California attempts to block OOIDA’s request to join AB5 case

September 21, 2022

Mark Schremmer


The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association wants to represent small-business truckers in a lawsuit against California’s Assembly Bill 5. However, the California attorney general told a federal court that OOIDA’s request came too late and should be denied.

In April 2021, OOIDA filed a motion, requesting to serve as an intervenor in the California Trucking Association’s lawsuit challenging the applicability of AB5. As part of the motion, OOIDA said it should be allowed to take part in the case because the interests of interstate owner-operators and small-business truckers “are not adequately represented” by the existing parties.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta opposed the motion on Sept. 16, telling the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California that OOIDA didn’t file its motion in time.

“Timeliness is an indispensable threshold requirement for intervention,” Bonta wrote in the court filing. “Here, OOIDA’s motion, filed years after the action was brought and after numerous substantive proceedings on the legal claims at issue, does not meet this requirement.”

The California Trucking Association and OOIDA argue that the state should not oppose a longstanding trade association’s attempt to represent its members.

“It makes no sense that (California) would oppose the participation of the nation’s largest and oldest organization representing small-business truck drivers in a lawsuit that harms tens of thousands of OOIDA’s members,” the California Trucking Association and OOIDA wrote in a joint statement. “We urge the state of California to drop their opposition to the voice of independent and owner-operator truckers being heard in this matter. They are the very workers whose livelihoods are at risk under AB5.

“Too many questions have gone unanswered with regard to this legislation. The hardworking men and women that have moved goods in and out of California for decades deserve consideration. No one benefits when bureaucrats or regulators arbitrarily favor one small business over another.”


The California Trucking Association’s original complaint was filed in October 2018 after the California Supreme Court established the ABC Test in its Dynamex decision.

The controversial test determines that a worker is only an independent contractor if the individual is free from the control of the company, the work performed is outside the company’s usual course of business, and that the individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade or occupation.

California lawmakers responded to the California Supreme Court’s decision by passing AB5, which codified the ABC Test into law. In November 2019, the California Trucking Association requested a preliminary injunction from AB5 being enforced on motor carriers. The trucking group argued that the test would end the industry’s owner-operator model and said the law is preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act.

The injunction was granted until the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately denied the California Trucking Association’s petition to review its arguments.

The Supreme Court’s denial kicked the case back to the district court, and the injunction was formally dissolved on Aug. 29.

OOIDA’s motion

While the case was playing its way through the appeals courts, OOIDA asked the district court to let it serve as an intervenor.

OOIDA said it wants to “represent the unique interests of the independent contractor truck drivers whose employment classification” is impacted by AB5.

While the California Trucking Association represents motor carriers of various sizes in California, OOIDA represents small-business truck drivers who reside in California, as well as those haul freight in and out of the state.

OOIDA argues that the motion is timely, saying the case “has not substantively progressed beyond the pleadings stage.” It is unclear when the court will rule on OOIDA’s motion. LL