Trucking fleet owners are vowing to fight on after being handed a legal defeat on Monday, when a federal court denied their challenge to AB-5, the California law that would force companies to treat truck drivers as full employees and not merely independent contractors.
The court’s move could theoretically open the door for the state’s Assembly Bill 5 (AB-5) law to take effect within a week, because it ends a court injunction that had frozen enforcement of the legislation until legal challenges were exhausted. However, fleets have already pledged to bring new suits to delay that from happening.
“While the decision by the Ninth Circuit Court to deny an en banc rehearing is disappointing, we are committed to continuing our efforts to protect California’s 70,000 independent truckers,” Shawn Yadon, CEO of the California Trucking Association (CTA), said in a release.
“Enforcing AB 5 would throw the nation’s supply chain into further chaos and destroy the livelihoods of thousands of blue collar entrepreneurs. We will look to every option to prevent greater harm including filing a motion to delay the removal of the preliminary injunction, while we also petition the US Supreme Court to consider our case,” Yadon said.
The CTA issued its position after the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied an “en banc” rehearing of the court’s April 28 decision on the matter. In that previous case, the court had denied the CTA’s argument that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Authorization Act would preempt the state law.
Under special pandemic timing rules, CTA now has 150 days to petition the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari, according to an analysis by the transportation industry law firm Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson, and Feary, P.C. During that time, CTA may also petition for a stay of the Ninth Circuit’s resolution of the injunction until the Supreme Court has ruled on a petition for review.