The Focal Point’s Role

This was the first case to address the issue of whether “gig-economy workers" should be classified as independent contractors or as W-2 employees. The lawsuit alleged that Grubhub violated the California Labor Code by misclassifying Raef Lawson as an independent contractor. Plaintiff sought reimbursement for denied employment benefits, including: underpaid wages, expenses, and other damages. Both sides recognized that the outcome of this case would have major implications for the future of on-demand start-ups and the gig economy. The Focal Point provided assistance with trial strategy, graphics, and technical support at trial. 

The Focal Points Client

gibson dunnTheodore J. Boutrous Jr. 
Michele L. Maryott
Dhananjay S. Manthripragada
Kevin Ring-Dowell
Shailey Jain


US District Court, Northern District of California, San Francisco Division


Grubhub successfully prevailed at trial. The judge found Mr. Lawson was an independent contractor while driving and delivering food for Grubhub and, therefore, not entitled to additional employment benefits.