AB5 injunction remains as trucking group petitions SCOTUS

June 23, 2021

Mark Schremmer

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An injunction preventing California’s Assembly Bill 5 will remain in place while the California Trucking Association appeals the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Wednesday, June 23, granted the California Trucking Association’s motion to delay enforcement of the worker classification law that opponents believe will end the trucking industry’s owner-operator model.

If the Supreme Court elects to hear the case, the injunction will remain in place until a ruling is made. If the Supreme Court decides not to hear the case, AB5 will immediately take effect in the trucking industry. The California Trucking Association’s petition to the Supreme Court is due Nov. 18.

Earlier this week, the Ninth Circuit rejected the California Trucking Association’s petition for a rehearing en banc over AB5, which codifies the California Supreme Court’s ABC Test for determining whether a worker is an employer or an independent contractor.

After that ruling, the California Trucking Association said it would continue to fight the case at the highest level.

“While the decision by the Ninth Circuit to deny an en banc rehearing is disappointing, we are committed to continuing our efforts to protect California’s 70,000 independent truckers,” California Trucking Association CEO Shawn Yadon said earlier this week. “Enforcing AB5 would throw the nation’s supply chain into further chaos and destroy the livelihoods of thousands of blue collar entrepreneurs.

“We will look to every option to prevent greater harm, including filing a motion to delay the removal of the preliminary injunction, while we also petition the U.S. Supreme Court to consider our case.”

On April 28, a three-judge panel ruled 2-1 that California’s AB5 “is a generally applicable labor law” and called for the removal of a preliminary injunction against enforcing the state law on motor carriers.

The trucking group contends that AB5 would force the end of the industry’s owner-operator model and would be in violation of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (F4A), which prevents states from enforcing a law or regulation related to a price, route, or service of motor carriers.

Earlier this month, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed an amicus brief in support of the California Trucking Association’s petition for a rehearing en banc.

OOIDA said AB5, will cause “immediate and irreparable harm” to thousands of truckers.

The California Senate passed the law in September 2019 and was intended to apply to a variety of industries. It went into effect Jan. 1, 2020, but the California Trucking Association was granted a preliminary injunction that stopped the state from enforcing the law on motor carriers. LL

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Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.