Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Los Angeles Port Extends Truck Program Legal Contract

The attorneys representing the Port of Los Angeles in their ongoing litigation with the American Trucking Associations continue to prove the old adage about lawyers being the only winners in protracted lawsuits.

Los Angeles Harbor Commissioners have approved a two-year extension of a contract with the law firm of Kaye Scholer LLP. The firm's current contract, first approved in January 2007, allows for a maximum of just over $7.5 million in compensation for the firm's work representing the port. The contract covers the development and defense of the port's omnibus environmental Clean Air Action Plan, of which the truck program is a major component.

The two-year extension approved on Oct. 26 was the fifth amendment to the original contract with Kaye Scholer, which also includes subcontracting with the law firm of Troutman Sanders LLP. The extension, which runs through January 2013, does not include further compensation beyond the already approved $7.55 million.

The new extension also notes that Kaye Scholer is no longer representing the Port of Long Beach, which settled its portion of the truck program court case in Oct. 2009. The Long Beach port paid out more than $2.5 million under a separate Kaye Scholer contract for representation by subcontractor Troutman Sanders during the truck program case.

The ATA sued the two ports in late 2008 over the two ports' individual versions of a jointly developed truck program. The trucking group has argued that portions of the truck program, which bars older trucks and establishes an access license scheme to restrict which trucks can and can not enter the ports' terminals, violates federal interstate commerce laws. The case is currently awaiting a hearing before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.