Transportation Law

Ted Agniel, Esquire

Plaintiff employees of trash hauler were properly barred from overtime pay under Federal Labor Standards Act because employees were exempt under the Motor Carrier Act. Graham, et al. v. Town and Country Disposal of Western Missouri, No. 2011 WL4378005 (Mo. App. W.D., Sept. 20, 2011), Laughrey, J.

This suit involved a trucking company engaged in picking up and hauling trash across state lines. Fifty plaintiffs who were current and former employees of Town & County Disposal of Western Missouri sued in a collective action seeking relief under the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for unpaid overtime.

  The Western District of Missouri entered summary judgment for defendant Town & Country holding that, although the FLSA applied to Town & Country, it was exempted under the Motor Carrier Act (MCA). The court found that Town & Country met the three criteria that brought it within MCA’s exemption:  First, the DOT had jurisdiction over Town & Country because its trucks were all registered with the DOT and had DOT registration numbers. Town & Country was subject to inspection and audits by the DOT. Its drivers complied with inspection requirements and hours of service limitations. In addition, Town & Country met the second and third criteria for exemption, defining plaintiffs as “loaders” under the MCA and finding that they were engaged in and used their judgment and discretion in activities that directly affected vehicles within interstate commerce. As a result, the court held that plaintiffs had no viable claim under the FLSA because Town & Country was exempted under the Motor Carrier Act.

Municipality’s ordinance regarding red light intersectional cameras was constitutional. Violation of the ordinance did not constitute a “moving” violation. City of Creve Coeur v. Nottebrok, No. 96396 (Mo. App. E.D., October 25, 2011), Dowd, Hoff, and Sullivan “per curiam”

The City of Creve Couer’s camera photographed Appellant Nottebrok’s vehicle traveling through a red light at an intersection. The City issued a ticket to her for a $100 fine. When she failed to respond to the ticket, the City issued a Notice to Appear before the City’s municipal court. Nottebrok filed a motion to dismiss alleging that her due process rights under the U. S. and Missouri Constitutions had been violated because the City did not have probable cause to believe she had violated the City’s red light ordinance. She further alleged that the Ordinance conflicted with Missouri law because RSMo. Chapter 302 required assessments of points for moving violations, but the City’s ordinance expressly disallowed the assessment of points. The municipal court found her guilty of violating the Ordinance. On trial de novo, the trial court denied her motion to dismiss, found her guilty of violating the City’s ordinance.

Held: Affirmed.
Missouri municipalities may make rules of the road for traffic violations by ordinance so long as they are not contrary to or in conflict with the State’s statutes. The City’s ordinance was properly enacted pursuant to the City’s police power and did not violate Missouri law. The City was not required to prove that appellant was the driver of the vehicle at the time of the violation. Although the Ordinance did not assess points, it specifically stated that a violation was not a “moving” violation.

Plaintiff owner-operators could not obtain civil damages from Defendant receiver because they failed to show they had not been reimbursed for expenses related to unloading operations. OOIDA v. Supervalu, Inc., (8th Cir., October 19, 2011), Smith, J.

OOIDA, the owner-operator Independent Drivers Association, Inc. and two members sued Supervalu, Inc. seeking civil damages for reimbursement of fees associated with the loading and unloading of trucks at Supervalu facilities. Plaintiffs claimed that Supervalu was compelling OOIDA truckers to purchase Supervalu’s unloading services at their own costs with no subsequent reimbursement.  Plaintiffs asked the court to follow 49 U.S.C. § 14103(a) to impose an unqualified duty on receivers such as Supervalu to compensate delivery persons where the receivers require the delivery persons to obtain unloading services. Plaintiffs admitted that their drivers had received some reimbursement from the respective shippers. They claimed, however, that that was irrelevant to Supervalu’s duty to compensate under § 14103(a).  The district court entered summary judgment for Supervalu.

Held: The 8th Circuit Affirmed
. Compensation for loading and unloading services is a market decision that should be established contractually. The legislative history of § 14103(a) showed it was not intended to “impose on any particular party an unqualified duty to reimburse” for loading or unloading fees. The plaintiffs failed to show that they had not been reimbursed by either the shipper or the receiver. A concurring opinion advised that § 14103 provides only injunctive relief for a violation by a shipper or a receiver.