Appellate Court Reverses Favorable Summary Judgment Ruling Regarding Independent Contractor Status


In Azrate v. Bridge Terminal Transport, Inc., decided on January 31, 2011, the Court of Appeal considered whether the defendant company established, as a matter of law, that plaintiff truck drivers were independent contractors and therefore not entitled to unpaid wages under the Labor Code. The appellate court reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the company because it found that a trier of fact could reasonably conclude that the drivers were employees.

The defendant, Bridge Terminal Transport, Inc. (“Bridge Terminal”), was in the business of arranging transportation for cargo between ports and its customers’ facilities. The plaintiffs were members of the Teamsters Union who owned their own trucks – which they “leased” to Bridge Terminal – and were paid to transport cargo.

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