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American Trucking Associations, Inc. v. City of Los Angeles

February 24, 2010

AMERICAN TRUCKING ASSOCIATIONS, INC.,*FN1 PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES, THE HARBOR DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES, THE BOARD OF HARBOR COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES, THE CITY OF LONG BEACH, THE HARBOR DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF LONG BEACH, AND CT THE BOARD OF HARBOR COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF LONG BEACH, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.
COALITION FOR CLEAN AIR, INC.; NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL; SIERRA CLUB, DEFENDANT-INTERVENORS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California Christina A. Snyder, District Judge, Presiding D.C. No. 2:08-cv-04920-CAS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bright, Circuit Judge

FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

Argued and Submitted November 4, 2009 -- Pasadena, California

Before: Myron H. Bright,*fn2 Senior Circuit Judge, Harry Pregerson and Ronald M. Gould, Circuit Judges.

In this extensive litigation, American Trucking Associations, Inc. ("ATA") seeks preliminary injunctive relief against certain regulations imposed by the Port of Los Angeles, a local governing body, upon motor carriers entering the Port premises. ATA contends these regulations are preempted by federal law. The district court denied injunctive relief in part, determining that the Port regulations in question are authorized under the motor vehicle safety exception in the federal law. ATA appeals, and we affirm with one exception.

I. BACKGROUND

This litigation has been ongoing since July 28, 2008, when ATA filed its complaint against all defendants. ATA contends that certain mandatory concession agreements between the Port of Los Angeles ("POLA")*fn3 and motor carriers impose requirements on the truckers, and the execution of those agreements is required for any trucker to enter the Port premises. ATA asserts that provisions of the concession agreements are preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 ("FAAA Act"),*fn4 and that the concession agreements unduly burden motor carriers' ability to engage in interstate commerce. The defendants, POLA, claim that these provisions qualify under the motor vehicle safety exception to the FAAA Act.*fn5

To put the present stage of this litigation and this appeal in context, we refer to prior proceedings in the district court and in this court.

On June 30, 2008, ATA moved for a preliminary injunction restraining implementation of the Port's mandatory concession agreements under the FAAA Act and the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. The district court denied relief. The court determined that while the concession agreements "related to a price, route, or service" of motor carriers which would generally render them preempted under the FAAA Act, ATA was unlikely to succeed on the merits because the concession agreements likely fell under the FAAA Act's motor vehicle safety exception and therefore ATA had not established a proper basis for preliminary injunctive relief. See Am. Trucking Ass'ns, Inc. v. City of Los Angeles, 577 F. Supp. 2d 1110 (C.D. Cal. 2008) ("Am. Trucking I").

ATA appealed to this court. We reversed and remanded, explaining that many provisions of the concession agreements were likely preempted by the FAAA Act. Am. Trucking Ass'ns, Inc. v. City of Los Angeles, 559 F.3d 1046 (9th Cir. 2009) ("Am. Trucking II").

On remand, the district court, following this court's order in Am. Trucking II, determined some of the concession agreement provisions were likely preempted*fn6 while others were not. Am. Trucking III, 2009 WL 1160212. ATA again appeals, arguing the district court (1) erred in concluding several provisions were not preempted by the FAAA Act; (2) erred in concluding that POLA has authority to preclude motor carriers from entering the Port for failing to comply with the concession agreements; and (3) abused its discretion by not enjoining enforcement of the concession agreements in their entirety. As we have noted, we affirm except as to one provision of the concession agreements.

II.

[1] The law at issue in this appeal is the FAAA Act. We discussed the FAAA Act in great length in our prior opinion. See Am. Trucking II, 559 F.3d at 1053-55. The FAAA Act preempts states from enacting or enforcing "a law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law related to a price, route, or service of any motor carrier." 49 U.S.C. ยง 14501(c)(1). ...


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