Arizona Court Rules Swift Must Face Employee Claims in Court

September 07, 2011

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After eight years of legal proceedings, an Arizona Supreme Court ruling has concluded that truckers working for Swift who claim the company routinely shorts drivers for mileage may take their case to trial.

The truckers, represented by Hagens Berman, claim that Swift uses an artificial calculation that results in drivers being paid for significantly fewer miles than they actually drive.

The Arizona Supreme Court declined to review a trial court's decision to certify a broad class action based on a 2008 appellate court decision that was vacated, which means the case will now proceed to trial.

"We are pleased that the court agreed with us that Swift drivers deserve to take this case to trial," said Rob Carey, a partner in the Phoenix office of Hagens Berman. "We believe that the company illegally took millions in unpaid wages from its drivers."

According to the complaint, originally filed Jan. 30, 2004, in the Superior Court of the State of Arizona for the County of Maricopa, Swift short-changed drivers using a database that, on average, shorts drivers a significant percentage of their mileage, and hence their pay. The suit claims that by basing per-mile pay on mileages calculated by software rather than actual miles driven, Swift underpaid drivers 7 to 10 percent.

"We believe that the software program chosen by Swift is not compatible with the company's obligations under the drivers' employment agreements," said Carey. "We look forward to pointing out this inconsistency in court and recovering drivers' lost wages."

The class in the case encompasses all drivers and owner-operators who worked for Swift on or after Jan. 30, 1998. Leonel Garza is the lead plaintiff in the case.

Swift has not replied to our requests to comment on the case.

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