DJAMEL OUADANI, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff, Appellee,
TF FINAL MILE LLC, f/k/a Dynamex Operations East, LLC, Defendant, Appellant.
FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
MASSACHUSETTS [Hon. Patti B. Saris, U.S. District
M. Saunders, with whom Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak &
Stewart, P.C. was on brief, for appellant.
Stephen Churchill, with whom Hillary Schwab, Brant Casavant,
and Fair Work, P.C. were on brief, for appellee.
Lynch and Selya, Circuit Judges, and Levy, District Judge.
Ouadani worked as a delivery driver from March to August
2016, delivering products for Dynamex Operations East, LLC
("Dynamex"), now known as TF Final Mile LLC. As a
condition of his employment, Ouadani was required to
associate with a vendor affiliated with Dynamex, named Selwyn
and Birtha Shipping LLC ("SBS"). Ouadani received
his compensation from SBS, which had a written contract with
Dynamex. Ouadani did not have a written contract either with
Dynamex or with SBS.
August 2016, Ouadani complained to Dynamex that he lacked the
independence of a contractor, and that he should be paid as
an employee if Dynamex continued to exert the same degree of
control over his work. He was terminated shortly after he
his termination, Ouadani brought various wage-and-hour claims
against Dynamex in federal district court, styling his action
as a putative class action on his behalf and on behalf of
others similarly situated. Dynamex responded by filing a
motion to compel arbitration, pointing to an agreement
between Dynamex and SBS that contained a mandatory
district court denied Dynamex's motion, reasoning that
Ouadani had never signed the agreement containing the
arbitration clause and had no idea that the agreement even
existed. Ouadani v. Dynamex Operations E., LLC, No.
16-12036, 2017 WL 1948522, at *3-5 (D. Mass. May 10, 2017).
On appeal, Dynamex argues that Ouadani should nonetheless be
compelled to arbitrate under federal common law principles of
contract and agency. Because these arguments are without
merit, we affirm.
early 2016, Ouadani applied to Dynamex for a job as a
delivery driver, transporting products ordered through Google
Express. After contacting Dynamex, Ouadani was invited to a
meeting at the Dynamex offices in Wilmington, Massachusetts.
At the meeting, Dynamex employees interviewed Ouadani and
asked him to complete a number of forms, including one
indicating his available days and hours. Dynamex also gave
Ouadani a Dynamex shirt, albeit one that he had to pay for;
took his photograph for a Dynamex identification badge; told
him that he needed to pass a drug test; and provided him with
information about the services the company provided for
Google Express. Dynamex told Ouadani that he would be paid
eighteen dollars per hour, or seventy-two dollars for a
the meeting at the Dynamex offices in Wilmington, Dynamex
also gave Ouadani the names and telephone numbers of three
Dynamex-affiliated vendors and told Ouadani that he would
have to "associate" with one of them. For aught
that appears, the term "associate" was never
defined. Ouadani decided to associate with SBS. SBS was owned
and managed by another Dynamex delivery driver, Edward Alwis,
whom Ouadani had never met. Neither SBS nor Dynamex
classified Ouadani as an employee.
to Ouadani, Dynamex and SBS had entered into an
"Independent Contractor Agreement for Transportation
Services" (the "Agreement") in January 2016,
pursuant to which SBS agreed to perform delivery services
"brokered or subcontracted by Dynamex" (the
"Contracted Services"). SBS was permitted to hire
employees or subcontractors to perform some or all of the
Contracted Services. The Agreement included the following
In the event of a dispute between the parties, the parties
agree to resolve the dispute as described in this Section
(hereafter "the Arbitration Provision"). This
Arbitration Provision is governed by the Federal Arbitration
Act, 9 U.S.C. § 1, et seq., and applies to any
dispute brought by either [SBS] or Dynamex arising out of or
related to this Agreement, [SBS's] relationship with
Dynamex (including termination of the relationship), or the
service arrangement contemplated by this Agreement, including
cargo claims and payment disputes, but excluding all claims
that may be adjudicated in small claims court. The provisions
of this Arbitration Provision shall remain in force after the
parties' contractual relationship ends. BY AGREEING TO