Oct. 7, 2016: Judge Baylson Issues an Opinion Finding that the Allegations State an Employment Relationship, but not a Fiduciary Relationship

On October 7, 2016, Judge Baylson denied in part and granted in part defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings.  The court’s opinion can be broken down into four key rulings:

1. According to the allegations in the original complaint, the court could infer an employment relationship between plaintiffs and defendants.  See page 9:

Accepting, as the Court must, Plaintiffs’ allegations as true, and heeding the Third Circuit’s admonition that “[n]either the presence nor absence of any particular factor is dispositive,” Donovan, 757 F.2d at 1382, Plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged that they are properly classified as employees of the Defendants within the meaning of the FLSA.

2. The original complaint adequately stated a claim for minimum wages, and “the cost of having to pay various expenses cut into” drivers’ earnings .

3. The original complaint did not adequately state a claim for overtime wages. Plaintiffs were therefore ordered to amend their complaint to provide a “given workweek” in which they worked in excess of forty hours and were not compensated. If plaintiffs could allege such a workweek, then they could pursue their claim for overtime wages.

4. While the court could infer an employment relationship between the parties, it could not infer a fiduciary relationship.  Meaning, plaintiffs and class members would only be entitled to ordinary employee benefits, such as wages and compensation for expenses, if they ultimately prevail.

Citation: Razak v. Uber Techs., Inc., No. 16-573, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139668 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 7, 2016)

Read the opinion here: 10-7-16-opinion-on-defendants-motion-for-judgment-on-the-pleadings