Transportation Law Update: Review of Recent Case Law and Regulatory Updates
The Whitfield & Eddy Law Transportation Practice Group reviewed important federal cases and their impact on the transportation industry in their August 2021 meeting. Trucking and transportation companies across the U.S. have relied upon our counsel to guide their responses to emerging legal and regulatory issues. The presentation focused on various federal court decisions and regulatory guidance issued by the US Department of Labor and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Transportation law-related matters addressed include:
- Under the Biden administration, the United States Department of Labor has rescinded the rules relating to independent contractors and joint employers. USDOL Rescinds Independent Contractor and Joint Employer Rules. We previously reported on the adoption of the rules. Are You My Employer? Joint Employer Law.
- We previously reported on litigationin Rhode Island concerning tolls aimed at the trucking industry. Following remand from the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the District Court revisited the case. When Is a Toll a Tax - Round Two. The case continues.
- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently issued a Final Rule making some changes to the Hours of Service Rules. The Final Rule was effective September 29, 2020 and is accessible online. Under this Final Rule there are four major changes involving limits for on-duty short-haul operations, adverse driving conditions, split-sleeper options, and breaks. The rule making was appealed and the new administration has requested that the case be held in abeyance while the rules undergo further review. FMSCA’s New Hours of Service Rule Appeal Update.
- Update on a class action in federal district court in Arkansas which has implications on whether time spent in a sleeper berth constitutes hours worked for purposes of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. DOL Opinion Letter Does Not Derail Sleeper Berth Case.
- The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit vacated a ruling from the District Court for the District of Nebraska, holding that the district court abused its discretion when it erroneously admitted a supplemental expert report from plaintiffs. Eighth Circuit Reverses Significant Jury Verdict in Trucking Case.
- The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed a district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of common carriers under the Carmack Amendment’s (“Carmack”) preemption, finding that Carmack does not preempt a third-party personal injury claim. Eighth Circuit Holds Carmack Amendment Not a Bar to Personal Injury Claim .
- The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed a district court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of TransAm Trucking (“TransAm”), finding that CRST Expedited (“CRST”) presented sufficient evidence of its intentional interference with a contract claim and its unjust enrichment claim to preclude summary judgment. Appellate Court Finds Cause of Action for Driver Poaching.
- The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit decided a case on potential violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The Motor Carrier Act Exception to the Fair Labor Standards Act.
- On June 18, 2020, Governor Kim Reynolds signed Senate File 2296 into law. Click for link to Senate File 2296. Iowa Legislature Clarifies Law on Independent Contractors in Transportation.
- The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld FMCSA’s order regarding California’s Meal and Rest Break Rules(MRB) and FMCSA’s Hours of Service Rules (HOS). FMCSA Prevails on Challenge to California's Meal and Rest Break Rules.
- Anthony Ayala, and the certified class of truck drivers (“Ayala”), appealed a California district court decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. See Docket No. 20-55981. Piece Rate Pay for Nondriving Work and the decision was affirmed. Transportation Law Update: Ninth Circuit Rules on Piece-Rate Pay Case.