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August 24, 2010 4:30 PM, EDT

FedEx Wins Court Ruling in Employee Classification Case

FedEx Corp.

A federal judge in Indiana ruled that drivers at FedEx Corp.’s ground delivery unit in Kansas are contractors and not employees, handing the package company a victory in its ongoing litigation with drivers from across the country about employees’ classification.

In a separate ruling handed down by Judge Robert Miller in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, drivers in nearly a dozen other states that are also suing had their cases remanded back to state courts for further consideration.

“Upon review of the evidence in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs, the only reasonable inference is that FedEx hasn’t retained the right to direct the manner in which drivers perform their work,” Miller said in his ruling.

Patrick Fitzgerald, spokesman for FedEx Ground, told Transport Topics the Memphis, Tenn., company viewed Miller’s ruling “as a significant decision.”

Lynn Faris, lead counsel for the drivers, said they were “surprised and dismayed by this opinion.”

FedEx is ranked No. 2 on the Transport Topics 100 listing of U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.