By Walter F. Roche Jr.
An Ohio judge has ordered that a filing detailing the indictment of former Pilot Travel executives in federal court in Tennessee be stricken from the record of an ongoing civil case against the truck stop chain.
In a brief ruling issued Thursday, Franklin County Judge David C. Young granted the motion filed by Pilot to have notice of the recent indictments stripped from the record. The action comes in a suit brought by three trucking firms that have charged Pilot with cheating them out of promised rebates.
Lawyers for the trucking firms had filed notice of the recent indictment of eight former Pilot sales staffers by a federal grand jury in Knoxville, Tenn.
Pilot's lawyers had argued that the notice was improper and not germane to the civil litigation. Lawyers for FST Express, Dick Lavy Trucking and HB Logistics argued that the indictments demonstrated Pilot's improper method of handling rebates.
"The court finds Pilot''s arguments persuasive," Young wrote. "There is no basis in the civil rules to support this finding."
He wrote that the notice "provides nothing that has not already been complained of in the complaint which could be brought out in testimony if relevant and admissable."
Young also noted that he will hold off ruling on other pending motions in the case including a request to force Pilot owner James A. Haslam 3rd to testify in a deposition, until he rules on a pending motion to dismiss the suit.
The three firms have charged that Pilot routinely cheated them out of promised rebates on diesel fuel purchases.
The suits were triggered by the same federal probe that produced the recent indictments.