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Ouadani v. TF Final Mile

876 F.3d 31 (2017)

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Ouadani v. TF Final Mile

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

876 F.3d 31 (2017)

Facts

Djamel Ouadani (plaintiff) applied to be a delivery driver for Dynamex Operations East, LLC (Dynamex), later known as TF Final Mile, LLC (defendant). When Ouadani interviewed with Dynamex, he was told pay rates, given a uniform shirt, and told to submit his shift availability and to take an identification-badge photo. Ouadani was told he would have to associate with one of three Dynamex-affiliated vendors. The term associate was never defined. Ouadani chose to associate with Selwyn and Birtha Shipping LLC (Selwyn). Ouadani was not classified as an employee by either Dynamex or Selwyn and did not have a written contract with either business. Unknown to Ouadani, Dynamex and Selwyn entered into a service agreement under which Selwyn provided delivery services brokered by Dynamex. The agreement included an arbitration clause stating that all disputes brought by the parties or by agents on the parties’ behalf would be settled through arbitration. The agreement further required all of Selywn’s subcontractors to submit written agreements complying with the agreement’s terms. Selwyn did not have Ouadani execute a written agreement. Ouadani eventually complained to Dynamex that he did not have the independence of a true contractor and that Dynamex needed to hire him as an employee if it intended to control his work. Dynamex then terminated Ouadani. Ouadani filed a class action in federal district court, alleging that Dynamex misclassified him and other workers as independent contractors in violation of federal law. Dynamex filed a motion to compel arbitration under its service agreement. The district court denied the motion. Dynamex appealed, claiming that Ouadani was bound by the arbitration clause under agency, equitable-estoppel, and third-party-beneficiary principles.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lynch, J.)

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