Ninth Circuit Upholds Port of Los Angeles Concession Program Against Preliminary Challenges; Trial in the Central District of California Set for April 20, 2010

March 10, 2010

A panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Christina Snyder of the United States District Court for the Central District of California issued significant rulings in the litigation between the American Trucking Associations, Inc. (“ATA”) and our client, the City of Los Angeles, involving the concession program implemented in 2008 by the Port of Los Angeles (the “Port”) as part of its landmark Clean Truck Program. Under that program, motor carriers wishing to provide short-haul or “drayage” trucking services at the Port must enter into concession agreements with the Port. ATA sued the City of Los Angeles in the Central District of California in July 2008, asserting that the concession program was preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (the “FAAA Act”) and was unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause. On February 24, 2010, the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion upholding the concession program and most of its provisions against preliminary challenges by ATA. And on March 1, 2010, Judge Snyder determined that remaining factual issues in the case warranted a trial on the merits, which will take place on April 20, 2010, in Los Angeles.

Commenting on the Ninth Circuit’s decision, Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa stated:  “The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling to allow concession agreements to continue at the Port of Los Angeles is good news for all of us who live and work in Southern California. The concession agreement with hundreds of trucking companies has helped put more than 6,000 clean trucks on the roads around the Port, reducing port truck emissions by at least 70 percent. We are hopeful that the trial court will uphold the full concession agreement to provide full accountability and sustainability of the Clean Truck Program in the future.”  The team consisted of Steven S. Rosenthal (Partner, Washington, DC Office), Alan Palmer (Special Counsel, Washington, DC Office), David L. Cousineau, Susanna Chu (both Associates, Washington, DC Office), Stephanie Cohen, Mary Rubino (both Legal Assistants, Washington, DC Office), and all of Kaye Scholer’s Washington, DC office.

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