Federal judge transfer OOIDA’s CARB lawsuit to Court of Appeals

Land Line staff

In an important ruling handed down on July 9, 2015, a federal judge presiding over OOIDA’s challenge to the constitutionality of CARB’s Truck and Bus Regulation transferred the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

The ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California stated that the court is “highly sympathetic to the position in which many of OOIDA’s members find themselves, where they, primarily small-business owners, are being required to expend thousands of dollars just to continue operating in California.”

The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of citations and fines CARB has issued to OOIDA’s named plaintiff Jack Cody and other OOIDA members because CARB’s enforcement actions interfere with interstate commerce in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Last October, Cody was issued a citation penalizing him up to $1,500 per month per vehicle for violating the regulation. To clear the violation, Cody must pay the penalty and prove his vehicle or fleet has been brought into compliance. Absent compliance, defendants purportedly may refuse to register or may seize Cody’s truck or trucks.

The court’s transfer order did not reach the merits of OOIDA’s challenge; however, OOIDA President Jim Johnston said “it is a very encouraging sign that he rejected CARB’s arguments that the regulation cannot be challenged in any federal court.”

Johnston said OOIDA is also aggressively challenging CARB’s practices in the California state courts, with the expectation that the merits will ultimately be resolved in favor of owner-operators and against CARB.

OOIDA and plaintiffs originally initiated this action against CARB on Dec. 6, 2013, alleging that the Truck and Bus Regulation discriminates against out-of-state truckers in violation of the Commerce Clause.

At the time OOIDA originally filed the case none of the plaintiffs had actually been cited for violating the regulation and therefore the judge dismissed those claims. However, because Cody had been cited the judge found his claim should proceed to the appellate court. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals should resolve the rights of all owner-operators. LL