Supreme Court hears ATA case against LA port

Updated Apr 18, 2013
Port of Los AngelesPort of Los Angeles

The U.S. Supreme Court heard April 16 the American Trucking Associations’ case that federal law preempts the Port of Los Angeles trucking requirements.

ATA maintains the port’s demand that trucking companies regularly serving the port sign concessionaire agreements is a violation of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act. The 1994 act prohibits state and local governments from enacting or enforcing any ‘law, regulation, or provision having the force and effect of law related to a price, route, or service of any motor carrier.”

The association has stated that if the port rules remain, it would “clear the way for a patchwork of regulations that would lead to unreasonable burdens on the movement of goods.”

Officials at ports nationwide have expressed interest in creating requirements similar to the Port of LA’s and have said they are following the case closely.

The court had invited the U.S. Solicitor General to submit a brief, as this office supervises and conduct government litigation at this level. The solicit general’s amicus curiae or friend of the court brief states the port’s placards and off-street parking requirements are superseded by the FAAAA.

In 2008, the Port of Los Angeles began stipulating that carriers regularly serving the port enter into concession agreements that included truck maintenance, off-street parking and carrier proof of financial responsibility.

The association then sued POLA in U.S. district court, but the judge agreed with the port’s position that the requirements are not preempted by the FAAAA.  Later, an appeals court overturned the employee-driver provision, but affirmed the remainder of the lower court’s ruling.