The price tag for Pilot Flying J to settle lawsuits over allegedly failing to give rebates to trucking customers stemming from fuel purchases is close to doubling.

Photo: Evan Lockridge

Photo: Evan Lockridge

The price tag has increased to $72 million, up from an originally estimated $40 million, according to court documents filed this week in U.S. District Court in Little Rock, Ark., where a fairness hearing over the class-action settlement is scheduled for Nov 25.

The amount includes the costs of audits of trucking company accounts, administration, attorney fees and additional $10,000 for each trucking company in “incentive awards.” Attorneys for customers are expected to receive about $14 million.

The settlement includes paying back trucking companies who feel they were cheated by Pilot Flying J over a period of several years, along with interest. It includes all trucking companies who feel they were wronged by the truckstop operator, though an estimated 150 have opted-out for various reasons, with some expected to continue their legal fight due to questions over the settlement’s legitimacy.

The settlement follows an April 15 federal raid on Pilot Flying J’s Knoxville headquarters, as well as other places of business, as part of an investigation the company systematically cheated trucking customers.

Since then more than two-dozen lawsuits have been filed by trucking customers against the company, which continues to deny any wrongdoing. CEO Jimmy Haslam, has also denied any knowledge of such an alleged scheme but has promised to pay back any money customers are owned.

So far seven Pilot Flying J employees have pleaded guilty for their roles, but have yet to be sentenced.