More than a month and half after the FBI and IRS raided the headquarters of truckstop operator Pilot Flying J as part of an investigation it cheated some customers, and around a dozen lawsuits later, there is a move to boil the amount of litigation down.
Attorneys for one trucking operation that has case pending are seeking to have several of the lawsuits consolidated and handled in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper.
The motion was filed last week for lawyers representing Ohio Auto Delivery, which filed a class action earlier this month. Many of the lawsuits that have been filed against Pilot Flying J are seeking class action status, make similar claims and are in federal court in various parts of the country.
Attorneys pushing for the consolidation cited the court’s expertise and efficiency in handling such complex cases. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is set to consider the request next month.
So far there has been little reaction by attorneys in the other cases or the litigants, except for those representing a Mississippi truck driver, who filed a federal lawsuit more than a month ago his home state. They agree many of the suits should be combined, but they want it adjudicated in Jackson, Mississippi, not Ohio.
Pilot Flying J and CEO Jimmy Haslam have denied the company was involved in a plan to cheat trucking customers out of rebates based on fuel purchases. Since serving several search warrants on the company headquarters, and that of some executives, some employees have been placed on administrative leave while the company says it conducts its own internal investigation. Already two employees have pled guilty to charges they were involved in such a scheme but have yet to be sentenced.