News & Events

William Applegate Presents on Landmark Amazon Lawsuit at AIEG’s Spring Seminar in Chicago

Posted: May 6, 2024

Last month, attorney William Applegate was invited to speak on Yarborough Applegate’s landmark distracted driving lawsuit against Amazon at the Attorney Information Exchange Group’s (AIEG) Spring Seminar in Chicago. 

Applegate’s presentation, Litigating the Independent Contractor Defense, was a timely topic for today’s gig economy world and given to a national audience of young and seasoned lawyers alike. He presented our firm’s approach to holding Amazon liable for the “last mile” delivery of its packages—the final step in transporting packages from a hub or fulfillment center to customer doorsteps, handled by 285,000 Amazon Delivery Associates (drivers) that Amazon calls independent contractors. It’s a key aspect of business the online retail and global logistics giant has attempted to contractually shield itself from in recent years. In fact, our case marked the first time Amazon tested with a jury the issue of whether it could be held responsible for injuries caused by one of its drivers.

Over two years of heavy litigation in our Amazon lawsuit, Applegate, alongside partner David Yarborough and attorney Alex Heaton, pressed relentlessly to uncover the reality: that Amazon’s drivers hardly function as independent contractors. Evidence demonstrated that Amazon clearly controls and directs nearly every aspect of the drivers and their delivery routes—despite their insistence to the contrary. Late last year, the trial team secured a groundbreaking $44.6 million jury verdict that held Amazon vicariously liable for the acts of the Delivery Service Partner and Delivery Associate. The verdict included $30 million in punitive damages against Amazon. 

While the dollar-value of this verdict is substantial, we’re especially proud of the broader legacy of this case. It stands to make a sweeping positive impact on national roadway safety in the gig economy era, especially concerning the size and scale of Amazon’s operation. Amazon’s Delivery Service Partner Program includes a network of more than 3,000 independently owned small businesses. These Delivery Service Partners employ more than 285,000 delivery drivers that help Amazon deliver more than 10 million packages per day. 

Our team is always eager to join an audience of peers to report on our successful strategies and trial-tested insights, and this year’s AIEG’s programming always proves the perfect forum. Through a range of high-quality seminars, AIEG strives to equip members with new knowledge and substantive detail to apply directly to their cases. 

Learn more about Yarborough Applegate’s lawsuit against Amazon on our blog. If you have an independent contractor case and are seeking a trial partner who is not afraid to take corporations all the way to trial, we encourage you to contact us to start a conversation. 

Disclaimer: Every case is unique, and prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

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