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Federal Court Orders Judge to Reconsider Decision on L.A./Long Beach Clean Truck Programs

March 24, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO --- A federal appeals court on March 20 ordered a judge to reconsider her decision against blocking parts of the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports' clean truck programs. 

The three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, ruled that U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder should grant all or part of the American Trucking Assn.'s request for an injunction to block new rules that apply to truck drivers at the two ports, the Los Angeles Times reported. At the L.A. port, new rules prohibit drivers from serving as independent contractors. At both ports, new rules require trucking companies to disclose financial data and comply with certain parking requirements. 

Trucking industry representatives have fought the new regulations, arguing that they impose unfair economic burdens and violate federal law. The appellate judges said the American Trucking Assn. is likely to win in court on at least some of its arguments against the regulations and should not have to comply with those provisions before a final ruling is made, the L.A. Times reported. 

"In short, motor carriers should not be required to adhere to the various unconstitutional provisions in the Ports' agreements and are likely to suffer irrevocably if forced to do that or give up their businesses," the panel said in a 28-page opinion. 

The appellate judges expressed concern over a provision that seeks to place the financial burden of owning, operating and maintaining newer, lower-emission trucks -- and hiring drivers to operate them -- on trucking and shipping companies, the Times reported. 


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