Driver Did Not Need To Cross State Lines To Engage In Interstate Commerce.
The Federal Arbitration Act contains a statutory exemption for “contracts of employment of seamen, railroad employees, or any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce.” 9 U.S.C. section 1 (italics added). Thus, a truck driver engaged in interstate commerce is exempted from arbitration under the FAA.
The issue in Nieto v. Fresno Beverage Company, Inc., F074704 (5th Dist. 3/22/19) (Detjen, Franson, Desantos) was whether a truck driver who did not cross state lines “engaged in interstate commerce.” Here, the facts were that the driver traveled in California, while delivering beverages that arrived from out-of-state. Under those facts, the flow of the goods was in interstate commerce, and plaintiff Nieto’s deliveries “although intrastate, were essentially the last phase of a continuous journey of the interstate commerce . . .” Hence, the trial court concluded that Nieto was engaged in interstate commerce, was not required to arbitrate under the FAA, and could proceed in court with wage and hour claims brought under California law. The Court of Appeal affirmed.
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