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District Court holds that truck driver’s reports concerning condition of vehicles was protected conduct under STAA and could support retaliation claim.
In Manske v. UPS Cartage Services, Inc., 870 F.Supp.2d 185 (D.Me.,2012), the district court followed established precedent in allowing such claims to proceed:
Other circuits have reached the same conclusion. In Dalton v. United States Department of Labor, 58 Fed.Appx. 442 (10th Cir.2003), the Tenth Circuit concluded that a driver who had been fired after refusing to operate a truck due to his concerns about the safety of the truck’s cables had made a complaint to his supervisor that was protected under the STAA. In Moon v. Transport Drivers, Inc., 836 F.2d 226 (6th Cir.1987), the Sixth Circuit noted that driver reports to a superior about defective conditions in a company truck were protected activity under the STAA. Similarly, in Yellow Freight Systems, Inc. v. Reich, 38 F.3d 76 (2d Cir.1994), a driver’s complaint about the truck’s lack of adequate power “constituted activity protected by the ‘because’ clause of the STAA” and the Court held that the employer “discharged him as a result of his engagement in this protected activity.” Id. at 85. Significantly, in Dalton, Moon, and Yellow Freight, the drivers reported the defective conditions to their supervisor or manager and in Yellow Freight, the driver completed a DVIR. Dalton, 58 Fed.Appx. at 443–44; Moon, 836 F.2d at 228; Yellow Freight, 38 F.3d at 78–79.The Court rejects Cartage’s attempt to infuse WPA standards into an STAA.