CHARLESTON – Two West Virginia trucking companies are suing over claims a new ordinance prohibiting heavy trucks in Morgantown is unlawful.
Nuzum Trucking Company and Preston Contractors Inc. filed a lawsuit Oct. 17 in Kanawha Circuit Court against the city of Morgantown, West Virginia, and the West Virginia Department of Transportation, Division of Highways, citing an allegedly unlawful ordinance.
According to the complaint, on Sept. 2, the Morgantown City Council passed a heavy truck ordinance prohibiting trucks from operating in Morgantown's B4 business district, which prevents the plaintiffs from using state highways and truck routes that go through the district, and thus, prevents the plaintiffs from operating their businesses economically.
The plaintiffs say they particularly use W.Va. 7 to efficiently transport products around the Morgantown business district.
The complaint states the ordinance is unlawful, as exclusive control of state roads belongs to the commissioner of highways, and though allegedly instated to address safety concerns, the ordinance fails to prevent the most cited traffic violators from transversing the business district.
According to the lawsuit, the ordinance was first introduced in 2005 and then reintroduced in 2013 by a group called "Safe Streets of Morgantown," but on both occasions the state highway department gave evidence that the ordinance was not within the municipality's power. The plaintiffs say the ordinance was passed anyway and constitutes municipal intrusion into intrastate and interstate commerce.
The plaintiffs are suing pursuant to state preemption and federal preemption, and the defendants are accused of violating state and federal equal protection, U.S.C. 1983, and the constitution's contract clause.
The plaintiffs seek an injunction preventing the enforcement of the heavy truck ordinance and attorney fees.
They represented by attorneys Paul R. Cranston and James B. Shockley of Cranston & Edwards in Morgantown. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib Jr.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 14-C-1877