Groups want hours case dismissed

Jill Dunn | January 24, 2012

Both sides in the lawsuit that resulted in last month’s hours-of-service rule have asked a federal court to dismiss the case.

The Washington, D.C., appellate court had asked both parties on Dec. 7 to file motions to govern further court proceedings. They were given until Jan. 23, when the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Teamsters union, Public Citizen, Truck Safety Coalition and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration filed a joint motion requesting voluntary dismissal of the case.

The court, per the parties’ 2009 settlement agreement, is holding the case in abeyance while the agency undertook a new HOS rulemaking to replace the 2008 HOS rule that prompted the lawsuit.

The FMCSA’s Dec. 22 rule “supersedes the rule at issue in this case,” the Jan. 23 motion states. “Because the rule challenged in the petition no longer exists, the parties agree that the case should be dismissed.”

The motion notes both sides agree to be responsible for their own litigation costs.

The 2009 joint agreement states if the “FMCSA promulgates a new rule that is substantially different from the 2008 rule, that may obviate the need for judicial review of the current rule.”

After the petitioners sued, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the American Trucking Associations and four other transportation and business groups filed with the defense as intervenors, or those who voluntarily enter a lawsuit because of a personal stake. The Union of Concerned Scientists and four other policy groups filed friend of court briefs for the petitioners.

The same court overturned a 2003 hours rule, issued in 2004, and a 2005 rule, issued in 2007.

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