No Objections to Pilot Flying J Proposed Settlement

Published in CSP Daily News

Only 1% of class members have opted out

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Lawyers for Jimmy Haslam's Pilot Flying J renewed their plea for a federal judge to accept a proposed settlement of fraud claims against the truckstop chain, saying it is a "near certainty" that trucking companies would not receive anything more by pursuing litigation on their own, reported The Plain Dealer.

"The settlement is fair, adequate and reasonable for the class, as confirmed by the fact that no class member chose to object and only approximately 1% opted out," Pilot Flying J said in a 39-page filing cited by the newspaper.

U.S. District Judge James Moody is scheduled to conduct a fairness hearing on the proposed settlement on Nov. 25 in Little Rock, Ark.

While Pilot Flying J's lawyers contend no class member has chosen to protest the settlement, more than 60 trucking companies continue to push forward with separate claims, said the report.

The filing says the settlement would include $55 million in direct rebate payments to trucks, plus 6% interest, up to $14 million in legal fees and payment by Pilot Flying J of auditing and other costs.

The settlement offer from Pilot Flying J is designed to resolve most lawsuits filed across the country in the wake of an FBI raid on the company's headquarters in April. Agents were acting on insider information that Pilot Flying J sales employees intentionally defrauded trucking customers by withholding diesel fuel rebates they had been promised.

Since the FBI and IRS raided Pilot Flying J headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn., on April 15 to investigate the alleged scheme to cheat trucking companies out of rebates for diesel fuel purchased at the chain's more than 650 truckstops, seven Pilot Flying J employees have pleaded guilty in federal court to fraud-related crimes and nearly 30 trucking companies have filed lawsuits. At least 11 former employees already are cooperating with the FBI and offering evidence. Seven of them have entered guilty pleas to fraud charges, and four have obtained immunity from prosecution in return for their cooperation.