Calif. court reinstate's driver's lawsuit against DeSoto Cab

By Olivia Olsen | Oct 31, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) -- The Court of Appeal of the State of California First Appellate District has reversed a ruling in a wage-and-hour suit brought against DeSoto Cab Co.

A previous decision favored DeSoto, the defendant in the lawsuit over contract labor.

Citing a misinterpretation of the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court case, S.G. Borello & Sons Inc. v. Department of Industrial Relations, the court vacated the trial court decision but would not decide whether he was an employee or contractor for DeSoto. 

"(I)t is reasonably probable that plaintiff would have received a more favorable ruling had the trial court properly allocated the burden of proof and undertaken a reasoned analysis of the secondary Borello factors," the court ruled.

Darnice Linton drove one of DeSoto’s 230 taxicabs between 2008-2012, during which time he was required to pay a daily gate fee to lease one of DeSoto’s vehicles for $100. 

The company scheduled Linton’s shifts and provided guidelines for operation. The plaintiff received one warning after getting into an accident during his shift and was subsequently fired when a woman accused him of using her credit card information. 

Linton filed a claim with the state’s Labor Department insisting that he had been misclassified as an independent contractor rather than an employee despite signing papers saying as much upon being hired. 

In June 2014, the labor board sided with Linton, and DeSoto was ordered to reimburse Linton for his gate fees in an amount of more than $50,000. The defendants appealed using the Borello case.

In the 1989 suit, it was determined that Yellow Cab was not a controlling party in regard to Workers' Compensation and insurance. As the matter in the DeSoto case involved wage claims, the defendants maintained that the cases were not similar in nature. 

DeSoto Cab Co. is represented by Shannon Seibert and Joe Bautista of Siebert & Bautista, while M. Colleen Ryan of the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement represents Linton. 

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