Monday, June 16, 2014

Ruiz v. Affinity Logistics Corp. (9th Cir. - June 16, 2014)

The Ninth Circuit has not been kind to S.D. Cal. district judge Janis Sammartino.

In 2009, Judge Sammartino held a three-day bench trial in a wage-and-hour class action and found for the plaintiffs.  She held that whether the truck drivers in that case were employees (as aruged by plaintiffs) or independent contractors (as argued by defendants) should be decided according to Georgia law.

Two years ago, the Ninth Circuit reversed.  California law applies.  Try again.

So she did.  Briefs get filed, Judge Sammartino reviews her prior decision, and holds that the result is the same under Califonia and Georgia law.  No dispositive difference.  Defendants win again.

Nope.  The Ninth Circuit today reverses again.  Under any view of the evidence, the Ninth Circuit holds, plaintiffs are entitled to win.  They were employees.

And this time, the Ninth Circuit doesn't even need oral argument.  Decides the case on the briefs.

But thanks for trying.