On April 30, 2008, the Court of Appeal (Second Appellate District, Division 3), relying solely on S. G. Borello & Sons, Inc. v. Department of Industrial Relations (1989) 48 Cal.3d 341 [256 Cal.Rptr. 543], applied the Borello employment factors test to newspaper carriers delivering the Antelope Valley Press, concluding that paper deliverypersons were employees. (See this blog's May 12, 2008 post on Antelope Valley Press.) Apparently Antelope Valley Press wasn't thrilled by that decision and filed a Petition for Rehearing. As is usually the case, the Court of Appeal wasn't thrilled with receiving a Brief indicating that it had done a poor job analyzing the situation, because it added a small footnote to its original decision:
“We reject AVP’s contention that the court’s analysis in JKH Enterprises is flawed. AVP asserts that JKH Enterprises did not “consider fully” the decision in Interstate Brands v. Unemployment Ins. Appeals Bd., supra, 26 Cal.3d 770, 773, 775, where the Supreme Court had affirmed the trial court’s determination that certain of the employees of Interstate Brands were not entitled to unemployment insurance benefits, and held that it was proper for the trial court to apply the independent judgment test in reviewing the evidence produced at an administrative hearing because the case affected a fundamental vested right of the employer. We note that the Supreme Court denied review in JKH Enterprises. We also note that the Interstate Brands court did not address the question whether the subject workers were employees or independent contractors. Their employee status was admitted by Interstate Brands. However, Borello did address that issue, and there the Supreme Court simply stated that “[t]he determination of employee or independent-contractor status is one of fact if dependent upon the resolution of disputed evidence or inferences, and the [administrative agency’s] decision [on that status issue] must be upheld if substantially supported.” (Borello, supra, 48 Cal.3d at p. 349, italics added.) The Borello court did not state whether the question of worker status involves or affects a fundamental vested right. As noted in footnote 13, post, the evidence in this case is disputed. Therefore, in deciding this appeal in favor of upholding the Commissioner’s decision that the carriers are employees and not independent contractors for purposes of workers’ compensation insurance, we did so by addressing the question whether that decision is substantially supported by the evidence in the administrative record.
(May 30, 2008 Order Modifying Opinion.) The Court finished by denying the Petition for Rehearing. You didn't see that one coming, did you?
I know that the Petition for Rehearing is often filed just to establish that every effort for review has been exhausted prior to filing a Petition for Review with the California Supreme Court. In other words, the denial is presumed and the rehearing request is mechanical. But if you file a Petition for Rehearing with the idea that it will actually help your client, think again. Compared to Petitions for Writs, which are rarely granted, the odds on winning California's lottery must be better than getting a Rehearing Petition granted.