News & Commentary

August 2, 2017

Melissa Greenberg

Melissa Greenberg is a student at Harvard Law School.

Yesterday, Judge Robert S. Lasnik of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington issued an order dismissing all claims in Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America v. City of Seattle, a case challenging the validity of a Seattle ordinance allowing independent contractors in the for hire and taxicab transportation industries to negotiate collectively with driver coordinators like Uber and Lyft.  The plaintiffs in this case claimed that Seattle’s ordinance contravened federal antitrust law, was preempted by the National Labor Relations Act, and violated state law.  Judge Lasnik had previously enjoined the ordinance citing potential antitrust concerns, but he stated “that this Order [enjoining the ordinance] should not be read as a harbinger of what the ultimate decision in this case will be when all dispositive motions are fully briefed and considered.”  After examining the motion to dismiss, “[t]he Court [found] that the City’s role in enacting and enforcing the Ordinance, including authorizing private parties in the for-hire transportation industry to collectively bargain, is immune from suit under the federal antitrust laws.”  Per Judge Lasnik’s order granting the motion to dismiss, the injunction will remain in place until the court rules on a motion to dismiss in a related case, Clark v. City of Seattle.  The order granting the motion to dismiss can be found here.  

In immigration news, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker introduced a bill in the legislature in response to a recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision in Lunn v. Commonwealth, which found “that Massachusetts law provides no authority for Massachusetts court officers to arrest and hold an individual solely on the basis of a Federal civil immigration detainer, beyond the time that the individual would otherwise be entitled to be released from State custody.”  Governor Baker’s bill seeks to fill this “statutory gap” and provide law enforcement with the power to fulfill ICE detainer requests.  The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition and the Massachusetts American Civil Liberties Union have come out in opposition to the bill.  Read more here.

The New York Times reports that Sea-Tac’s $15 minimum wage has not deterred the growth of the hotel industry in the city.  Sea-Tac is expected to add an additional 7,000 hotel rooms, a 25 percent increase from current capacity, as a result of hotel development.   The hoteliers interviewed in the article suggested that they were willing to pay higher wages to compete for reliable employees.  Recently, the economic impacts of a $15 minimum wage have been the subject of debate in nearby Seattle.  Read more here.  

Also from the New York Times, the newspaper examined the veracity of President Donald Trump’s statements on joblessness and the nation’s “business spirit.”  Trump has declared that his presidency has seen the best economic numbers in years.”  The Times describes the accuracy of his statements as “mixed.”  Read more here.

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