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New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira
United States Supreme Court
139 S. Ct. 532, 202 L. Ed. 2d 536 (2019)
Dominic Oliveira (plaintiff) worked as a truck driver for New Prime Inc. (defendant). Oliveira, whose contract with New Prime classified him as an independent contractor, participated in a federal class action, alleging that New Prime underpaid its drivers and that it misclassified them as independent contractors instead of as employees. Oliveira’s contract with New Prime included an arbitration clause, which provided that any disputes between the parties arising from the contract, including disagreements concerning whether arbitration was required, would be arbitrated. New Prime requested that the district court use its authority under the Federal Arbitration Act (act) to compel arbitration of the issues raised in the class action. The district court declined to compel arbitration, citing an exception to the act for contracts of employment for workers engaged in interstate commerce. The court reasoned that Oliveira, as a truck driver, was a worker engaged in interstate commerce and that his contract with New Prime was a contract of employment, leaving the court with no authority under the act to compel arbitration. New Prime appealed, arguing that the phrase “contracts of employment” includes contracts between employers and employees but does not include contracts between employers and independent contractors. The court of appeals affirmed the judgment of the district court, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Gorsuch, J.)
Concurrence (Ginsburg, J.)
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