas Ono (nkono@millershah.com) or John Roberts (jcroberts@millershah.com). The firm can also be reached toll-free at (866) 540-5505.

Miller Shah LLP is a law firm with offices in California, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The firm is an active member of International Advisory Group (IAG Global), which provides clients access to excellent legal and accounting resources across the globe. For more information about the firm, please visit us at https://www.millershah.com.

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