I like long songs. For the last several weeks, I have been starting my workday with the Pink Floyd album Atom Heart Mother on my headphones. The opening track is 23 minutes, and the album ends with “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast,” a 13-minute journey that includes lines like “um, flakes” and “marmalade, I like marmalade.”
Long litigation, on the other hand – I’m not a fan. When I was an associate, I worked on a healthcare fraud case that lasted about 8 years. Not fun.
The legal team at Sleepy’s LLC probably doesn’t like long litigation either. Hargrove v. Sleepy’s LLC is an independent contractor misclassification case that was filed in 2010. The case has been to the Third Circuit twice already and went to the New Jersey Supreme Court on the certified question of what test should be used to determine employee status under New Jersey wage and hour law. I wrote about that 2015 ruling here in a post that also takes an admiring look at one menu option at an ice cream parlor in Dania Beach, Florida. (Partial spoiler: ABC Test. But you’ll have to read the post to see about the menu option.)
This case is back in the news after a new set of rulings.
After 12 years, the court issued a decision last week to grant class certification and to deny the defendant’s motions to dismiss. These are issues that are typically resolved in the first several months of a case.
The point here is to show you how long and complicated an independent contractor misclassification case can become. This is not straightforward litigation, and there are so many legal issues that can dominate the underlying dispute — questions, for example, about class certification, class size, jurisdiction, standing, and which legal test to use for deciding whether misclassification exists.
This case is a good reminder of the importance of getting your independent contractor arrangements reviewed and your contracts revised. Preventive steps taken now can help avoid lengthy litigation later. Lengthy litigation is no fun for anyone.
But I do like long songs, and if you pay close attention, you can appreciate the careful and elaborate construction of a track. Put on your headphones if you want to catch every subtle sound.
And marmalade. I like marmalade.
© 2022 Todd Lebowitz, posted on WhoIsMyEmployee.com, Exploring Issues of Independent Contractor Misclassification and Joint Employment. All rights reserved.