Court Approves Settlement

We are one huge step closer to getting some payback for the slave labor we endured at the hands of Swift Transportation. It will still be a while before checks are cut. There is a 4 month period for responses from drivers to the notices they are getting ready to send out. Then there will probably be a couple more months to actually figure up how much each person gets and send out checks. So be patient but know that relief is coming.

They are trying to update your contact information so Settlement Services, Inc. and Getman Sweeney Law can keep you informed and send you important documents and information about what is going on. In an email I received from one of the paralegals…

IF WE HAVE NOT SPOKEN WITH YOU WITHIN THE PAST 30 DAYS, please reply to this email with

  • Your full name as it appeared/appears on your settlements;
  • Your driver code if you know it;
  • The last four digits of your social security number;
  • Your current mailing address; and
  • Your phone number.

We will update our records accordingly.

So if you are affected by this case and have not heard from or talked to the lawyers in the last 30 days, I suggest you contact them. The preferred method of contact is email:

James Sherwood


260 Fair St.

Kingston, NY 12401

(845) 255-9370

Fax: (845) 255-8649


Settlement submitted in Swift Misclassification lawsuit

Apparently a settlement agreement has been agreed to by Getman and Swift.

A fund is going to be set up in the amount of $100 million to be distributed to some 20,000 drivers. after lawyers fees and taxes… The average pay out will probably be in the $3,000 range per driver. The actual amount will vary based on number of weeks employed, assumed hours worked, and amount paid during that period. By my estimates that means the average payout could be as little as $500 per driver and checks may not go out until late 2019 or early 2020, if the agreement is approved by the court.


Knight-Swift said in a statement that the amount of settlement had been accounted for on its balance sheet as of December 31, 2018, and “does not expect that the settlement will have a material impact on its future results of operations.”

Personally I think if it didn’t impact their operations, it was too light of a punishment for stealing from us to benefit themselves.

You can read the proposed Settlement Agreement here.

Swift to give oral… arguments…

Oral Argument Date Set – Posted January 9, 2018

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has set March 16, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. PST to hear oral arguments on Swift’s appeal of the District Court’s January 2017 ruling that this case cannot go to arbitration because the named-plaintiff drivers were/are employees—not independent contractors—as a matter of law. Each side will have 20 minutes to present their argument and respond to the Judges’ questions.

Swift’s appeal does not dispute that the District Court reached the correct decision—that the Plaintiff drivers are employees under the law. Instead, Swift argues that the District Court erred by considering the Lease as well as the “Contractor Agreement” and the parties’ relationship in reaching its decision.

The Court will also hear arguments regarding Swift’s mandamus petition; Swift contends that the District Court should not have lifted the stay on discovery, granting Plaintiffs access to Defendant’s records of those drivers who may have claims in the case.

Drivers had argued, successfully, that because this case has been slowed down, hindered, and repeatedly delayed for years by the Defendant, the information in Swift’s records would not be current or useful if, or when, a Collective Action is certified and Plaintiffs asked for the records so that we could begin the process of ensuring that the contact information in those records is up-to-date and accurate in order to send notice to a group of over 16,000 drivers who may be eligible to join this case, if and when that should occur.

Typically, cases such as these are certified (or not) fairly early after filing and if certification is granted notice is mailed to all the people who might be eligible to join. Plaintiffs moved for collective action back in May of 2010— but this process was stopped in the summer of 2010 by Swift’s Motion to Compel Arbitration. Now that the Arizona District Court has ruled against Swift’s arbitration motion, and said that the case must remain in federal court, the next step after these appeals will be to revisit the class and collective action motions.

The 9th Circuit live-streams oral arguments, and archives them for viewing afterward. When a link to the live stream is available, we will post it here so drivers can watch the hearing live, or later, at a convenient time.

Swift’s Appeal of January 2017 Ruling — Posted June 15, 2017

On May 24th, 2017, Swift filed an appeal to the Arizona District Court’s Order and Opinion (Jan. 2017) in which the District Court ruled that the five named-plaintiff drivers are employees, not independent contractors as a matter of law, for the purposes of § 1 of the Federal Arbitration Act. That ruling was important for many reasons — first, it prevented the case from being sent to arbitration, and second, the Court agreed with Plaintiffs that drivers are employees as a matter of law. Swift’s appeal does not dispute that the District Court reached the correct decision. Instead, Swift argues that the District Court erred by considering the Lease as well as the “Contractor Agreement” in reaching its decision. The drivers’ response to the appeal brief is due on Thursday, June 22nd, and Swift has until July 7th to file their response. Once the appeal is fully briefed the court may or may not assign a date for oral argument.

The Drivers have moved to renew (883) their Collective Action Motion (105), which is fully briefed by both sides, and have moved for Class Certification of a nationwide class of Lease Operators (884). If class certification is granted, notice will issue to all drivers who may have eligible claims. However, over Plaintiffs’ objections, the District Court stayed the case for the duration of the appeal. Plaintiffs moved the Court to lift the stay in order to require Swift to provide names and contact information for all drivers who may be able to participate in this case, and the Court required Swift to provide this information by June 19th.

Trucking Co. Driver Contract Row Paused For 9th Circ. Review

Law360, New York (February 27, 2017, 6:28 PM EST) — An Arizona federal judge agreed Friday to hit pause on a proposed class action alleging Swift Transportation Co. Inc. misclassified its drivers as independent contractors until the Ninth Circuit hears the trucking giant’s challenge to a recent ruling that its drivers’ contractor agreements were contracts of employment.
Senior U.S. District Judge John W. Sedwick granted Swift’s request to stay all proceedings in the long-running dispute, including a pending motion to certify the class, until the Ninth Circuit considers the judge’s Jan. 5 denial of the trucking company’s motion to compel arbitration.

Swift is challenging Judge Sedwick’s decision to weigh the terms of the contracts between the five truck driver plaintiffs and Swift, as well as the terms of the lease agreements between the plaintiffs and Interstate Equipment Leasing — Swift’s equipment and truck leasing affiliate — in concluding that Swift’s drivers’ contractor agreements were contracts of employment, making them exempt from the Federal Arbitration Act.

“Here, while the court believes its conclusion is correct, it recognizes that the appeal presents serious legal questions as to how a court should properly determine whether a contract of employment existed,” Judge Sedwick said. “Indeed, the Ninth Circuit stated that the issue was one of first impression.”

Judge Sedwick in January ruled that the plaintiffs had contracts of employment making them exempt from the Federal Arbitration Act and the Arizona Arbitration Act, and rejected Swift’s bid to force the fight into arbitration. The judge weighed factors such as the extent of Swift’s control over the drivers, the payment structure, opportunity for profit and loss, autonomy, duration of relationship, and type of work to be done by the drivers to determine an employment relationship existed.

In a separate order also issued Friday, Judge Sedwick denied the plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction blocking Swift from requiring current contract drivers, known as lease operators, to sign a new independent contractor operating agreement before March 1. The plaintiffs had argued that some of the language in that new agreement was problematic, particularly two new provisions the company inserted that set forth payment and indemnification obligations in the event of a “reclassification decision” in this case.

They claimed that the two challenged provisions in the new agreement are misleading and confusing to current lease operators because they suggest that participating in the instant class action could mean that they’d end up having to pay damages and attorneys’ fees, according to the order. That kind of misunderstanding potentially undermines the plaintiffs’ prospects for getting putative class members to participate, the drivers claimed.

The judge agreed that the provisions were misleading and confusing, and required Swift to correct some of the language in a notice it was sending out to those contract drivers.

“Here, an employee who signs an agreement does not understand the legal subtleties that could affect how those provisions are applied after the resolution of this class action and may well believe that he now has to avoid participation in the case or risk financial harm,” the judge said in the order.

The judge said two paragraphs in the new agreement seemed to suggest that an improper method of damage calculation and fee shifting could lead to class members owing Swift money regardless of the outcome of this litigation. As such, the judge ordered Swift to send out a corrective notice explaining that the payment obligations and indemnification provisions will not apply to the calculation of remedies and attorneys’ fees that may be awarded in this case.

The judge declined to issue an injunction blocking Swift from engaging in future contact with putative class members regarding matters in this suit, as the plaintiffs had requested, saying it was “unnecessarily restrictive,” according to the order.

Swift is now hoping for the Ninth Circuit to back its push for the dispute, which dates back to 2009, to be heard in arbitration. Swift is the largest truckload motor carrier in North America with more than 45 terminals in the U.S. and Mexico. It has maintained that its drivers are properly classified as independent contractors, and their contractor agreements contained a clear provision that any disputes over the agreements would be taken up in arbitration.

The district court had previously granted the company’s arbitration request in 2010, prompting the drivers to appeal to the Ninth Circuit. That earlier appeal resulted in a split decision last year, with the panel sending the dispute back down to the district court to have it first figure out whether the drivers’ contractor agreements constituted contracts of employment before deciding whether the fight was even exempted from arbitration under the FAA.

Counsel or representatives for the parties were not immediately available for comment on Monday.

The plaintiffs are represented by Dan Getman of Getman & Sweeney PLLC, attorney Edward Tuddenham, and Susan Martin, Daniel Bonnett and Jennifer Kroll of Martin & Bonnett PLLC.

Swift Transportation and the other defendants are represented by Paul S. Cowie, Kevin M. Cloutier, Robert Mussig and Anna M. Stancu of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.

The case is Virginia Van Dusen et al v. Swift Transportation Co., Inc. et al, case number 2:10-cv-00899, in the U.S. District Court of Arizona.