must be soldered to a pad on the PCB surface that is thermally connected to a
copper plane to achieve the specified θJA. The datasheet does not specify the
potential of the copper plane. Can you confirm this please?
The paddle has to be soldered to a heat sinking plane only for thermal/heat
dissapation reasons. As there is no electrical connection between the paddle
and the IC itself, a ground connection or other plane connection is fine.