Monday, March 27, 2017
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
One of only two remaining civil suits against truck stop giant Pilot Flying J, stemming from a rebate skimming scandal has been settled, but the details are not being made public.
Notice of the dismissal with prejudice was filed by lawyers for HB Logistics in Franklin County Ohio Circuit Court late last week.
The dismissal was the second within a matter of days. A companion suit filed against Pilot by FST Express was also dismissed in the same court.
That leaves only one remaining civil suit against Pilot stemming from allegations that Pilot sales executives deliberately cheated truckers out of promised rebates on diesel fuel purchases.
Settlements with other truckers and the federal government have cost the Knoxville, Tenn. based firm more than $175 million, exclusive of the two recent cases.
Pilot chief executive James A. Haslam was deposed during the litigation, but the testimony of the Cleveland Browns owner was sealed.
Trouble for Pilot became public on tax day in 2013 when IRS and FBI agents conducted a raid on the company offices, seizing thousands of documents.
An affidavit later filed in U.S. District Court in Knoxville detailed secretly taped meetings of Pilot sales executives discussing how they targeted less sophisticated truckers who they thought would not notice their rebates were being shaved.
The sole remaining suit was filed by Wright Transportation, an Alabama trucking company. That suit is pending in federal court in Alabama.
Monday, March 6, 2017
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
A settlement has been reached in one of the three remaining civil lawsuits stemming from charges that Pilot Travel cheated truckers out of millions of dollars in promised diesel fuel rebates.
A notice of voluntary dismissal of a suit brought against Pilot, the national truck stop chain, by FST Express was filed today in Franklin County Circuit Court in Ohio. Details of the settlement were not disclosed.
The dismissal filing notes that a similar suit filed by HB Logistics remains to be litigated.
Pilot still faces one other suit now pending in federal court in Alabama. That action was brought by Wright Transportation of Mobile and a scheduling conference is slated for later this week.
The settlement of the of the FST suit comes after Pilot reached settlement of a class action suit filed in federal court in Arkansas and a separate settlement with the U.S. Justice Department. The price tag of those two settlements topped $175 million.
Those followed a raid on Pilot's Knoxville, Tenn. headquarters by federal agents on April 15, 2013.
Ten former Pilot executives have entered guilty pleas to charges they participated in a scheme to cheat truckers out of promised rebates. Eight other Pilot executives have entered not guilty pleas and are scheduled for trial in September.
According to an FBI affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Knoxville, Tenn. Pilot sales executives systematically reduced the rebates promised to truckers who they thought would not notice.
In the FST and HB Logistics case, Pilot chief executive James Haslam was forced to undergo a deposition, but the session was held behind closed doors and the transcript was sealed at Cleveland Browns owner's insistence.