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Court Rules OOIDA Can Sue Carriers Over Leases

August 12, 1999

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The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Assn. is hailing an appeals court decision that allows it to sue motor carriers for violation of the federal truth-in-leasing regulations in federal court.

In 1997, OOIDA filed suits against Prime and Arctic Express, claiming they had illegally retained leased owner-operators' escrow funds. Traditionally, enforcing the leasing regulations was up to the Interstate Commerce Commission, and a court decision in 1997 said the regulatory dispute was the responsibility of the Federal Highway Administration. But OOIDA appealed, arguing that the ICC Termination Act of 1995 expressly granted parties the right to directly challenge motor carrier leasing practices in the federal courts. Monday, the court agreed with OOIDA, says the association.
The U.S. Department of Justice, acting on behalf of the Department of Transportation and FHWA, filed a brief and argued in support of the private right of action. Joining Prime and Arctic in opposing this was the American Trucking Assns.
In its decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit found that the ICC Termination Act "authorizes private actions for damages and injunctive relief" to remedy violations of the federal motor carrier leasing statutes and regulations.
OOIDA now will return to the federal district courts to resume their actions against Prime and Arctic.

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