Pilot Flying J lawsuit goes forward

FRANKFORT, KY- Several trucking companies can proceed with claims that truck-stop company Pilot Flying J cheated them out of fuel rebates, a judge ruled Wednesday.

“Pilot’s efforts to delay this case are over,” said Leonard Leicht, an attorney representing one of the trucking firms that opted out of a settlement that resolved most of the lawsuits against Pilot.

Pilot previously agreed to pay out nearly $85 million to 5,500 customers as part of the settlement. The retailer also agreed to pay $92 million in fines and accept responsibility for the criminal conduct of its employees while the government agreed not to prosecute the company.

While the judge allowed two dozen counts to proceed against Pilot, including claims of breach of contract, fraud and negligent misrepresentation, the judge also dismissed more than a dozen other counts.

Pilot attorney Aubrey Harwell commented: “We’re pleased the court dismissed a number of the plaintiffs’ claims and we believe that the remaining efforts by the plaintiffs to collect excessive damages and attorneys’ fees lack merit. We intend to continue to defend against them vigorously.”

Cleveland Browns owner and Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam has said he had no knowledge of the scheme. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam holds an undisclosed ownership share in the company but has said he is not involved in Pilot’s day-to-day operations.

Ten former employees have pleaded guilty to some form of wire or mail fraud since federal agents raided Pilot’s Tennessee headquarters in April 2013.

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