Monthly Archives: July 2015

BOOTH LLP ADDS A NEW PARTNER – JOSHUA N. LEVINE

Booth LLP is pleased to announce that Joshua N. Levine has joined Booth LLP as a partner.  Josh brings extensive experience in all stages of the litigation process, including jury and court trials, arbitrations, mediations, and appeals.  Josh has represented businesses in a wide variety of complex cases, including claims involving breach of contract, product liability, personal injury, construction, unfair competition, environmental contamination, and business torts.  Over his career, he has represented manufacturing companies in contract, toxic tort, CERCLA, and unfair competition claims; service companies in trade secret, employment, professional malpractice, and Cartwright Act claims; technology companies in business interference and contractual claims; real estate brokerages in commission disputes and negligence claims; property owners in environmental claims and CEQA disputes; consulting companies in misrepresentation and unfair competition claims; “start-up” companies in licensing issues and partnership disputes; and import/export companies in breach of contract and product liability claims.

Josh graduated from Cornell University with Honors, obtaining a BS degree in Public Affairs Management in 1991.  He then graduated from the University of California School of Law, Los in Angeles, obtaining his JD degree in 1994.  While in law school, Josh was a Board Member of the school’s Moot Court Honors Program.  Josh has received a Commendation from the City of Lancaster in 2013 for “demonstrated excellence in trial advocacy” and he received an “Award of Meritorious Service” from the CAOC in 2006.  Josh has been named as a Southern California Rising Star multiple times by Los Angeles Magazine.  Josh has been rated as “Excellent” by AVVO since 2014.  Josh is licensed to practice law in both California and Arizona.  We are excited to have Josh join our firm, and we look forward to working with him and providing his enviable skill and experience to our clients.

MASS. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE INVOKES FEDERAL PREEMPTION OVER STATE LAW

On July 8, 2015, Massachusetts District Court Judge Denise Casper held that the FAAAA (Federal Aviation and Administration Authorization Act of 1994) pre-empts a Massachusetts state law limiting classification of independent contractors to those whose work differs from the company’s usual line of business.  The Court granted summary judgement to the Massachusetts Delivery Association in a case challenging Massachusetts’ “ABC” law. The “ABC” law provides conditions for the classification of workers as independent contractors.  By granting summary judgment, Judge Casper found that the “ABC” law was preempted because it relates to rates, routes, or services of motor carriers.  Interestingly, Judge Casper had previously ruled in the opposite direction, but upon appeal to the First Circuit Court of Appeals, that decision was overruled and sent back to the District Court.  Judge Casper’s new opinion focused mostly on Prong B of the “ABC” law, which states that a worker is properly classified as an independent contractor if “the service is performed outside the usual course of the business of the employer.” In an opinion that examined several outcomes of a carrier’s adherence to Prong B, Judge Casper’s opinion can essentially be boiled down to this: The “ABC” law as it stands would force many trucking companies operating in Massachusetts to reclassify independent contractors as employees. That reclassification would alter those companies’ prices, routes, and services.  Thus, the FAAAA preempts the state law, effectively nullifying it when pertaining to trucking operations in the state of Massachusetts.