Lawsuit Challenging DOL Rule Change Draws National Support: Amicus Briefs Filed in Support of the Liberty Justice Center and the Pelican Institute’s Fight for Independent Contractors

June 26, 2024

The Liberty Justice Center and the Pelican Institute’s battle to defend independent contractors has drawn national support following last week’s opening brief. Four groups have filed amicus briefs in support of the legal challenge, urging the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to strike down a January rule by the Department of Labor, which threatens millions of Americans’ livelihoods by reclassifying independent contractors as employees.

The Liberty Justice Center and the Pelican Institute filed a lawsuit challenging the new rule on behalf of the lead plaintiff, Frisard’s Transportation, L.L.C., on February 8. An amended complaint was filed in March after four additional organizations joined Frisard’s in the lawsuit as plaintiffs. Alongside three Louisiana-based trucking companies, the Louisiana Motor Transport Association—a non-profit group representing hundreds of companies in the trucking and transportation industries across the state—joined the lawsuit on behalf of its members.

On June 24, the Manhattan Institute, the Institute for the American Worker, and Americans for Fair Treatment jointly filed an amicus brief arguing that the 2024 rule is arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. The brief urges the Court to set aside the Department of Labor’s new rule and reinstate the 2021 rule it sought to replace.

The Buckeye Institute also filed an amicus brief asking the Court to strike down the new rule. The brief highlights the harm done to independent contractors by attempting to force them into the employment relationships they intentionally opted out of to pursue increased freedom, flexibility, and control over their work as independent contractors.

“By enacting this new rule, the Department of Labor is not just overstepping its authority—it’s also putting the independence, livelihoods, and dreams of millions of Americans in jeopardy,” said Buck Dougherty, Senior Counsel at the Liberty Justice Center. “We’re grateful to the organizations that have taken a stand with independent contractors by filing amicus briefs in support of our case and look forward to continuing to challenge this egregious example of executive overreach in court.”

The Liberty Justice Center and the Pelican Institute filed Frisard’s Transportation, L.L.C. v. United States Department of Labor in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on February 8, 2024. The legal filings in the case are available here.


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