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July 1, 2022

SCOTUS Denies Review of Truckers’ AB 5 Appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday declined to review the appeal of the California Trucking Association’s (CTA’s) challenge to California’s independent contractor law, AB 5.

Now that the petition for certiorari (review) has been denied, an order to lift the preliminary injunction which has been in place for 2 ½ years preventing the enforcement of AB 5 against motor carriers while the CTA sought review by the Supreme Court, is expected to be transmitted within seven days.

The Supreme Court’s decision marks the end of the road for CTA’s challenge of AB 5’s application to motor carriers.  AB 5 will soon be applied to motor carriers, upending the dominant independent owner model for trucking in the state of California.

Under AB 5’s ABC test (specifically the “B” prong of ABC)  an independent contractor is defined as a worker who is engaged in “work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business,” ensnaring previously independent truckers who will now be deemed to be employees under the California law.

The CTA obtained a preliminary injunction in January 2020 that enjoined the state of California from enforcing AB 5 against motor carriers. Earlier this year, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the injunction order but agreed to leave the injunction in place pending the Supreme Court’s review. The application of AB 5 to motor carriers is anticipated to have harmful impacts on the transportation industry and the state’s supply chain.