ATA files appeal of port ruling

Jill Dunn | September 20, 2010

While the American Trucking Associations has filed to appeal a ruling in favor of the Port of Los Angeles, port officials will recommend an adjusted implementation schedule for the agreement the association is disputing.

The ATA filed its request for an appeal in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Sept. 16. Judge Christina Snyder had committed several legal errors in her Aug. 26 ruling, which upheld the port’s agreement carriers must sign to work the port, the association said.

Ports nationwide have said they want to adopt the Los Angeles model.

Snyder’s Sept. 10 final judgment dissolved the preliminary injunction that had been in place, which had prevented the port from fully enforcing the agreement. The ATA had not disputed the stricter truck emissions standards, but had sued over other program aspects, including requiring all drivers be carrier employees and requiring carriers follow preferential hiring rules.

Port representatives have said they will recommend the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners approve an adjusted compliance timeline at the board’s Sept. 27 meeting. The proposed schedule would begin requiring 20 percent of drivers be employees by Dec. 31, 2011, increasing to 66 percent a year later and 100 percent by Dec. 31, 2013.

The ATA’s appeal request states the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause restricts states’ regulation power and the “dormant” commerce clause prohibits legislation excessively burdening interstate commerce.

It allows a market exemption if the port’s actions are considered that of a business proprietor, not as a regulator. Synder’s view that the port is a proprietor is too broad, the association said.  

Snyder made other legal errors, including not permitting discovery and introduction of certain evidence and not recognizing federal preemption of some agreement components.

At the upcoming meeting, port staff also will recommend board members approve:
• Defer requiring use of a job referral service until the port has a contract with a service provider.
• Giving carriers until Jan. 1 to submit an off-street parking plan and until July 1, 2011, to implement that plan.
• Other adjustments, including compliance with some requirements only on a going-forward basis, such as financial capability information submitted with concession applications.

Out-of-state and infrequent licensed motor carriers not having a concession agreement with the port will be permitted up to 24 day passes annually.

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