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Judge Roger Benítez ruled that AB5 does not violate the Constitution and any issues with it should be addressed politically

In 2019, California passed the AB5 law for worker classification. The California Trucking Association filed a lawsuit, leading a district court to issue a preliminary injunction against the law’s enforcement in the trucking sector, which remained in effect until the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case in June 2022.

Recently, after years of legal battles, a federal judge in California issued the final decision, rejecting arguments that the state’s independent contractor law should be exempt from regulation in the trucking industry. Judge Roger Benítez ruled that AB5 does not violate the Constitution and any issues with it should be addressed politically.

Benítez dismissed the case filed by the California Trucking Association and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), along with the state attorney general and the Teamsters as defendants. This decision contradicts Benítez’s preliminary injunction issued in 2019, which kept AB5 out of the trucking sector for several years.

En la imagen se muestra una carretera de California

Arguments and Final Ruling on AB5

The California Trucking Association and OOIDA argued that AB5 eliminates the independent contractor business model for truck drivers and violates the U.S. and California constitutions, affecting out-of-state drivers.

Benítez assessed arguments regarding the superiority of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) over AB5 but determined that the FAAAA does not explicitly oppose AB5. He also rejected the notion of an implicit preference in the FAAAA, suggesting that drivers can comply with both federal and state laws. Additionally, he dismissed Congress’s concerns about AB5, focusing on the prices, routes, and services of carriers, not driver classification.

Benítez declined to issue a new injunction and ruled in favor of the state in all lawsuits, including rejecting arguments that AB5 violates the Commerce Clause, protecting interstate commerce from undue burdens and state discrimination.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association disagreed with Benítez’s ruling and is exploring all options to move forward, including a possible appeal.


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