Schwann v. FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc., No. 15-1214 (1st Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, individuals who contracted with FedEx to provide pick-up and delivery services, filed a complaint claiming that FedEx should have treated and paid them as employees rather than as independent contractors because FedEx could not satisfy all three requirements under the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Statute (Massachusetts Statute). Plaintiffs sought damages for loss of wages, improper wage deductions, and loss of benefits. The district court ultimately granted FedEx summary judgment on all counts, concluding (1) application of one of the requirements of the Massachusetts Statute is preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA), and this preempted requirement is not severable from the two remaining requirements; and (2) the remaining two requirements are preempted. The First Circuit reversed, holding (1) the express preemption provision of the FAAAA preempts the application of one of the Massachusetts Statute’s requirements to FedEx, but the preempted requirement is severable from the two remaining requirements; and (2) the district court erred by concluding, sua sponte, that application of the remaining two requirements was also preempted by the FAAAA.