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

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: June 13, 2013
Case #: 11-798
Kagan, J., delivered the Court’s unanimous opinion. Thomas, J., filed a concurring opinion.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/11-798_anbf.pdf

Preemption: The Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (FAAAA) preempts state or local government regulations requiring a placard with a driving safety contact phone number and an off-street parking plan for trucks not in service.

Respondent, who manages the Port of Los Angeles, created the “Clean Truck Program.” The “Clean Truck Program” created a Concession Agreement for drayage trucks who wished to access the Port of Los Angles and included requirements for drayage trucks to display a placard with a driving safety contact phone number and include an off-street truck parking plan for trucks not in service. In order for drayage trucks to enter Port facilities they had to adhere to the Concession Agreement or face a misdemeanor criminal penalty. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the validity of the “Clean Truck Program” Concession Agreement.   

The Supreme Court reversed in part and remanded for further proceedings, holding that the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (FAAAA) preempts the Concession Agreement’s provisions requiring a placard on trucks displaying a driving safety contact phone number and an off-street truck parking plan for trucks not in service. The Court noted that FAAAA §14501(c)(1) states “[A] State [or local government] may not enact or enforce a law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law related to a price, route, or service of any motor carrier . . . with respect to the transportation of property.” The Court reasoned that §14501(c)(1) creates a boundary between an exercise in government regulatory authority and the government’s ability to create contracts; when Respondent created criminal penalties for violation of the of the placard and parking plan provisions of the Concession Agreement it was not engaged in the creation of a contract, but utilized regulatory authority that was preempted by FAAAA §14501(c)(1).