ATA Moving Forward on Appeal on LA Port Concessions

October 28, 2011

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While the American Trucking Associations won a court victory striking down the controversial owner-operator ban portion of the Port of Los Angeles' Clean Truck Program, the association has decided to move forward on an appeal to the Supreme Court on other provisions which an appeals court upheld.

In late September, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit threw out the LA port's plan to force independent drivers to become employees of drayage companies. However, the court upheld several other aspects of the concession program, covering issues such as off-street parking, maintenance and financial capability.

"While the major issue in the Ninth Circuit's decision was the owner-operator ban, there were other issues that would require carriers to submit financial documents for review by the ports, maintenance issues and off-street-parking restrictions," an ATA spokesman said in a statement. "ATA believes that allowing those provisions under an expansive view of 'market participation' sets bad precedent going forward and would diminish the federal preemptive powers over rates, routes and service that are important across the industry."

ATA believes they have a good change at success because there is a dissenting opinion in the Ninth Circuit's ruling that says the court misapplied the principle of market participation and that these other provisions should have been overturned.

The dissent came from Circuit Judge Randy Smith, who challenged the legal underpinning of the majority's decision, arguing that it is incorrect to say the port is exempt from a federal law that would limit its ability to enforce the concession agreement.

Geraldine Knatz, the port's executive director, has publicly said that it is confident the concession agreement, the backbone of the clean-truck program, will be upheld by the Supreme Court, as it already has been upheld by several lower courts.

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