Monday, October 26, 2009

Judge Dismisses ATA/Port of Long Beach Truck Suit

A federal court has given final approval to a settlement between the Port of Long Beach and the American Trucking Associations, bringing to an end more than a year of legal battles over the port's Clean Truck Program. The move formalizes the announcement last Monday by ATA and port officials of a settlement to their portion of the lawsuit over the truck program.

A request for dismissal by both parties were accepted by the court last week, with Judge Christina Snyder of the US District Court for the Central District of California dismissing the ATA's suit against the Long Beach port.

The ATA's case against the neighboring Los Angeles port, however, continues and is set to go to trial in December.

The ATA sued both the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports last year over portions of the Clean Truck Program that the ATA said violated federal primacy rules in regards to interstate trucking. During an injunction phase of the case, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the ATA, with Snyder's lower court eventually issuing an injunction against portions of the program.

As a part of the settlement, the port will do away with a concessionaire model it had developed for the truck plan. The concession model required truck firms to meet certain port-required criteria regarding financial health, emissions, safety and security. The concession model was one of the key complaints in the ATA legal battle over the truck program.

Under the terms of the settlement the port will replace the concession model with a registration system that essentially allows the port to collect the same information from trucking firms and drivers but reduces the ability of port officials to permanently ban scofflaws of the system from accessing the port indefinitely.