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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Rules AB5 is Not Preempted by Federal Law

On April 28, 2021, in the case California Trucking Association (“CTA”) v. Bonta, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a 2-1 decision that California’s AB-5 law is not preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (“F4A”).  The 9th Circuit Court ruled that the U.S. District Court should not have granted a preliminary injunction that prevented California from applying AB5 to motor carriers and independent owner-operators.

The 9th Circuit decision states AB5 is a “generally applicable labor law” that does not single out motor carriers. The Court further states (without much explanation) that AB5 does not “significantly impact the rates, routes, and services of motor carriers.”

While this ruling is disappointing to many in the transportation industry, the District Court’s preliminary injunction remains in effect for now.  The CTA is expected to file for a rehearing with the full 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  The preliminary injunction will continue to apply while the 9th Circuit considers CTA’s request for a rehearing, and until the 9th Circuit issues a final ruling if it grants the rehearing.

Stay tuned for more news on this important case and feel free to contact our transportation attorneys if you have any questions.


This material in this article, provided by Chauvel & Glatt, is designed to provide informative and current information as of the date of the post. It should not be considered, nor is it intended to constitute legal advice.  For information on your particular circumstances, please contact Chauvel & Glatt at 650-573-9500.



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