Friday, September 3, 2010

LA Port to Move Quickly to Put Full Truck Plan Into Effect

Just days after a federal judge upheld the Port of Los Angeles Clean Trucks Program, port officials have indicated they will move quickly to implement previously-blocked components of the truck plan – including a contentious component requiring port-servicing trucking firms to hire only per-hour employee drivers.

Last week, Judge Snyder ruled that the Clean Truck Program, including an access license scheme that uses port-defined criteria to determine who can and cannot enter the port, was exempt from federal laws because the landlord port operated as a market participant in the trucking industry.

The American Trucking Associations sued the port in July 2008 on the grounds that certain portions of the access license scheme violated the United States Constitution and other federal laws.

On Tuesday, port attorneys filed a "final form of judgment" with Judge Christina Snyder of the US District Court for the Central District of California.
The final form lists the port's requested final terms of the suit.

The port is asking the court to take four actions: a judgment in favor of the Los Angeles port and other defendants; a dismissal of any "claims of relief" by the ATA; the removal of the injunctions currently blocking portions of the truck program; and, an order for the ATA to pay all defendant legal costs.

Judge Snyder issued the injunction in April 2009 after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned her September 2008 denial of an injunction to the ATA.

Judge Snyder is expected to sign the port-drafted judgment within the next several weeks. The ATA will then have a 14-day period to appeal the ruling and ask the Ninth Circuit to maintain the injunction until the full appeals process is completed. The injunction will stay in effect during this 14-day period.

The ATA has confirmed it will appeal Judge Snyder's ruling.

Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Knatz, while not mentioning the possibility of a Ninth Circuit stay on the current injunction, said she would consider implementing the previously-blocked portions of the truck plan as soon as the next harbor commission meeting, which is anticipated to take place on Sept. 16. Knatz also said that a plan to offer an extended compliance period – during which trucking firms would be required to attain compliance with the previously-blocked portions of the truck plan, including the employee-only mandate – may be considered.