Trucking News Online

ATA Seeking Supreme Court Review in California Meal Break Case

February 13, 2015 By: Trucking News Staff Tags: Fleet Management, News, Regulations

The American Trucking Associations’ Litigation Center on Monday filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to grant review in Penske versus Dilts.

The case will determine whether a federal statute prohibiting states from enacting measures that “relate to a price, route or service of any motor carrier,” preempts California’s meal and rest break requirements. As a result of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) more than a dozen class action lawsuits have been filed in the last few years against carriers, alleging violation of those break requirements. Bu in the majority of the courts in which those cases were filed, courts ruled that the FAAAA preempted the claims and dismissed the suits.

Last summer, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed, holding that the FAAAA does not reach California break rules. The Ninth Circuit applied a narrow preemption analysis, concluding that a general law is only preempted if it “binds” a carrier to a “particular” price, route or service.

The ATA claims that court’s narrow approach — which no other court has adopted — is inconsistent with prior Supreme Court precedent and the high court’s clear instructions that the FAAAA’s preemptive reach is broad.

ATA’s brief claims there are serious real-world consequences associated with the decision, and explains how it jeopardizes the national uniformity and market-driven efficiency Congress sought to promote when it deregulated the trucking industry.

ATA was joined on the brief by Airlines for America, whose identically worded preemption statute is also affected by the Ninth Circuit’s decision.

A copy of ATA’s brief is available at