William Fletcher

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William Fletcher
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Court Information:
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Title:   Judge
Station:   San Francisco, CA
Appointed by:   Pres. Bill Clinton
Active:   10/9/1998-Present
Preceded by:   William Albert Norris
Past post:   Professor of law, Cal-Berkeley Law
Past term:   1977-1998
Personal History
Born:   1945
Hometown:   Philadelphia, PA
Undergraduate:   Harvard University, 1968
Law School:   Yale Law School, 1975
Grad. School:   Oxford University, 1970
Military service:   U.S. Navy

William A. Fletcher is a federal judge with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco. He joined the court in 1998 after being nominated by President Bill Clinton.


Fletcher received a B.A. from Harvard University in 1968 and another from Merton College, Oxford University, in 1970 as a Rhodes Scholar. He earned his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1975.[1]

Military service

Fletcher served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy from 1970 to 1972.[1]

Professional career

Judicial career

On the recommendation of U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstien and Barbara Boxer, Fletcher was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by President Bill Clinton on January 7, 1997, to a seat vacated by William Albert Norris. Fletcher was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 8, 1998 on a Senate vote and received commission on October 9, 1998.[2]

Notable cases

FedEx drivers in California and Oregon are employees, not independent contractors (2014)

A judge for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that FedEx’s drivers in California and Oregon are not independent contractors; they are, in fact, employees. The corporate giant called its drivers independent contractors and paid them as such, thereby avoiding paying benefits, overtime, rest period pay, etc.

Judge William Fletcher wrote for the court. He placed emphasis on the fact that FedEx, in its written agreement with the drivers, retained the right to control the drivers’ uniforms, how their vehicles looked, how the drivers could use the vehicles when not making deliveries and their workloads and territories. A secondary consideration, that FedEx could fire the drivers for cause, tilted towards the drivers being independent contractors. In the end, however, the court held that under both states’ laws, the drivers were employees based upon the amount of control FedEx retained over “multiple aspects of the drivers’ work.”[3]

FedEx responded to the ruling by stating that the company’s agreement with drivers had been changed during the course of litigation. The company will seek a review of the panel’s decision.


Medi-Cal case: CA illegally attempts to cut doctors' fees (2009)

     United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Independent Living Center of Southern California, Inc., et al., v. David Maxwell-Jolly, Director of the Dept. of Health Care Services, State of California, 2:08-cv-03315-CAS-MAS)

Judge Fletcher was part of a three-judge panel that wrote the majority opinion in a lawsuit involving withholding of retroactive reimbursement payments to providers of Medi-Cal. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.[4] Judge Fletcher, along with judges Stephen Reinhardt and Milan Smith—who wrote the opinion—ruled unanimously to uphold an injunction against cuts in the reimbursement payments to providers. The judges ruled that California's budget crisis does not justify the 10 percent reduction in payments to providers.[4]

The court's ruling held that California cannot withhold $1.1 billion a year in payments to doctors, dentists, pharmacists and other healthcare providers. The lawsuit came in response to a bill passed by the California Legislature in 2008 which reduced compensation to providers of Medi-Cal by 10 percent, or about $1.1 billion.[4] The state is facing a major budget crisis that has forced many state programs like Medi-Cal to make deep budget cuts.[4] The judges opined that driving away providers from the already shrinking group, while allowing the system to keep taking state-funded patients, endangers their ability to get treatment.[4]

The underlying suit was brought in 2008 by healthcare providers who care for seven million Californians on Medi-Cal. The providers sued the Department of Health Care Services after the law at issue took effect on July 1, 2008.[4]

Central District of California Judge Christina Snyder ruled against the fee reductions on August 18, 2008, but also ruled that the California Constitution shielded the state from having to make retroactive payments for the period spanning the effective date of the cuts up until her order on August 18.[5]

As a result of the Ninth Circuit's ruling, the state of California must pay providers $55.8 million in retroactive reimbursements that were withheld weeks before Judge Snyder granted the original injunction. An official for the California Department of finance told the Los Angeles Times that the ruling would not affect the $26.3-billion state budget deficit because the state hadn't counted on the 10 percent savings from the Medi-Cal reimbursement changes.[4]

See also

External links


Political offices
Preceded by:
William Albert Norris
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
Succeeded by: