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Supreme Court declines to review state independent contractor limits

June 26, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 26 decided not to hear a case that involved the question of whether federal law preempts an Illinois law that could make use of the independent contractor model in trucking unworkable in the state. The carrier in the case, BeavEx Inc., had argued in its petition that the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (IWPCA) had the effect of forcing the reclassification of owner-operators as employees and that the Seventh Circuit ruling backing the state law conflicts with a First Circuit ruling blocking a similar Massachusetts law.
 
A brief filed by the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) in May recommended that the Supreme Court leave the Seventh Circuit ruling in place, arguing that the Illinois law was not as far reaching as BeavEx contended and that any indirect impact of IWPCA on carrier pricing is too tenuous or remote to be preempted. The differences between the Seventh Circuit ruling and the First Circuit 2014 decision in Massachusetts Delivery Association v Coakley do not represent a fundamental conflict and are "attributable to case-specific differences in the scope of the state employment laws and their economic impact on motor carriers,” DOJ said.

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