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Nyswaner v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc.

United States District Court, D. Arizona

January 3, 2019

Robert Nyswaner, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
C.H. Robinson Worldwide Incorporated, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          G. Murray Snow Chief United States District Judge.

         Pending before the Court is Defendant C.H. Robinson Worldwide Incorporated's (“Robinson's”) Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 35). For the following reasons, the motion is denied.

         BACKGROUND

         At the summary judgment stage, “[t]he evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor, ” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). Disputed facts are “viewed in the light most favorable to” Plaintiff Robert Nyswaner, the non-moving party. See Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007).

         C.H. Robinson Worldwide Incorporated (“Robinson”) is a federally licensed property freight broker that contracts with motor carriers to haul freight shipments. (Doc. 36, ¶¶ 1-2). In August 2015, Robinson contracted with Luga Transportation to transport Glyphosate from Texas to Arizona. (Doc. 26 ¶ 6). While transporting the Glyphosate, Manuel Prado, an employee of Luga Transportation, lost control of the trailer-truck, which rolled over on its side and blocked the lanes of the interstate near Gila Bend. (Doc. 26 ¶ 9). Following the rollover, Plaintiff Robert Nyswaner collided with the trailer-truck and asserts that he suffered injuries as a result. (Doc. 26, ¶ 11).

         Mr. Nyswaner filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court against Luga Transportation and Mr. Prado. That case settled. (Doc. 42-1 at 1). Mr. Nyswaner then filed this lawsuit against Robinson, seeking damages under several different legal theories. (Doc. 1, Doc. 11).

         In its Motion for Summary Judgment, Robinson raises a single issue: whether the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (“FAAAA”) preempts Mr. Nyswaner's claim that Robinson negligently hired Luga Transportation to provide services.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Analysis

         1. The Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act

         In 1994, Congress sought to deregulate certain aspects of the trucking industry, and enacted the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (“FAAAA”). “Concerned that state regulation impeded the free flow of trade, traffic, and transportation of interstate commerce, Congress resolved to displace certain aspects of the State regulatory process. The target at which it aimed was a State's direct substitution of its own governmental commands for competitive market forces in determining the services that motor carriers will provide.” Dan's City Used Cars, 569 U.S. 251, 263 (2013). The FAAAA's “driving concern was preventing States from replacing market forces with their own, varied commands, like telling carriers they had to provide services not yet offered in the marketplace.” California Trucking Ass'n v. Su, 903 F.3d 953, 961 (9th Cir. 2018) (internal citation and quotation marks omitted). To create parity between air and motor carriers, Congress enacted a preemption clause that is nearly identical to the Airline Deregulation Act. Californians for Safe & Competitive Dump Truck Transp. v. Mendonca, 152 F.3d 1184, 1187 (9th Cir. 1998). “The one difference between the Airline Deregulation Act and the FAAAA is that the latter contains the additional phrase ‘with respect to the transportation of property,' which is absent from the Airline Deregulation Act and which ‘massively limits the scope of preemption ordered by the FAAAA.'” Dilts v. Penske Logistics, LLC, 769 F.3d 637, 644 (9th Cir. 2014) (citing Dan's City Used Cars, 569 U.S. at 260).

         An “inquiry into the scope of a statute's pre-emptive effect is guided by the rule that the purpose of Congress is the ultimate touchstone in every pre-emption case.” Altria Group, Inc. v. Good, 555 U.S. 70, 76 (2008) (internal quotation marks omitted). When analyzing Congressional intent, courts must be “mindful of the adage that Congress does not cavalierly preempt state law causes of action.” Montalvo v. Spirit Airlines, 508 F.3d 464, 471 (9th Cir. 2007). This is particularly true where “Congress neither provided nor suggested any substitute for the traditional state court procedure for collecting damages for injuries caused by tortious conduct.” United Const. Workers v. Laburnum Const. Corp., 347 U.S. 656, 663-664 (1954).

         In cases of express preemption, courts look to the text of the preemption clause “which necessarily contains the best evidence of Congress' preemptive intent.” CSX Transp., Inc. v. Easterwood, 507 U.S. 658, 664 (1993). The FAAAA provides: “States may not enact or enforce a law . . . or other provision having the force and effect of law . . . related to a price, route, or service of any . . .broker. . . with respect to the transportation of property.” 49 U.S.C. § 14501 (c)(2)(A). The phrase “other provision having a force of law” can include traditional common law claims. See Northwest Inc. v. Ginsberg, 572 U.S. 273, 284 (2014).

         The Ninth Circuit has repeatedly analyzed the scope of the FAAAA's preemption clause, as well as the similar preemption clause of the ADA. See California Trucking Ass'n, 903 F.3d at 957 (finding that a California common law standard was not preempted by the FAAAA); Hickcox-Huffman v. U.S. Airways Inc., 855 F.3d 1057, 1062 (9th Cir. 2017) (finding that a state breach of contract claim was not preempted by the ADA); National Federation of the Blind v. United Airlines Inc., 813 F.3d 718, (9th Cir. 2016) (holding that the ADA does not preempt claims under California's antidiscrimination laws); Dilts v. Penske Logistics, LLC, 769 F.3d 637, 640 (9th Cir. 2014) (holding that the FAAAA did not preempt California's meal and rest break laws because they were not “related to” prices, routes, or services); Californians for Safe & Competitive Dump Truck Transp., 152 F.3d at 1184 (holding that the FAAAA did not preempt the ...


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