Larson & Gaston, LLP


Pasadena California Business & Commercial Law Blog

California Expands the Reach of Dynamex ABC Test with AB 5

As covered on this blog, California has been taking steps to limit the classification of workers as independent contractors. While this has taken on different forms, including the monumental Dynamex decision, the state legislature recently finalized its own measure with the passage of AB 5 to codify the ABC test set forth in Dynamex. The passage of the bill largely overhauls employment law across the state.

The bill is plainly meant to target the continually growing gig economy, particularly companies like Uber and Lyft. However, the law has far-reaching implications for workers across a number of industries, including health care workers and truck drivers.

Trucking Companies May See Relaxation of Work Hours Rules

With some in the trucking industry pushing for changes to the time truck drivers are legally permitted to spend behind the wheel, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently announced propose changes to address this desire.

Dynamex Decision Could Rock the Employment Market Even More than Initially Thought

As discussed on this blog, the Dynamex court decision has evolved since it first came down last year, with its overall impact on the employment market still being determined and understood. The latest in this line could have an extraordinary impact on many industries.

Will Uber and Lyft Change California's Labor Market?

The effort to define who is an employee and who is an independent contractor has been an ongoing battle in California, particularly since the Dynamex decision that came down from the California Supreme Court last April. While the full impact of the decision in the courts is still being seen, it is no surprise that the issue is now being taken up by California's legislative branch as well.

Big Retailers Test Customer's Desire for Convenience

As covered on this blog, online sellers and brick and motors continue a back and forth struggle for business. Recently, large retail sellers Amazon and Walmart have looked to add a new level of convenience to online shopping that could provide a breakthrough, if consumers are in fact open to the idea.

House Bill Takes Aim at FMCSA Pre-Emption

As discussed here, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ("FMCSA") has set up its own rules for rest breaks for safety purposes that pre-empt those of the states.  That became very clear when the FMCSA issued its determination that federal regulations pre-empted California's meal and rest break rules. However, as the challenges to the FMCSA pre-emption determinatin winds its way through the courts, the House of Representatives wants to step in to handle the situation.

"On June 4, the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year 2020 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies bill (commonly called T-HUD). The legislation funds the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other related agencies."

Disappointing IPOs Could Mean Big Changes from Gig Economy on Out

After Lyft's rocky IPO, Uber hoped for better but found itself in just as much difficulty after recently going public. Unfortunately for the company, the trouble didn't stop there as Uber then posted a billion dollar quarterly loss.

Unsurprisingly, Uber doesn't plan to sit back as losses mount. While the company's IPO was disappointing, it is still highly valued, in the tens of billions of dollars, with investors expecting it to find its way to profitability. This has raised the question of which part of its business, consumer or worker, will have to suffer this burden.

California Court Demonstrates Impact of FMCSA Preemption Decision

As discussed on this blog, late last year the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ("FMCSA") determined that California's Meal and Rest Break rules are pre-empted by federal law, as applied to property-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers covered by the FMCSA's Hours of Service regulations. Less than five months later, the implications of this are being seen in court.

On May 3, 2019, the United States District Court for the Central District of California granted partial summary judgment in the case of Ayala v. U.S. Xpress. In the case, the plaintiffs argued the U.S. Xpress had failed to comply with the meal and rest break requirements mandated under California law. The court dismissed this claim citing the FMCSA decision, stating it did not possess authority to review the decision.

Uber Looks to Avoid Lyft's Struggles

It has been a little over a month since Lyft's trading debut, which after a strong start quickly struggled and continues to decline. Now Uber looks to avoid the same fate is it prepares for its upcoming debut.

Uber recently announced an initial valuation of between $80 and $91 billion dollars, a number that towers over Lyft's $24 billion, but which some suggest could be an undervaluation. This apparent undervaluation may be Uber's attempt to avoid the slide that Lyft's stock saw after its debut. Yet, Uber still faces some of the same pitfalls, as it, like Lyft, is still unprofitable.

Brick and Mortars Store Closures A Warning Sign to the Market

As discussed on this blog, the retail industry, specifically brick and mortar stores, have found some perhaps unexpected good signs and wins as of late in their bid to maintain a model that looks to be displaced by online retailers.

However, recent events indicate brick and mortars may not be taking an upward swing, as the planned closings of retail stores in the US has already exceeded the number in all of 2018. The high number of closings appears to be a mix of profitable companies closing locations while struggling companies head into bankruptcy.

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