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|"Last leg" Domino's drivers who
deliver to franchisees are exempt
from the Federal Arbitration Act
Carmona v. Domino's Pizza (9th Cir
Sent to Custom
Alerts™ subscribers on 12/23/2021
In a putative class
action brought by Domino's drivers asserting violations of various
California labor laws, the 9th Circuit affirmed the denial of
Domino's Pizza's motion to compel arbitration.
lead plaintiffs each had agreements with Domino’s providing that
"any claim, dispute, and/or controversy" between the parties would
"be submitted to and determined exclusively by binding arbitration
under the Federal Arbitration Act."
The holding is that the
drivers were a "class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate
commerce," and were therefore exempt from the requirements of the
Federal Arbitration Act (FAA).
Section 1 of the FAA exempts
from the arbitration mandate employment "contracts of employment
of seamen, railroad employees, or any other class of workers
engaged in foreign or interstate commerce."
applies if the class of workers is engaged in a "single, unbroken
stream of interstate commerce" that renders interstate commerce a
"central part" of their job description.
that the drivers who delivered goods to individual Domino's
franchisees in California were not engaged in interstate commerce
because the franchisees, all located in California, placed orders
with the supply center in the state, and the goods delivered were
not in the same form in which they arrived at the supply center.
The court disagreed, and followed
Amazon.com, Inc., 971 F.3d 904 (9th Cir. 2020), which
concerned Amazon package delivery drivers. Like Amazon, Domino's
was directly involved in the procurement and delivery of
interstate goods, was involved in the process from the beginning
to the ultimate delivery of the goods to their destinations, and
its business included not just the selling of goods, but also the
delivery of those goods. The alteration of the goods at the supply
center did not change the result.
The court concluded
that, as with the Amazon drivers, the transportation of interstate
goods "for the last leg" of their journey by the Domino's drivers
satisfied the requirements of the FAA exemption.
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