California Supreme Court Rings In The New Year With A Blast To Employers’ Past

In a landmark decision issued on January 14, 2021, entitled Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising Int’l Inc. (2021) (“Vazquez”), the California Supreme Court held that the State’s ABC test applies retroactively to cases that were pending at the time of its decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (2018) 4 Cal.5th 903 (“Dynamex”).  Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising Int’l Inc. (2021) 2021 Westlaw 127201.   The Vazquez Court was asked by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to answer the question of whether Dynamex applies retroactively.  In concluding that it does, the Court noted that Dynamex does not impact any settled law, the general rule that judicial decisions are given retroactive effect, and that public policy and fairness concerns favor applying Dynamex retroactively.  Vazquez, however, comes as a significant blow to businesses by making them potentially liable for lawsuits pending long before the ABC test existed.



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