First phase of lawsuit against port completed

The American Trucking Associations’ lawsuit against the Port of Los Angeles completed oral arguments on April 29. The trial, which started April 20 in Los Angeles, was completed with Judge Christina Snyder touring the Port of Los Angeles.

Both parties will have the opportunity to file written arguments until May 14.

The trial focused on concession requirements the Port of Los Angeles attempted to apply to its Clean Truck Program, which reduces port pollution through the retirement of older diesel engines. The Clean Truck Program at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has reduced truck emissions by 80 percent and is two years ahead of schedule. The trucking industry challenged the Port of Los Angeles’ ban on owner-operators, saying the ban was unrelated to the environmental aspects of the Clean Truck Program.

The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in 2009 that banning owner-operators from ports likely violates federal law, and the court also rejected the claim from the Port of Los Angeles, the National Resources Defense Council and several other groups that a ban on owner-operators was needed to help the port achieve its environmental and safety goals.

Following the court’s ruling, Snyder in April 2009 enjoined principal elements of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach’s concession requirements, including Los Angeles’ owner-operator ban, driver hiring preferences, motor carrier financial capability requirements and designated routes and off-street parking restrictions.

The court on Feb. 24 had upheld aspects of the Port of Los Angeles’ concession agreements with trucking companies. The three-judge panel’s decision allowed the concession agreements that the port says pertain to motor vehicle safety.

The Port of Long Beach never proposed to ban owner-operators. ATA and the Port of Long Beach settled litigation with ATA last year by replacing its concession agreement with a motor carrier registration process.