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10-cv-11521

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Case Summary: Massachusetts Delivery Association v. Martha Coakley, 10-cv-11521 (D. Mass.)

This is a case about whether the State of Massachusetts can require delivery service companies to only use “employees,” to whom they must provide certain benefits, as opposed to independent contractors or whether the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) preempts the Massachusetts statute and allows for use of independent contractors.

Plaintiff Massachusetts Delivery Association (“MDA”) is a non-profit trade organization formed to support businesses involved in the same-day delivery service industry. It brings this suit against the Massachusetts Attorney General, Martha Coakley, asking that a section of the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Statute (“MICS”) be declared void and that the court permanently enjoin its enforcement against delivery service companies.

MDA argues that, in 1994, to prevent states from impermissibly restricting motor carriers engaged in interstate commerce, Congress employed broad preemption language in the FAAAA, which prohibits states from “enacting or enforcing a law . . . related to a price, route, or service” of any motor carrier. MDA alleges that, to comply with MICS, its members must change their national business model or risk penalties. National companies that utilize independent owner operators to deliver products in the other 49 states are unable to do so in Massachusetts. No other state has made the use of this business model unlawful. Complying with MICS, it says, would drive up costs, and adversely affect “prices, routes, and services.” Additionally, not only is MICS expressly pre-empted by FAAAA, but it also imposes an impermissible burden on interstate commerce.

The court originally found it was required to abstain from hearing the claim but was overruled by the First Circuit and the case was remanded. This video is of a hearing on MDA’s Motion for Summary Judgment and for Protective Order and the Attorney General’s Cross Motion for Summary Judgment. A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in a similar but unrelated case is also pending.

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Case-related documents, including those referenced above, are available via the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service. For more information, visit Pacer.gov.