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3 New Jersey Matters to Watch in 2023


As a new year of litigation dawns in New Jersey, state and federal courts have teed up for them a high-profile criminal trial, tax breaks for the gambling industry and a potential out for Uber drivers trying to keep their misclassification suit alive.


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According to Gus Sandstrom of Blank Rome LLP, the driver classification cases have hit on some tension among interstate commerce jurisprudence.

While the federal courts have defined interstate commerce in broad terms in cases under the commerce clause of the Constitution, Sandstrom said the same courts have "generally taken a narrow view of the scope of the FAA's interstate commerce exception" when it comes to classifying ride-hailing drivers.

He said ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft have long used arbitration agreements as a "bulwark" against such misclassification suits, enabling them to avoid both costly court proceedings and potential precedential decisions. Those types of cases have become "less appealing" to the plaintiffs bar as a result, according to Sandstrom.

"If the Third Circuit — or another court — were to hold that the interstate commerce exception applied, there would be the potential for a flood of new litigation, as the ride-share companies' procedural defenses are likely more tenuous under at least certain states' arbitration laws," he said.

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"3 New Jersey Matters to Watch in 2023," by Hayley Fowler was published in Law360 on January 2, 2023.