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Small Fleet Summit: Dealing with AB5 in California

Labor attorney reviews trucking companies’ options during FreightWaves event

FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: How AB5 is likely to affect small fleets and owner-operators

DETAILS: Damon Ott is an employment attorney in California so he has a front-row seat to the state’s trucking industry as it prepares for the possible introduction of independent contractor law AB5. In this interview with FreightWaves editor at large John Kingston, Ott discusses some of the options that trucking companies in the state may pursue when the old way of doing business is no longer open to them. 

SPEAKER: Ott is a shareholder with Littler Mendelson.

BIO: Ott has extensive experience representing and counseling companies in connection with a broad spectrum of employment and labor law issues, but focuses heavily on matters involving independent contractor classification, alternative workforce arrangements and the complex legal and business considerations involved in such relationships. 


“There are other arrangements in the trucking industry that are used and I think are offering probably more defensible approaches, brokering being the most defensible.” 

“There is still no good case law in California on that arrangement, but the hope is you’d say brokering is a different business than the actual transportation business and therefore you could say you are in different businesses.”

On the California Trucking Association’s request for an en banc hearing on the appellate court decision to overturn the injunction blocking AB5 from being implemented against the trucking sector: “I am not sure how much optimism there is about the 9th Circuit. The big problem is getting to the Supreme Court.”

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.