Saturday, April 16, 2016
Haslam Deposition Ordered in Rebate Case
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
An Alabama judge has ordered Pilot Flying J President James A. Haslam 3rd to be deposed in a suit brought by a trucking company charging that the truck stop firm cheated on promised rebates.
The deposition order, which Haslam already is appealing, comes in one of four remaining civil suits against Pilot stemming from a federal investigation that has already brought guilty pleas from 10 former Pilot sales staffers. An additional eight former Pilot officials, including President Mark Hazelwood, were recently indicted.
Under the order by Judge Sarah Hicks Stewart Haslam, who is also the owner of the Cleveland Browns, will be deposed in Knoxville, Tenn. on May 11 by lawyers for Wright Transportation.
Lawyers for Haslam have filed a motion asking the judge to reconsider her order.
In all four remaining civil suits, trucking firms are charging that Pilot secretly reduced promised rebates targeting firms that were unlikely to notice the discrepancies.
The other three suits are being heard in Franklin County Ohio.
In those cases lawyers for Haslam and Pilot are fighting to have notice of the recent indictments eliminated from the court record.
A notice of the indictments was filed recently by lawyers for FST Express.
In the Ohio cases, the trucking companies contend that Pilot not only secretly reduced rebates but also gave truckers false and misleading information about the cost Pilot actually paid to buy the diesel fuel in the first place.
In the motion to strike the indictments from the record, Pilot lawyers have argued that the information is not relevant to the civil litigation.
Pilot already has paid more than $175 million to settle suits filed by trucking companies and the federal government.