Monday, September 20, 2010

ATA Files Appeal Over Los Angeles Port Truck Plan Ruling

The ongoing legal battle over a Port of Los Angeles trucking re-regulation plan will face at least one more round, as the American Trucking Associations filed a formal appeal to a recent federal court ruling allowing the port to move forward will the entire plan.

The trucking plan, originally conceived in 2006 as a program to cut diesel emissions from trucks servicing the port, eventually morphed into a plan that included social engineering and social justice components.

The ATA sued the port over the truck program, arguing not against the environmental portions of the plan but over an access licensing scheme that requires trucking firms to agree to port-defined criteria to obtain an access license to port properties. One of the most contentious aspects of the access license scheme is a requirement that all trucking firms hire only per-hour employees as opposed to per-load independent owner-operators. More than 80 percent of the drivers servicing the port are currently owner-operators.

Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder ruled against the ATA and dissolved an injunction that had been keeping the access license scheme, including the employee-only mandate, from being fully implemented. Judge Snyder, while agreeing the port trucking plan violated federal commerce laws, ruled that the port was exempt from the federal laws because the port was a "market participant" in the local drayage industry.

The ATA's appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in addition to slamming Judge Snyder's ruling as an "error of law," also asks that the injunction dissolved by Judge Snyder remain in place until the Ninth Circuit can fully review the matter.