ATA files brief in LA Ports’ injunction appeal

WASHINGTON — The American Trucking Associations filed its opening brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit last week in an effort to get an injunction against the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach’s concession plans that became effective Oct. 1.

ATA believes the concession plans, part of the ports’ Clean Trucks programs, unlawfully re-regulate the port trucking industry — to the detriment of motor carriers, shippers, businesses and consumers that depend on the products that are handled at those ports.

U.S. District Court Judge Christina A. Snyder earlier ruled that the concession plans fell within the scope of what would ordinarily be pre-empted, but an express exception to pre-emption, the safety exception, protected the plans from pre-emption because of security concerns at the ports.

In this opening brief, ATA explained that most of the concession plans’ requirements do not affect safety and the few elements that do repeat the requirements of federal and state laws. ATA also argued that because the concession plans essentially re-regulate interstate trucking, they must be overturned even if some minor elements relate to truck safety.

Additionally, ATA contended that the court erred in its previous finding that motor carriers could avoid irreparable harm by succumbing to the illegal concession plans and seeking damages later. ATA explained that securing individual damages would be difficult if not impossible, and that forcing motor carriers to either accept the illegal terms of the concession plans or stop doing business in the ports was itself irreparable harm.

ATA supports the ports’ Clean Truck programs and the replacement of older trucks, but does not support the concession plans’ illegal re-regulation of the trucking industry.

A decision could be issued by the court in late November.

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