Thursday, October 27, 2011

ATA to Take Los Angeles Port Truck Plan to Supreme Court

The American Trucking Associations, just weeks after winning a major victory against the Port of Los Angeles trucking program in federal court, has decided to seek a United States Supreme Court review of other portions of the lower court ruling that favored the port.

Late last month, a three-member Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled that the port cannot require thousands of port-servicing independent truckers to become trucking firm employees. The ruling was a major victory for the ATA, who brought the original lawsuit in 2008, and a major setback to International Brotherhood of Teamsters efforts to unionize the drayage drivers at the port.

In a unanimous ruling, the Ninth Circuit panel dismissed the port's argument that the port was a "market participant" in the drayage industry. Without the "market participant" claim, the court found that the port's employee-only mandate is not exempt from federal interstate commerce laws and permanently enjoined the mandate.

However, the appellate panel split 2-1 in favor of the port on four separate truck plan issues opposed by the ATA, including an off-street parking provision, financial capability requirement, maintenance provision, and placard requirement.

ATA spokesman Sean McNally told that this "expansive view of market participation sets bad precedent going forward and would diminish the federal preemptive powers over rates, routes and service that is important to the industry."

McNally also told the news outlet that the ATA is "confident that the Supreme Court will accept this case and overturn these provisions and uphold the sanctity of rates, routes and services."

The ATA decision to take these issues to the Supreme Court also comes only three weeks after port officials decided to end further defense of the truck plan.
"We have no plans to seek further review," Los Angeles port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz said in a statement at the time.