Friday, March 21, 2014

Trucker Files Class-Action Suits
Against Drayage Companies

By Mark Edward Nero

A truck driver has filed separate class action lawsuits against two Los Angeles-area drayage companies that haul containers to and from the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, alleging that they misclassify drivers as independent owner-operators instead of employees.

The twin suits were filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by the LA-based law firm of Kabateck Brown Kellner on behalf of Victor Castro, a driver who has worked for both trucking companies.

The legal actions, which were filed in late February, allege that Compton, California-based Coast Bridge Logistics and Carson, California-based Pacific 9 Transportation have failed to pay wages and overtime that he would be entitled to as an employees, and that neither company provided meal and rest breaks for its drivers.

According to Kabateck Brown Kellner, Pacific 9 pays its drivers a fixed price per delivery, but doesn’t provide any employee benefits. Castro has said he filed the lawsuits “to recover lost wages as a result of this wrongful practice.”

Both legal complaints state that the companies employed Castro and other drivers as independent contractors although they drove company-owned trucks and met all the conditions of being classified as employees. The company “directs and controls the way the drivers perform their work, including controlling their schedule, where they deliver product and how they work,” according to the legal actions.

Both of Castro’s lawsuits seek to include others, including current and former port drivers of both companies, going back four years prior to the filing of the legal complaints.