Tommy Tutone’s 1982 hit “867-5309/Jenny”, which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, is one of those earworms that take forever to leave you once heard. Back then, the song became so popular that people in the United States to this day dial this telephone number and ask for Jenny as a prank. Regarding the famous number, “We had people threatening to sue us. It was the Buffalo Chief of Police’s daughter’s number in New York,” said frontman Tommy Heath.
So, who has it now? You’ll never guess.
The American Trucking Association is currently in court with the City Of Los Angeles, CA is seeking an injunction over leases marine terminal facilities to operators that load cargo onto and unload it from docking ships.
The Port of Los Angeles, a division of the City of Los Angeles, is the largest port in the country. The Port owns marine terminal facilities, which it leases to “terminal operators” (such as shipping lines and stevedoring companies) that load cargo onto and unload it from docking ships. Short-haul trucks, called “drayage trucks,” move the cargo into and out of the Port. The trucking companies providing those drayage services are all federally licensed motor carriers. Before the events giving rise to this case, they contracted with terminal operators to transport cargo, but did not enter into agreements with the Port itself.
The City’s Board of Harbor Commissioners runs the Port pursuant to a municipal ordinance known as a tariff, which sets out various regulations and charges. In the late 1990’s, the Board decided to enlarge the Port’s facilities to accommodate more ships. Neighborhood and environmental groups objected to the proposed expansion, arguing that it would increase congestion and air pollution and decrease safety in the surrounding area. A lawsuit they brought, and another they threatened, stymied the Board’s development project for almost 10 years.
To address the community’s concerns, the Board implemented a Clean Truck Program beginning in 2007. Among other actions, the Board devised a standard-form “concession agreement” to govern the relationship between the Port and any trucking company seeking to operate on the premises. Under that contract, a company may transport cargo at the Port in exchange for complying with various requirements. The two directly at issue here compel the company to (1) affix a placard on each truck with a phone number for reporting environmental or safety concerns (You’ve seen the type: “How am I driving? 213–867–5309”) and (2) submit a plan listing off-street parking locations for each truck when not in service. Three other provisions in the agreement, formerly disputed in this litigation, relate to the company’s financial capacity, its maintenance of trucks, and its employment of drivers.
Somewhere, Tommy Tutone doesn’t know this. Yet.