The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires courts to compel arbitration only of disputes subject to arbitration agreements within the scope of the Act. Section 1, though, specifically excludes “contracts of employment of seamen, railroad employees, or any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce” from the Act’s scope. In this case, three truckers sued their employer Domino’s Pizza, LLC, for violations of state labor law. The district court found that the truckers, who transport pizza ingredients that originated out of state on their last leg of the journey to Domino’s stores, are among a class of workers “engaged in foreign or interstate commerce” and, therefore, that the dispute falls within section 1’s exclusion of transportation-worker employment agreements. The Ninth Circuit affirmed. Domino’s then petitioned the Supreme Court for review.
Public Citizen serves as co-counsel for the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court. The brief in opposition to the petition explains that Domino’s suggestion that the decision in this case applies to local delivery people cannot be reconciled with the Ninth Circuit’s case law, which—like the case law of other circuits—expressly distinguishes between workers engaged in last-mile interstate delivery and workers engaged in local delivery. And although some cases find that section 1 exempts particular workers and some cases find that section 1 does not exempt other workers, these outcomes do not reflect different views of the law. Rather, they reflect that whether workers are engaged in interstate commerce—whether they are part of the continuous movement of goods from one state to their intended destination in another state—depends on the facts. Applying the same test, the courts have properly and consistently distinguished between last-leg delivery of goods from out of state, on the one hand, and local transportation, such as delivery of prepared meals or taxi-type services, on the other. The brief also explains that the consistent approach of the courts of appeals to these cases is also consistent with Supreme Court precedents.