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Massachusetts Delivery Ass'n v. Coakley

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

July 8, 2015

MASSACHUSETTS DELIVERY ASSOCIATION, Plaintiff,
v.
MARTHA COAKLEY, IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE COMMONWEALTH, Defendant

Page 87

For Massachusetts Delivery Association, Plaintiff: Carie A. Torrence, David C. Casey, Stephen T. Melnick, III, Vanessa K. Hackett, Littler Mendelson P.C., Boston, MA; Christopher B Kaczmarek, Littler Mendelson, Boston, MA; Walter C. Hunter, Littler Mendelson, P.C., Providence, RI.

For Martha Coakley, in her official capacity as Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Defendant: Karla E. Zarbo, LEAD ATTORNEY, Office of the Attorney General Martha Coakley, Boston, MA; Anne Marie Thomas, Office of the Attorney General, Boston, MA; Douglas S. Martland, Pierce O. Cray, Attorney General's Office, Boston, MA.

For Stephen Reynolds, Alberg Oliveira, Ezequiel Antonio Garcia, Francis Arrigo, John Garand, Intervenors: Harold L. Lichten, Shannon E. Liss-Riordan, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Lichten & Liss-Riordan, P.C., Boston, MA.

Page 88

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Denise J. Casper, United States District Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Massachusetts Delivery Association (" MDA" ) has filed this lawsuit against Defendant Martha Coakley,[1] in her official capacity as Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (the " Attorney General" ), seeking a declaration that the " B prong" of the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law, Mass. Gen. L. c. 149, § 148B(a)(2), is preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Act of 1994 (" FAAAA" ), 49 U.S.C. § 14501, and for an injunction barring the Attorney General from enforcing Section 148B against MDA's members. D. 22. Both MDA and the Attorney General have moved for summary judgment. D. 156 (MDA's renewed motion for summary judgment); D. 174 (renewing the Attorney General's prior cross motion, D. 82). For the reasons stated below, the Court ALLOWS MDA's motion and DENIES the Attorney General's motion.

II. Standard of Review

The Court grants summary judgment where there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the undisputed facts demonstrate that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). " A fact is material if it carries with it the potential to affect the outcome of the suit under applicable law." Santiago--Ramos v. Centennial P.R. Wireless Corp., 217 F.3d 46, 52 (1st Cir. 2000) (quoting Sanchez v. Alvarado, 101 F.3d 223, 227 (1st Cir. 1996)). The movant bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Carmona v. Toledo, 215 F.3d 124, 132 (1st Cir. 2000); see Celotex v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). If the movant meets its burden, the non-moving party may not rest on the allegations or denials in her pleadings, Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986), but " must, with respect to each issue on which she would bear the burden of proof at trial, demonstrate that a trier of fact could reasonably resolve that issue in her favor." Borges ex rel. S.M.B.W. v. Serrano--Isern, 605 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 2010). " As a general rule, that requires the production of evidence that is 'significant[ly] probative.'" Id. (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249) (alteration in original). The Court " view[s] the record in the light most favorable to the nonmovant, drawing reasonable inferences in his favor." Noonan v. Staples, Inc., 556 F.3d 20, 25 (1st Cir. 2009).

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III. Factual Background

This factual summary recounts the undisputed material facts. MDA is a trade organization representing entities engaged in the business of same-day delivery service. D. 73 ¶ 1 (MDA's statement of undisputed material facts); D. 175 at 1 (Defendant's response to plaintiff's statement of undisputed material facts). Most MDA members hire independent contractors to provide delivery services. Id. One such MDA member, offered by MDA as an exemplar for the purpose of this suit, is X Pressman Trucking & Courier, Inc. (" Xpressman" ). D. 73 ¶ 2; D. 175 at 2. Xpressman provides both " scheduled route" and " on-demand" delivery services through independent contractors who utilize their own cars or trucks. D. 73 ¶ ¶ 3-4; D. 175 at 2. Scheduled route service requires package pick-up and delivery at scheduled times and locations. D. 73 ¶ 5; D. 175 at 2. Xpressman has approximately 100 scheduled routes operated by 46 couriers. D. 73 ¶ 6; D. 175 at 3. On-demand service, on the other hand, is variable. D. 73 ¶ 7; D. 175 at 3. Xpressman fields requests from its clients for unscheduled, rush deliveries. Id. Couriers who provide on-demand service contact Xpressman each day to indicate their availability. D. 73 ¶ 8; D. 175 at 3. Xpressman then matches its clients' requests with the couriers' stated availability. Id. Xpressman contracts with twelve on-demand couriers, but only seven make twenty on-demand deliveries on an average day. D. 73 ¶ 9; D. 175 at 3.

As of October 2012, Xpressman employed six full-time and two part-time employees who performed administrative and warehouse duties. D. 73 ¶ 10; D. 175 at 4. They were paid a salary or hourly wage and received health insurance and 401(k) plan benefits (including a four percent contribution match by Xpressman). D. 73 ¶ 11; D. 175 at 4. For these employees, Xpressman also provided workers' compensation insurance, paid payroll taxes and contributed to unemployment insurance. Id. By contrast, Xpressman's independent contractor couriers are paid by route and do not receive benefits such as health insurance or 401(k) benefits. D. 73 ¶ 13; D. 175 at 5. Xpressman also does not provide workers' compensation, pay payroll taxes or contribute to unemployment insurance for its independent contractors. Id.

IV. Procedural History

MDA instituted this action on September 7, 2010. D. 1. The Court allowed the Attorney General's motion to dismiss on the basis of abstention pursuant to Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 91 S.Ct. 746, 27 L.Ed.2d 669 (1971). D. 9, 37. The First Circuit reversed and remanded. Mass. Delivery Ass'n v. Coakley, 671 F.3d 33 (1st Cir. 2012) (" MDA I" ). MDA then moved for summary judgment and the Attorney General cross-moved for summary judgment. D. 67, 82. The Court denied MDA's motion and allowed the Attorney General's motion in part, holding that the FAAAA did not preempt Section 148B. D. 123. Upon appeal, the First Circuit reversed, holding that Section 148B " clearly concerns a motor carrier's 'transportation of property'" and directing the Court to " determine . . . whether Section 148B satisfies the broad preemption test based on a review of the full record." Mass. Delivery Ass'n v. Coakley, 769 F.3d 11, 23 (1st Cir. 2014) (" MDA II" ). In doing so, the First Circuit " express[ed] no view on the sufficiency of the evidence before the district court." Id. at 22.

MDA now renews its motion for summary judgment, D. 156, and the Attorney General renews her cross-motion for summary judgment, D. 174. The Court heard the parties on the pending motions and

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took these matters under ...


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