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Federal Court Joins Superior Court and Enjoins AB 5 re Interstate Truckers

by D. Gregory Valenza | |

A federal district court issued a preliminary injunction against AB 5 based on federal law preemption.  The court held the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act, which applies to about 70,000 interstate truckers, likely preempts AB 5’s applicability to those truckers covered by the FAAAA. The preliminary injunction in California Trucking Association v. Becerra is here.   The injunction will stay in effect through trial or until the 9th Circuit says otherwise.  After trial, the injunction could become permanent.  

Basically the Court decided that the truckers have a good argument that  AB 5 interferes with trucking companies’ ability to manage their businesses, set trucking rates, and enter contracts with customers because they cannot choose to deal with independent contractors versus employees. That interference is what violates the FAAAA, which is intended to create a uniform, interstate standard to promote commerce. Here is the money quote: 

the State of California has encroached on Congress’ territory by eliminating motor carriers’ choice to use independent contractor drivers, a choice at the very heart of interstate trucking. In so doing, California disregards Congress’ intent to deregulate interstate trucking, instead adopting a law that produces the patchwork of state regulations Congress sought to prevent. With AB-5, California runs off the road and into the preemption ditch of the FAAAA.

Judge Benitez’s trucking analogies are firing on all cylinders, as you can see.  

So, AB 5 is garaged as to interstate truckers for now.  But the 9th Circuit may tire of FAAAA preemption arguments and wreck the truckers’ case.  Yeah, that left me flat too. I’m going to exit.   

But before I go… if you’re the optimistic sort, there are rumblings online of protests and other organizing brewing to amend and even repeal AB 5.  Maybe it will have an effect; maybe not  So, if you want this law changed,  make your voices heard and maybe something will happen.  Remember, the exceptions in AB 5 are in there because someone asked for them…. 

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