Key Legal Actions to Come
The following is a very rough overview of what is likely to happen next in the WSTA litigation now that we have filed our complaint.
Below is a snap-shot of the many steps we will have to take in our litigation strategy. Each legal step laid-out below has a cost element and it is why we are reaching-out to industry for financial support.
WSTA is also monitoring other high profile legal cases including New Prime Inc. v. Dominic Oliveira, currently pending in the United States Supreme Court. That case raises two related issues under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”). Section 1 of the FAA contains an exemption, such that it does not apply to contracts of employment of seamen, railroad employees, or any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce. The first question is whether the applicability of the exemption should be decided by an arbitrator or a court. The second question is whether the exemption – which applies to “contracts of employment” – applies to independent contractor relationships. In other words, the case presents the questions of 1) What does the FAA exemption provision mean in the context of ICs; and 2) who decides what it means?
- The defendants have 21 days from the date we serve them with a copy of the complaint to file an answer. All defendants should be served by Monday (7/23/18), meaning we could expect an answer in mid-August. That will be our first preview of the position the State is going to take in this case. Note that it is very common for attorneys to request an extension of time in which to file the answer, and generally speaking, as a matter of professional courtesy each side agrees to those requests as long as they are not unreasonable.
- Gathering of declarations – we rather quickly need about 15-20 “good” declarations from representatives of all parts of the industry: one-truck owner-operators, small trucking companies with a few employee drivers, large fleets, and brokers.
- We should likely seek a preliminary injunction (see above). Declarations are critical here too because we need to make a strong showing of irreparable injury.
- Discovery – each side may request discovery from the other side, and that process will likely take several months. We are not anticipating a ton of depositions, but that is theoretically possible.
- Motions – each side will likely make a number of motions, including a motion for summary judgment
- Ruling on the merits – after all motions are resolved, we will likely get a ruling on the merits.
- At this point we anticipate that whoever loses in the district court will appeal to the Ninth Circuit.
As you can see we have many challenges ahead of us and we will need your help!
The timeline for all of the above is extremely difficult to predict. Courts are very backlogged, and criminal cases are given priority over civil matters like ours. Nevertheless, because our case presents a primarily legal question and we likely don’t need a lot of factual development, we anticipate this case will move more quickly than a case in which the facts are heavily disputed.
Pat Whalen, Ellison, Whalen & Blackburn Attorneys at Law (7-20-18)