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Appeals Court Rejects L.A. Port's Ban on Independent Truckers

9/26/2011 4:00:00 PM
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Rules in Favor of ATA’s Position

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Port of Los Angeles

A federal appeals court Monday rejected a plan by the Port of Los Angeles to ban independent operators from drayage operations, giving American Trucking Associations a victory in a major point of its lawsuit challenging several points in the port’s clean trucks program.

The port’s plan required drayage drivers to be employees of licensed companies, rather than independent contractors.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, agreed with a lower court’s ruling that the port may impose requirements regarding drayage operator maintenance, financial capability, off-street parking and placarding.

The plan by the Port of L.A. — part of the largest port complex in the United States along with the neighboring Port of Long Beach — has been in litigation since 2008, when ATA challenged its provision that only trucking company employees, and not independent operators, be allowed to operate at the port.

While both the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach started with a concession approach, eliminating owner-operators, they took separate paths in 2009 when Long Beach settled with ATA and adopted a registration agreement.

“We bill this as a major win,� said ATA Vice President and Chief Counsel Robert Digges Jr. “We’re a little disappointed in some of the other minor aspects of it.�

Port officials said they have not yet made a decision on whether to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, a spokesman said following the ruling.

 â€œWe are pleased that almost all aspects of our concession program have again been upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit,â€� said Geraldine Knatz, the port’s executive director.

“The measures upheld in this ruling allow for significant accountability from the trucking companies that call at the Port of Los Angeles,� she said in a statement.

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