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COURT OF APPEAL, FOURTH APPELLATE DISTRICT - page 25 / 29

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price it regulates is not "with respect to the transportation of property" within the meaning of the FAAAA.  It maintains the provision essentially involves debt collection efforts and notices that are not related to "transportation" as the FAAAA defines that term.  Alternatively, plaintiff contends if the lien sale preparation fee regulations are related to transportation, the law falls within the purview of both the safety and nonconsensual towing exceptions.  Defendant, on the other hand, contends the FAAAA generally preempts the regulation because the lien to which the lien sale preparation fees apply is specifically for the recovery of towing and storage charges, and therefore the regulations relate to both a price and a service.  Defendant further contends section 22851.12 does not fall within the safety exception because its condition for charging lien sale preparation fees – requesting a list of lienholders from the DMV – is purely economic protection for consumers.  Defendant finally argues the nonconsensual towing exception does not apply because the lien sale is not "transportation" within the meaning of the FAAAA, and lien sale preparation fees are not a "price" charged for transportation.

As stated, state and local laws are only preempted under the FAAAA where they "relate[] to a price, route, or service" of a motor carrier . . . with respect to the transportation of property."  The question is whether the lien sale preparation fee regulations contained in section 22851.12 have more than an "indirect, remote, or tenuous effect" on any of these matters.  (Independent Towers, supra, 350 F.3d at p. 930; see also Californians for Safe and Competitive Dump Truck Transportation v. Mendonca (9th Cir. 1998) 152 F.3d 1184, 1189 (Mendonca).)  As we read section 22851.12, it is

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