SANTA ANA, Calif., June 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The California Supreme Court on June 30, 2014, in Ayala v. Antelope Valley Newspapers, Case No. S206874 (Ct. App. 2/4B235484) held that in California, the key determining factor on whether or not a worker is an employee or an independent contractor is whether or not the hirer has the right to control the conduct of the service provider. If the hirer has that right, regardless of whether or not that right is exercised or exercised consistently, the hirer will be deemed the employer of the worker and will be subject to all California laws governing employment relationships.
This opinion has statewide significance because there are numerous cases throughout the state where this issue has arisen. Callahan & Blaine, counsel for the carriers, has represented newspaper carriers against the Orange County Register, securing a $38 million settlement. Callahan & Blaine subsequently filed a lawsuit against the San Diego Union Tribune, the Sacramento Bee, the Fresno Bee and the Antelope Valley Press. The action against the San Diego Union Tribune went to trial in 2013 with a judgment of $10 million against the newspaper after the Court properly certified the carriers as a class.
The Sacramento Bee case went to trial earlier this year and the Court awaited today's ruling from the Supreme Court being entering its judgment. The Court in Sacramento also found that the newspaper carriers were a proper class to seek classwide vindication of their rights.
"The carriers in the Sacramento Bee case should be entitled to in excess of $20 million for reimbursement of expenses incurred in performing their service for the newspaper," said Daniel J. Callahan, founding partner of Callahan & Blaine. "The Fresno Bee case is headed for trial in November 2014. It was also certified properly as a class and after the presentation of evidence should also be entitled to an award in excess of $20 million."
The Antelope Valley Press is the only case where the trial court found that the newspaper carriers were not entitled to class certification. That opinion was reversed by the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles. Today, the California Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeal's reversal of the trial court and determination that the carriers for the Antelope Valley Press are entitled to try their case as a class.
"The practice in the newspaper industry of attempting to treat their carriers as independent contractors and thus avoid obligations in an employer/employee relationship is nearly universal throughout the United States," said Callahan. "This opinion clearly holds that that practice is illegal, therefore, this opinion, relying upon established common law principles, could modify the entire industry's method of conducting business and contractual relationships with the newspaper carriers nationwide."
For further information please contact Daniel J. Callahan at 714-241-4444.
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Daniel J. CallahanCallahan & Blaine (714) 241-4444 ext. 309 Email
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