A preliminary injunction that had barred California from enforcing its AB5 law has officially been lifted — but trucking is not giving up on challenging this law that severely restricts the use of independent contractors.
On Aug. 29, Judge Benitez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California held a hearing in the California Trucking Association’s challenge to enforcement of AB 5 against the trucking industry. As anticipated, Judge Benitez lifted the injunction, which had been reversed by the Ninth Circuit, according to a law alert from the attorneys Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary.
The action has been expected ever since the U.S. Supreme Court in late June declined to review the case, California Trucking Association v. Bonta. That put the case back into the hands of the appellate court, which handed down a mandate to the district court ordering the reversal of the injunction.
AB5 (California Assembly Bill 5) is a 2019 law requiring an ABC test that restricts businesses from classifying workers as independent contractors if those workers are in the same business.
Many assumed the Supreme Court's refusal to hear the case would mean AB5 would become the law of the land for trucking, leading to owner-operator protests at California ports — and it has, for now.
But the case is not over.
CTA’s argument that AB5 as applied to trucking in California violates parts of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act was only argued through motions on the injunction, not in a full court procedure.
The association will now pursue the case from the beginning and has asked for a new injunction. Briefing on the new motion for an injunction will take place this fall, according to Scopelitis.
In addition, the court will consider a motion from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association to intervene in the case.