Evans Delivery Co. has settled a class-action lawsuit of 275 members over the way it paid drayage drivers in California.
For a wage lawsuit between independent contractors and a trucking company, the settlement came relatively quickly. While some similar cases drag on for four or five years, this suit, in the U.S. federal District Court for Central California in November 2018, was filed less than two years ago.
Judge Dale Fischer approved the settlement on Friday.
Under the terms of the settlement, Pennsylvania-based Evans will pay $2.8 million and the attorneys for the class action’s defendants will retain a third, or roughly $933,333. Class counsel for the case was Stephen Glick and M. Anthony Jenkins of Glick’s Southern California law firm.
After the attorneys’ and other fees are paid out, including payments of $7,500 to the five named defendants at the head of the class action, about $1.739 million will remain to be distributed to the other members of the class.
The amount to be distributed to individual class-action members who worked at Evans can fluctuate depending upon when they worked for the company, according to the final settlement document. The period of employment that could make a person eligible for a payout is Nov. 8, 2014 through Aug. 26 of this year. Eligible workers must have been employed by Evans in California.
The lawsuit is relatively typical in the body of litigation over wage payments. In an amended complaint filed by the plaintiffs, it said they were “employee truck drivers compensated on a piece-rate basis, i.e., paid an amount of money to transport a load from one point to another only, which did not include reimbursing them for the costs they incurred in the discharge of their duties.”
Looming over the case if it had gone to trial would have been, according to the lawsuit, “whether defendants can establish class members were independent contractors instead of employees.”
The original lawsuit filed by the five individuals, before growing when class status was granted as part of the settlement, charged Evans with several violations of labor law:
— Failure to pay separate compensation for rest breaks.
— Failure to pay separate compensation for nonproductive time.
— Failure to reimburse all necessary business expenses.
— Failure to provide required meal periods.
— Failure to provide required rest periods.
— Unlawful deductions and failure to pay wages.
— Failure to pay earned wages upon termination.
As is the case with virtually all such settlements, Evans is not conceding any wrongdoing. In its response to the initial lawsuit, it gave no specifics as it denied the plaintiffs’ claims.
Evans’ website says it has more than 7,000 trucks and provides drayage, flatbed and dry van service as well as brokerage operations.