Injunction on Trucking Law Nixed

Article excerpt

An attempt to stave off congressionally mandated deregulation of intrastate trucking was shut down, perhaps only briefly, when a federal judge Friday ruled the action is constitutional and refused to grant an injunction stopping enforcement of the law.

Oklahoma, Montana, Kansas and Michigan, along with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and a trucking industry coalition, had sought to stop implementation of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994, claiming Section 601 of that law was unconstitutional. The plaintiffs also had requested a court order prohibiting implementation of the law.

But in his order released late Friday, David L. Russell, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, said the law meets constitutional requirements.

"Section 601 (of the FAA act). . .is not unconstitutional under either the commerce clause or the guarantee clause of the United States Constitution and does not violate the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution," Russell's order read. "Plaintiffs' complaints for declaratory and injunctive relief are denied."

Although officials in the states concerned could not be reached late Friday, attorney Richard Labarthe, of the Oklahoma City law firm of Mock Schwabe Waldo Elder Reeves and Bryant, guessed that an appeal would be filed.

"Since I represent only the Teamsters and the Coalition (Against Federal Pre-emption of State Motor Carrier Regulation), I can't speak for any of the states involved," he said after the ruling was issued. "But my feeling is that an appeal will be filed.

"I would guess that the parties concerned will meet this weekend and determine whether to get together later to see if an appeal will be filed.

"It's fair to say that I don't agree with (Russell's) order. But this issue is so complicated and somewhat esoteric in legal terms that there's plenty of room for disagreement.

"My feeling is that an appeal will be filed because this is important enough in terms of public involvement and public policy and determination about the 10th Amendment issues that it should go up to the 10th Circuit (Court of Appeals) and perhaps on to the (U. …