On April 28, 2021, the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court’s order preliminarily enjoining enforcement of California Assembly Bill 5 against motor carriers doing business in California.  As readers know, AB 5 codified the “ABC” Test for classifying workers as either employees or independent contractors, as adopted by the California Supreme Court in Dynamex Operations W. v. Superior Ct., 4 Cal. 5th 903 (2018). In California Trucking Association v. Bonta, a split panel of the Ninth Circuit held the district court abused its discretion in enjoining enforcement of AB 5 on the grounds it was preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA). In so holding, the Ninth Circuit determined AB 5 “is a generally applicable labor law that affects a motor carrier’s relationship with its workforce and does not bind, compel, or otherwise freeze into place the prices, routes, or services of motor carriers.” As such, AB 5 is not preempted by the FAAAA. 

In dissent, Judge Bennett wrote that, as applied to California Trucking Association’s members, the FAAAA preempted AB 5 because it both affects a motor carriers’ relationship with their workers and significantly impacts the services motor carriers are able to provide to their customers.


Senior Associate

Recent publications

Subscribe and stay up to date with the latest legal news, information and events . . .