Orlando Mediator Lawrence Kolin explores current issues in Alternative Dispute Resolution, including mediation and arbitration of complex cases by neutrals resulting in settlement of state and federal litigation and appeals. This blog covers a wide variety of topics-- local, national, and international-- and includes the latest on technology and Online Dispute Resolution affecting sophisticated lawyers and parties to lawsuits.
Monday, June 21, 2021
No Prime Day For Amazon and Arbitration
The U.S. Supreme Court decided today not to consider whether drivers for Amazon’s Flex delivery service are interstate transportation workers who can avoid arbitration as part of a proposed class claim. Amazon.com Inc. had urged the high Court to review a federal appellate decision allowing a Flex driver to avoid arbitrating proposed class claims that he and others are misclassified as independent contractors because they’re interstate transportation workers exempt from the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). The First Circuit Court of Appeals held last summer that those workers making local deliveries to Amazon customers qualify for the FAA exemption, even though they don’t cross state lines, because their work involves transporting goods in the flow of interstate commerce. Flex drivers, therefore, aren’t bound by arbitration agreements that would prevent them from litigating their state law wage claims. In recent years, Amazon used independent contractors to deliver goods through its Flex smartphone app. Flex contractors could sign up for shifts and use their own car while adhering to Amazon’s standards to deliver packages. However, if a contractor takes longer than their shift to complete their deliveries, they are not compensated for extra time, nor reimbursed for gas, vehicle maintenance, or cell phone data costs for the job. Working with Flex, an individual agrees to its terms of service, which requires settling disputes through arbitration governed by the FAA. Interestingly, earlier this month, the company changed its terms allowing people to bring individual or class action lawsuits against it. Amazon made the change in response to more than 75,000 pending arbitration demands on behalf of its Echo device users that would have required it to ante up tens of millions of dollars in filing fees in those cases. It now faces several class actions, including one alleging that it improperly recorded and preserved conversations through its Echo Dot Kids devices. See more here-- https://bit.ly/3vRYhzW and https://bit.ly/3qgc95x and https://bit.ly/2SKw54w
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