Court weighs whether carriers can continue to work with owner-operators in California
The California Trucking Association, backed by the American Trucking Associations and supported by a coalition of other trucking groups, argued Tuesday in the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (a court just one level below the U.S. Supreme Court) that motor carriers and owner-operators should remain exempt from California’s restrictive A.B. 5 law.
The law, passed last fall by the California legislature and subsequently signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, sets limits on what types of workers can be classified as independent contractors, sweeping into that definition owner-operator truckers — both those leased to larger motor carriers and independent owner-operators that haul loads for other carriers.
The law effectively makes it illegal for carriers to contract loads to owner-operator drivers working as independent contractors. But in January, a U.S. District Court issued an injunction that exempts carriers from A.B. 5 while CTA’s lawsuit against the law is adjudicated. The injunction is effectively an exemption that allows motor carriers to continue working with owner-operators until a final decision is reached in CTA’s underlying lawsuit against A.B. 5.
A three-judge panel Tuesday on the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments from CTA, represented by attorney Andrew Tauber of the D.C.-based firm Mayer Brown, as to why that preliminary injunction should remain in effect. The court also heard oral arguments from the State of California and the Teamsters Union, which is fighting CTA’s case alongside California. The oral arguments took place remotely, with parties dialing in via video conference.
“We’re pleased with how it went,” said attorney Bob Roginson, one of the lead attorneys representing CTA in the case and manager of the Los Angeles office of the national law firm Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak and Stewart. Roginson heads Ogletree’s transportation and logistics group. “It’s hard to predict with any clarity on where court is headed or what specifically was most important to it. [The judges] had a lot of questions, and I think we handled them very well.”
Original article provided by: https://www.ccjdigital.com/court-california-owner-operators-abc-ab5/