New Pilot Flying J Lawsuits Continue Despite Settlement
August 15, 2013
More lawsuits have been filed against Pilot Flying J by fleets who aren't interested in the settlement agreement. (Photo by Evan Lockridge)
While truckstop giant Pilot Flying J has reached a tentative settlement over claims it bilked trucking customers out of money due to them in the form of rebates from fuel purchases, it appears to have had little effect in stopping increasing litigation.
Two New Jersey-based fleets, National Retail Transportation and Keystone Freight, are the latest of more than 20 that have filed lawsuits following federal agents raiding Pilot Flying J’s Knoxville headquarters four months ago as part of an investigation.
The two carriers, which share the same address in North Bergen, originally filed the lawsuit in New Jersey court in June but they were recently transferred to federal court, where most of the other lawsuits are being heard against Pilot Flying J in varying cities.
National Retail operates 285 trucks while Keystone Freight has a little more than 500, according to federal records.
The suits claim Pilot Flying J "executives, directors, principals, sales agents, administrative staff conspired to reduce the amount of payments made under the rebate program... to increase their profits." Like most of the other suits it is seeking restitution, damages, attorney’s fees and court costs.
This follows Georgia-based Cedar Creek trucking filing a federal lawsuit since the Pilot Flying J reached a class-action settlement with eight customers in July in which it will pay back money owned, along with interest. The settlement has received preliminary approval from an Arkansas federal judge and is expected to be finalized later this year following a fairness hearing, where those who don’t want to take part can be excluded from it.
Some trucking customers are not happy over the settlement but lost a bid more recently to consolidate the remaining around one-dozen lawsuits against the company into a class action.
Cedar Creek has indicated it does not want to be a part of the settlement and is looking to depose Pilot Flying J CEO and Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, along with other current and former truckstop company officers.
So far seven former or current Pilot Flying J employees have pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme, though the company continues to deny any wrongdoing.