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OOIDA Leasing Lawsuit To Proceed

April 18, 2000

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The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. has won the right to proceed with a lawsuit over leasing after the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from Missouri-based trucking company Prime Inc. on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upholding private right of action.

Under the ICC Sunset Act of 1995, owner-operators were granted the right to have disputes with motor carriers over federal leasing regulations heard in the courts (private right of action). However, when OOIDA filed suit against Prime in 1996, the carrier contended that the courts had no jurisdiction, saying instead the Department of Transportation had jurisdiction in these matters. The district court agreed with Prime and dismissed the case. OOIDA appealed and last August, the appeals court reversed the lower court decision, upholding private right of action.
Prime took its appeal to the Supreme Court. In a "friend of the court" brief filed by the American Trucking Assns., the organization argued that the ICC Termination Act didn't change the law, it merely transferred enforcement of leasing rules from the ICC to DOT. ATA also contends that court action regarding lease contract disputes is allowed only to enforce DOT orders.
With the decision by the Supreme Court not to review the appeals court case, the jurisdictional issue is settled, and the case can now proceed.

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