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Vosch v. Werner Continental Inc.

May 14, 1984

CAROL JEAN VOSCH, EXECUTRIX OF THE LAST WILL OF CHARLES LOWRY, DECEASED, DAVID GAIBIS AND OTHERS SIMILARY SITUATED APPELLEES
v.
WERNER CONTINENTAL, INC., APPELLANT



On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Adams and Sloviter, Circuit Judges, and Kelly, District Judge.*fn*

Author: Adams

Opinion OF THE COURT

ADAMS, Circuit Judge.

David Gaibis and Charles Lowry were employed as over-the-road drivers by Werner Continental, Inc. (Werner) at its break-bulk terminal in West Middlesex, Pennsylvania. Werner, a freight carrier certified by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), was acquired in January 1979 by Hall's Motor Transit Company (Hall's).

After having been dismissed from their jobs for "chronic and habitual absenteeism," Gaibis and Lowry brought suit under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185 (1976), and the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 216 (1976). The plaintiffs asked that three grievance awards affirming their dismissal be set aside and that Hall's be enjoined from requiring its drivers to comply with the company's dispatch system. The district court granted this relief, and Hall's filed a timely notice of appeal.*fn1 Because the complaint did not state a cause of action upon which relief may be granted, we must now vacate the judgment of the district court.

I

Freight loads are dispatched from Hall's West Middlesex complex as they become available. Hall's drivers receive their assignments by way of a telephone dispatch system that must meet the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR's) governing driving hours and rest periods of interstate drivers. These regulations are promulgated by the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) of the Department of Transportation and are administered by the FHA's Bureau of Motor Carrier Safety (BMCS).*fn2

Under the FMCSR's, 49 C.F.R. § 395.1 et seq. (1982), drivers must maintain an hour-by-hour log and must attribute their time to one of four categories:

1) Off-duty time (the driver is not on duty and is not required to be ready for work);

2) Driving time (the driver is at the controls of a motor vehicle in operation);

3) On-duty/not-driving time (all time other than driving time from the time a driver begins work or is required to be ready for work until he is relieved from work and responsibility for performing work); and

4) Sleeping berth (a category not relevant to this litigation).

The federal safety regulations require that drivers be given eight hours of off-duty time after ten hours of driving time or fifteen hours of on-duty time. Under its dispatch system, Hall's may inform a drive by telephone that a load is available any time after the completion of the statutory rest period. Because the demand for freight services is unpredictable, a telephone dispatch may come at any time. Hall's directs its drivers to log time awaiting telephone dispatch as ...


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