Florida Court Grants Injunction Against Miami-Dade Crane Ordinance

Today, the United States District Court of the Southern District of Florida granted a preliminary injunction which favors crane owners working in Miami-Dade County in Florida.

“This puts us back at square one with no crane safety standard for the State of Florida at this time,” said Bruce Whitten, chairman of the Florida Crane Owners Council, one of the plaintiffs in the case. “We can now double our efforts to bring this issue through the state legislature.” Likewise, Whitten is hopeful that the injunction will discourage other counties in Florida from pursuing the establishment of similar ordinances.

On May 8, plaintiffs represented by the Associated Builders and Contractors Florida East Coast Chapter, Inc. (ABC-FEC), the South Florida Associated General Contractors of America, Inc. (SFAGC), the Florida Crane Owners Council (FCOC”), and the Construction Association of South Florida (“CASF”), filed an emergency motion for preliminary injunction.

The court agreed to grant the injunction for the following reasons:

“(1) Plaintiffs' claim that the Crane Ordinance is preempted by the OSH Act is ripe for review, while Plaintiffs' procedural and substantive due process claims and dormant commerce clause claim are not ripe for review.

(2) Regardless of whether the Ordinance directly conflicts with the OSH Act and OSHA regulations in all of the respects asserted by Plaintiffs, Plaintiffs have established a likelihood of prevailing on their claim that the Crane Ordinance is a dual impact law that directly, substantially, and specifically regulates occupational safety and health, and is preempted by the OSH Act to the extent that it is a non-approved state regulation of occupational safety and health issues governed by the federal standards prescribed in the applicable OSHA regulations, 29 C.F.R. 1926.550 and 1926.552. The preempted provisions of the Crane Ordinance may be severed, and the remaining provisions of the Ordinance may be saved from preemption.

(3) The federal occupational safety and health standards prescribed in 29 C.F.R. 1926.550 and 1926.552, which require employers engaged in construction work to comply with the manufacturer's specifications and limitations applicable to the operation of all cranes and hoists including compliance with DIN wind load standards do not constitute an unlawful delegation of legislative power to an interested private party.

(4) Plaintiffs have met their burden of showing that a preliminary injunction should issue because (a) there is a substantial likelihood of prevailing on the merits; (b) there is a substantial threat of suffering irreparable injury if the injunction is not granted; (c) the threatened injury to Plaintiffs outweighs the threatened harm the injunction may cause Defendant; and (d) granting the preliminary injunction will serve the public interest.”