Another Win for the Trucking Industry Against AB 5

While the trucking industry waits for the federal court to hear arguments on the California Trucking Association’s request for an injunction against application of AB5, Judge William Highberger of the Los Angeles Superior Court ruled on January 8, 2020, that AB 5 runs afoul of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (“FAAAA”).

The case is an enforcement action brought by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office for misclassification of truck drivers. The trucking company had asked the court to decide whether AB 5, which codified the ABC test first applied in the California Supreme Court’s Dynamex’s decision, should be applied retroactively to the claims brought by the State.

Judge Highberger stated that the “‘ABC Test’ set forth in Dynamex Operations-West v. Superior Court and the recently enacted [A.B. 5] clearly run afoul of Congress’s 1994 determination in the [FAAAA] that a uniform rule endorsing use of non-employee independent contractors (commonly known in the trucking industry as ‘owner-operators’) should apply in all 50 states to increase competition and reduce the cost of trucking services.”

“After careful consideration, the court agrees with defendants that the currently operative legal requirements for determination of employee versus independent contractor status are preempted as to certain motor carriers and their drivers by an act of Congress,” the judge added.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has indicated that the city will appeal the decision.

Jackson Lewis will continue to monitor the application of AB 5 and the legal developments regarding its implementation. Contact a Jackson Lewis attorney if you have questions about independent contractors, AB 5, and related cases.