Supreme Court Grants Review in LA Port Case
January 11, 2013
On January 11, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court granted ATA’s petition for review of the Ninth Circuit’s decision in its LA Port challenge. ATA challenged a number of conditions the Port sought to impose on carriers providing drayage services to terminal operators at the Port, because the FAAAA prohibits state and local governments from enacting laws, regulations, or provisions having the force and effect of law that are related to the prices, routes, or services of any motor carrier. The Ninth Circuit agreed with ATA that the Port’s ban on independent owner-operators was preempted by federal law, but it created an atextual “market participant” exception under which it held several other provisions at issue to be permissible. The Supreme Court will decide whether the FAAAA includes an unexpressed market participant exception, and will also decide whether denying access to the nation’s busiest container port would constitute an impermissible partial suspension of a motor carrier’s federal operating authority. Oral arguments are likely to be scheduled for some time in April, with a decision likely before the Court’s current term ends in June.