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Freight companies seek to have lawsuit moved to federal court

By Hoang Tran | Nov 13, 2015

CAMDEN, N.J. (Legal Newsline) – National Freight Inc. and Interactive Logistics Inc. want a case over wage dispute to be heard in a federal court.

John F. Portillo, Rafael Suarez, Martin Duran, Gennan Bencosme, Edin Vargas, Luis A. Hernandez, Josue Paz and Alavaro Castaneda, originally filed this class action lawsuit on June 22 in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County claiming the defendants misclassified their title. On Nov. 5, the defendants sought to have this case be moved to federal court.

The plaintiffs alleged that NFI misclassified them as independent contractors in connection with their deliveries to Trader Joe's stores in Massachusetts. They also

assert a claim for unjust enrichment under Massachusetts common law, based on the allegation that as independent contractors, plaintiffs were "subject to deductions for the costs of worker's compensation insurance, liability insurance and fuel among others," the complaint states.

The plaintiffs further contend that, as independent contractors, the defendants have deprived them "of the fair value of the services" and that they are therefore entitled to recover in quantum meruit under Massachusetts common law. However, the plaintiffs assert that they are not independent contractors and are, in fact, employees of defendants.

They are seeking a jury by trial, various damages including damages from deduction from wages, prejudgment interest, litigation costs, and any rewards deemed just by the courts.

The defendants seek to move the case to be moved to federal courts claiming that the proposed class members are in excess of 100, the plaintiffs are citizens of a different state than defendants, and the relief exceeds $5 million.

The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Alexandra L. Koropey, Shanon J. Carson, Sarah Schalman-Bergen from Berger & Montague P.C., in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Harold Lichten and Thomas Fowler from Litchten & Liss-Riordan, P.C. in Boston, Massachusetts, and James W. Simpson Jr. from the Law Office Of James W. Simpson Jr. P.C., in Framingham, Massachusetts.

The defendants are represented by Robert H. Bernstein of Greenberg Traurig, LLP in Florham Park, New Jersey.

U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey case number 1:15-cv-07908-JBS-KMW

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