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GrubHub Wants Calif. Driver’s Case to Stay in Appeals Court

May 16, 2018, 10:31 AM

GrubHub says the case of a former food delivery driver in California should stay in a federal appeals court rather than return to the lower court where the driver lost a trial in February.

Raef Lawson said the company owed him wages and business expense reimbursement that it would have been required to pay if it had correctly classified him as an employee under state law, rather than as an independent contractor. Two months after losing that argument at trial, the state supreme court transformed the test for worker classification in a way that favors employee status.

Lawson, who had already appealed his loss at the trial court, asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit to remand the case to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for consideration in light of the new standard. He cited a rule that lets the court hand off a case if there has been an intervening court decision. But GrubHub said that would be a waste of time.

“Remand would simply delay the inevitable,” lawyers for GrubHub Inc. wrote in opposing Lawson’s motion. No matter what may happen in the lower court, the outcome would be appealed to the Ninth Circuit, they said.

Additional companies in California now face similar lawsuits involving the worker classification issue.

The case is Lawson v. Grubhub Holdings Inc., 9th Cir., No. 18-15386, 5/14/18.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jon Steingart in Washington at jsteingart@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Terence Hyland at thyland@bloomberglaw.com