We have been following the news on AB5 and how it will impact California trucking. There was an injunction keeping independent contractors out of the state’s trucking sector and a lower court has officially ended it.
There was a hearing on Monday at an appellate court where Federal District Court Judge Robert Benitez formally lifted the injunction. It had been in effect since December 31, 2019. The expected lifting of the injunction puts into effect an April 2021 U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that overturned Benitez’s original injunction. The appellate court decision overturning the Benitez injunction allowed the injunction to remain in place while the California Trucking Association, which filed the original lawsuit in the case, appealed to the United States Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court chose not to review this case which left it up to the appellate court to make a decision. They decided to overturn the injunction which was formalized on Monday. According to FreightWaves the case is not over. “The legal arguments put forth by the CTA — that AB5 as applied to trucking in California violates parts of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act — was only argued through motions on the injunction, rather than a full court procedure. The CTA will now pursue the case from the beginning and has asked for a new injunction.” The issue of whether the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) can intervene in the case remains to be decided.
What are the next steps? The filing of briefs in the case. This can take place into December, according to an earlier court filing. To determine whether workers are independent contractors or employees, AB5 requires them to be judged against the provisions of the so-called ABC test.
The ruling prompted an immediate media outreach from a public relations firm, which provided commentary from the union side of the ledger. “Today, drivers across California can rest easy knowing that trucking companies that have gotten away with misclassifying workers can no longer exploit their workers or the people of California to further their bottom line,” the email from Teamsters PR agency Berlin Rosen said. “These companies are going to be held accountable, and drivers’ rights will be protected under the law.”