Ruling stems from class-action suit brought earlier by Penske Logistics drivers in California .  Image: Penske

Ruling stems from class-action suit brought earlier by Penske Logistics drivers in California. Image: Penske

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied motions filed by trucking companies seeking to overturn the lower court ruling that upheld a California statute requiring a paid 10-minute rest break every four hours and a paid 30-minute meal period every five hours for truck drivers.

Both petitions, Penske Logistics, LLC v. Dilts (Docket 14-801) and Vitran Express, Inc. v. Campbell (Docket 18-89), for a review hearing on last July’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rulingwere denied by SCOTUS on Monday.

The Ninth Circuit Court had found that the California law requiring the rest and meal breaks does not violate a 1994 federal law.

That ruling reinstated a class action lawsuit brought by nearly 350 drivers paid to pick up and deliver appliances for Penske Logistics. The plaintiffs claimed they often worked more than 10 hours per day and were required or encouraged to take unpaid breaks.

In seeking review of the appellate court ruling, Penske Logistics had contended that the California law is preempted by a 1994 federal statute that prohibits states from enforcing laws “related to a price, route or service of any motor carrier” transporting property.

In the Ninth Circuit’s 3-0 ruling, Judge Susan Graber found that paid break periods are “normal background rules for almost all employers doing business in the state.”

Indeed, it should be noted that all the rulings thus far in this matter pertain only to intra-California commerce.

About the author
David Cullen

David Cullen

[Former] Business/Washington Contributing Editor

David Cullen comments on the positive and negative factors impacting trucking – from the latest government regulations and policy initiatives coming out of Washington DC to the array of business and societal pressures that also determine what truck-fleet managers must do to ensure their operations keep on driving ahead.

View Bio