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Supreme Court’s AB5 appeal request keeps California trucking injunction in place for now

Lower court decision blocking AB5 from the state’s trucking sector could have been cut down as early as Monday

AB5 will be kept out of California’s trucking sector for at least the foreseeable future.

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday requested that the U.S. solicitor general, which represents the U.S. government before the high court, weigh in on the case of the California Trucking Association (CTA) versus the state’s attorney general, Robert Bonta. 

The court held a conference on CTA’s appeal Friday and there was the possibility that as early as Monday, the court could decline CTA’s request for a review of its lower court defeats in the appellate process. If that review were declined, AB5, and its impact on the hiring of independent contractors, would take effect in the state immediately. 

With the court asking the solicitor general for its view on the issue, it means that the injunction that CTA won at the start of 2020, blocking AB5 from implementation against trucking, will stand for now. While the injunction was handed down by a federal district court right at the time that AB5 was being implemented through the state, two appellate courts later rejected the legal reasoning behind the injunction but allowed it to stand while it made its way through further appeals.

With the Supreme Court now asking for the solicitor general’s views on the legal issue, it means the injunction lives for another day.

The key legal dispute in the courts is whether an early 1990s law, the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act, known as the F4A, would effectively block implementation of AB5 in California. F4A has language that prohibits a state from enacting laws that impact “prices, routes and services.” The district court that handed down the injunction said AB5 did that; the appellate courts disagreed, with the CTA appealing those decisions.  

FreightWaves will continue to report on this story over the course of the day.

More articles by John Kingston

Supreme Court denies review of AB5-related case but law still isn’t impacting California trucking

Fate of California’s AB5 riding on 2 cases seeking Supreme Court review

CTA asks for en banc hearing as it seeks to keep AB5 out of California’s trucking sector

John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.