Rejecting a challenge to Motor Carrier Act exempt status, Judge Keith P. Ellison of the Southern District of Texas recently ruled that drivers for a meat distribution company were subject to DOT regulation and engaged in interstate commerce driving trucks with gross vehicle weight excess of 10,000 pounds and thus exempt.  Vanzzini v. Action Meat Distribs., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13781 (S.D. Tex. Jan. 31, 2014).

Plaintiffs in Vanzzini argued that documentation produced in discovery created a question of fact concerning whether some of Defendant’s trucks weighed less than 10,000 pounds, taking them outside of MCA exemption coverage under the Technical Corrections Act.  The uncontroverted evidence on summary judgment, however, established that most drivers drove exclusively qualifying vehicles with gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more and “either actually were, or could have been, given assignments to drive across state lines.”  The Court also noted in applying the exemptions that the drivers had valid commercial driver’s licenses, received the relevant regulations (including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations), were required to log their time driving, were required to make pre-trip DOT inspections, and to undergo drug tests.