FedEx is one of the largest commercial transportation companies. The company was formerly called Federal Express Corporation. The name was changed to FDX Corporation before becoming FedEx. The headquarters is based in Memphis, Tennessee, but it delivers packages ranging from letter-sized documents to freight packages. The company operates internationally and has a strong track record of making express deliveries with competitive delivery times and rates for its services. Although many people throughout the world depend on its services, FedEx has had its share of legal problems. The transport giant has been named in numerous lawsuits throughout the years. Some were from driver negligence and others to illegal actions committed by employees of the corporation. Here are the ten biggest FedEx lawsuits in the history of the company.
10. FedEx sued for wrongful death from a vehicle accident Settlement amount: $5,425,000
Miller and Zois confirmed that a lawsuit was filed against FedEx for a 2016 accident that resulted in the death of a FedEx driver. A 48-year-old male was co-driving a FedEx truck when he fell asleep while driving. He rear-ended a tractor-trailer, ejecting the passenger from the FedEx truck, killing him. The members of the family filed a wrongful death suit against Federal Express for the damages caused by the accident. The courts held FedEx liable for the damages awarding the plaintiff $5,425 for damages in the lawsuit.
9. FedEx named in lawsuit over the death of a bicyclist Settlement amount: $7.5 million
A FedEx delivery truck driver struck a 22-year-old woman while she was riding her bicycle. The accident killed her. The girl’s mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit against FedEx for its role in the death of her daughter. The event happened in 2014. Although FedEx admitted responsibility in the matter, the court went to a jury trial to assess the damages and arrive at a settlement amount. The jury determined that the mother was due $2.5 million for the pain she endured because of the loss of her child. They further awarded an additional $5 million for the future emotional suffering that resulted from the tragic incident. The total award was $7.5 million for the mother of the victim of the accident.
8. Leighter et al v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. Settlement amount: $15,450,000
FedEx workers in the state of Oregon filed a lawsuit against FedEx, accusing them of misclassifying drivers as private contractors. This is yet one more of many lawsuits in the category that resulted in wage and hour violations. The drivers met the legal definition of employees in the state of Oregon, but FedEx denied them the proper classification and the benefits that go with full-time employees through misclassification. The lawsuit was settled on October 21, 2016, holding FedEx liable for the accusations that caused its workers financial damages. A federal judge in the District of Oregon judicial system ordered FedEx to compensate the workers for $15.45 million to be distributed to the workers following the time spent under the defective miscalculations and deceptive employment practices. This was one of many wage and violation lawsuits filed against FedEx for the same accusations. FedEx made a habit of withholding benefits from its drivers through the classification practices that violated most federal and state employment laws. This was one of the smaller settlements for the misclassification of workers.
7. FedEx penalized for financial offenses Penalty amount: $35.3 million
FedEx was accused of committing illegal acts that resulted in financial offenses. Investigators representing the New York Attorney General discovered evidence that FedEx engaged in practices that resulted in a primary offense of tax violations with a second offense of excise tax violations. The company knowingly engaged in activities that meet the legal definition of cigarette trafficking. FedEx partnered with other businesses committing trafficking offenses by illegally shipping hundreds of thousands of untaxed cigarettes to buyers in the state of New York. Three lawsuits were combined into this single litigation. FedEx was ordered to pay a penalty of $35.3 million to settle all three of the trafficking-related lawsuits. The case was settled on January 14, 2019. The case revealed that the company knowingly engaged in illegal activities and it has damaged the reputation of FedEx. There were no prosecutions of the staff involved in the activities which could have resulted in prison sentences for those involved in committing the illegal acts. FedEx was required to pay its share of the taxes owed on the contraband they shipped to New Yorkers. FedEx had committed the crimes over ten years.
6. FedEx sued for racial discrimination Settlement amount: $53.5 million
In 2007, a lawsuit was filed against FedExin a federal court in the Northern District of California alleging the company committed acts of racial discrimination against a group of workers. The case was listed under Satchell et al v. FedEx Express. The class-action lawsuit was filed in September of 2003. After a long and drawn-out battle, the court ruled that FedEx engaged in discriminatory practices toward African American and Latino employees. The claims cited examples of promotions, compensation, and disciplinary practices that showed discriminatory behavior towards non-white workers. The case was filed in Alameida Country Court and moved at the request of FedEx to the Northern District Court of California where it was determined that the company was liable for the damages caused to the workers. The FedEx bid to change the court venue did not prevent the courts from finding them responsible for illegal activities. The plaintiffs were awarded $52.5 million in compensation. The funds were distributed among the members of the class-action lawsuit under the damages each received relating to the duration of employment with the companies and other relevant factors.
5. FedEx and two other trucking companies were sued in the 2015 New Mexico lawsuit Settlement amount: $163,933,000
A FedEx driver was operating a FedEx truck while under the influence of medications for sleeping issues. The crash occurred in the late-night hours. A FedEx driver was operating the vehicle when he struck a pickup truck killing its occupant. A family member of the victim of the accident sued FedEx and two companies that paid the truck driver for delivery, pointing out that there were no training options for safely operating a truck in the late hours of the evening. The jury held FedEx 65 percent responsible for the death while the two other trucking companies shared ten percent of the liability. FedEx and the other drivers had to split up the penalties for the 2015 accident for nearly $164 hundred million. The court named FedEx 65 percent liable for the damages with the other trucking companies held responsible for ten percent each of the damages with the decedent held 10 percent liable for comparative negligence. This was yet another FedEx accident that happened in the State of New Mexico. It suggests that there is a problem with the training of drivers in that part of the country.
4. FedEx sued in the 2011 Las Cruces crash Settlement amount: $165 million
The Las Cruces Sun reports that FedEx was sued by the families of an automobile accident that claimed the life of three people and severely injured a baby. The crash occurred in 2011. A contracted FedEx big rig truck hit a GMC passenger truck that was either slow-moving or parked on Interstate 10 not far from Las Cruces, New Mexico. The collision killed a 22-year-old mother and her 4-year-old daughter. Her infant son was severely injured. He was just one year old at the time of the accident. The FedEx truck driver also died in the crash. The husband of the woman killed filed a wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit. The legal action claimed pain and suffering for the deaths of his wife and child. The suit also claimed damages for the severe injury to his son. A judge ordered FedEx to pay $165 million in damages for the tragedy. They appealed the court’s decision at the New Mexico State Appeals Court. FedEx didn’t receive the response they hoped to hear. The judge reaffirmed the judgment. The judge ordered the FedEx Corporation to pay after losing its bid for appeal.
3. FedEx sued for wage and hour violations Settlement amount: $204 million
FedEx became the defendant in a class-action lawsuit for wage and hour violations. The legal action was filed in 2016, claiming that FedEx misclassified workers, depriving them of the benefits mandated for workers in this class. This civil suit is one of many lawsuits filed against the company by its drivers, who claim they were misclassified as private contractors when the jobs they performed met the criteria of employees of the company. The workers sued FedEx for financial damages in a private litigation action in federal court in the Northern District of Indiana. It was a civil court case. The name of this case is MDL-1700 FedEx Ground Package System Inc Employment Practices Litigation No II. A judge awarded the plaintiffs the amount of $204 million. The settlement proceeds got distributed among all members of the class-action lawsuit. The award made reparation for financial damages they incurred from FedEx’s misclassification and failure to pay them all they were legally entitled to receive.
2. FedEx Settles Independent Contractor Mislabeling Lawsuit Settlement amount: $228 million
FedEx became the defendant in a class-action lawsuit that accused the company of mislabeling its ground drivers as independent contractors when FedEx should have classified them as employees. Attorneys filed a lawsuit on behalf of the 2,300 FedEx Ground drivers affected by the misclassifications. They received compensation from FedEx but not as employees. They received pay as independent contractors. The misclassification caused financial damages to the workers. They sued for compensation. Claims filed as far back as 200 and as recently as 2007 substantiated the fact that there was a problem with the FedEx classifications system. Those affected by the misclassification were drivers for FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery pickup and delivery drivers. A Ninth Circuit Court ruled that FedEx had misclassified drivers by calling them independent contractors and paying them as such in 2014. The ruling included damages from withholding fringe benefits including worker’s compensation, health care, pension, and state tax withholding services not afforded to independent contractors. FedEx dodged paying their part of those fees and others by the mislabeling. Drivers were also denied pay for rest periods, missed meals, and overtime. The lawsuit dragged on for several years until FedEx finally agreed to a $228 million settlement to resolve the matter.
1. FedEx named in driver lawsuit over 20 states Settlement amount: $240 million
FedEx was named as the defendant in a class-action lawsuit claiming that the company misclassified them as independent contractors. This is one of many lawsuits for illegal labor practices. The previous case involved 2,300 drivers. This lawsuit involved 12,000 drivers across 20 states. The suit was initiated by FedEx Ground Package System Inc drivers, claiming that the company denied the workers the proper classification that would have mandated FedEx to provide benefits such as health care, pensions, and other benefits that employees receive. FedEx misclassified the workers to save money on associated fees. They wanted to get out of providing benefits to the workers, along with overtime and paid time for breaks and meals. The drivers claimed that FedEx owed them the benefits mandated under state and federal laws because their jobs fit the definition of that classification of workers. It follows a lawsuit filed in 2005. FedEx has since stopped contracting independent workers and instead contracts with other companies that employ drivers. A federal judge approved a lawsuit settlement of $226 million for similar charges the year before. The number of companies engaging in illegal practices that affect workers has risen in the past few years. Courts are holding them accountable for their actions when lawsuits arise. This legal action is the largest lawsuit in FedEx history as of May 2022.