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.