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Thursday, July 09, 2015

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decided one Indiana case July 8, re Kansas Fed.Ex. drivers

In Carlene Craig v. FedEx Ground Package System (ND Ind., Miller), a 6-page per curiam opinion, the panel writes:

This appeal is from the MDL court’s grant of summary judgment to FedEx Ground Package System, Inc., and denial of summary judgment to the plaintiffs, holding that the plaintiff drivers were independent contractors as a matter of law under the Kansas Wage Payment Act (KWPA), Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 44-312 to 33-340. See In Re FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc., 734 F. Supp. 2d 557 (N.D. Ind. 2010).

After hearing oral argument, we certified two questions to the Kansas Supreme Court: (1) Given the undisputed facts presented to the district court in this case, are the plaintiff drivers employees of FedEx as a matter of law under the KWPA? (2) Drivers can acquire more than one service area from Fed Ex. Is the answer to the preceding question different for plaintiff drivers who have more than one service area? Craig v. FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc., 686 F.3d 423, 431 (7th Cir. 2012). The court expresses its appreciation to the Justices of the Kansas Supreme Court for their willingness to answer these questions. * * *

The application of Kansas law to FedEx’s relationship with its drivers has been authoritatively decided by the Kansas Supreme Court: “under the undisputed facts presented, the FedEx delivery drivers are employees for purposes of the KWPA.” Craig, 335 P.3d at 92. The Kansas Supreme Court’s decision necessitates the reversal of the MDL court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of FedEx and denial of the plaintiff drivers’ summary judgment motion. Accordingly, we now REVERSE the MDL court’s denial of the plaintiff drivers’ motion for summary judgment and its grant of Fed- Ex’s motion for summary judgment. The Craig case is REMANDED to the MDL court with instructions to enter judgment for the plaintiff drivers that they are employees of FedEx for purposes of the KWPA and for further proceedings consistent with this opinion, which ultimately may require a remand of the case to the Kansas district court for a determination of damages.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 9, 2015 09:36 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions