American Trucking Associations and Airlines for America on Feb. 9 filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a request by Penske Logistics that the high court overturn an appeals court decision upholding California’s meal-break law.
ATA and the principal trade organization for U.S. airlines said the meal-break law violates the federal pre-emption law that ensures that deregulated trucking and airline industries are not “underminded by a patchwork of state-level impediments to the safe and efficient flow of commerce.”
In January, Penske asked the high court to review a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the law that requires employers to provide a “duty-free” 30-minute meal break for employees who work more than five hours a day, plus a second “duty-free” 30-minute meal break for employees who work more than 10 hours a day.
The Supreme Court has not yet said whether it will hear the case.
The joint amicus brief argued that real-world trucking operations are complex, involving carefully engineered logistical networks to maximize efficiency and subject to serious disruption by state-level break requirements.
“In many cases, carriers’ operations are timed carefully to take advantage of the full flexibility offered by the federal hours-of-service rules,” the amicus brief said. “Application of California’s break requirements would make that impossible.”