Last week, the Supreme Court announced that it will be handing down its opinion this morning in People ex rel. Harris v. Pac Anchor Transportation, Inc., no. S194388. Harris is a UCL public prosecutor action in which the defendant asserts federal preemption.
When the opinion is posted online at approximately 10:00 a.m., it should be available at this link:
- People ex rel. Harris v. Pac Anchor Transportation, Inc., ___ Cal.4th ___ (Jul. 28, 2014)
This is the issue on review, according to the docket:
Is an action under the Unfair Competition Law (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200 et seq.) that is based on a trucking company's alleged violation of state labor and insurance laws "related to the price, route, or service" of the company and, therefore, preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (49 U.S.C. § 14501)?
The Court of Appeal (Second Appellate District, Division Five) said no. People ex rel. Harris v. Pac Anchor Transportation, Inc., 195 Cal.App.4th 765 (2011), review granted. The introductory paragraph of the Court of Appeal's opinion read as follows:
Plaintiff and appellant State of California appeals from a judgment following an order granting judgment on the pleadings in favor of defendants and respondents Alfredo Barajas and Pac Anchor Transportation, Inc. The State contends the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) (49 U.S.C. § 14501 et seq.) does not preempt this action under California’s unfair competition law (UCL) (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200 et seq.) based on alleged violations of California labor and unemployment insurance laws. We agree the State’s unfair competition action is not related to a price, route, or service of a motor carrier with respect to the transportation of property, and therefore, the action is not preempted by the FAAAA. We reverse.
Slip op. at 1.
UPDATE: The opinion is up. The Supreme Court unanimously held the FAAAA does not preempt the UCL, either in general or as applied to the particular claim brought by the AG against the employer.