KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- More than a week after federal officials raided the headquarters of locally based Pilot Flying J, only one trucking company has filed a lawsuit against the company. However, an attorney expects several others to join the legal action shortly.
Atlantic Coast Carriers (ACC) filed a civil suit against Pilot Corp. and Pilot Travel Centers LLC dba Pilot Flying J in Knox County Circuit Court in Tennessee on Saturday. As CSNews Online previously reported, the Hazelhurst, Ga.-based trucking company requested the court grant it class-action status.
An attorney representing ACC told TV station WATE that company officials are still determining the exact amount of money lost from Pilot Flying J's rebate fraud.
"It's a significant number," attorney Mark Tate said. "We think it's into the six figures, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. We represent several other carriers who have had similar experiences throughout the country."
Six more trucking companies are likely to join the class-action lawsuit against Pilot Flying J by the end of the week, Tate noted, declining to discuss the names of the other companies.
Still other trucking companies are working directly with Pilot Flying J to get reimbursed. W.N. Morehouse Truck Line Inc. of Omaha, Neb. -- which was specifically mentioned in the 120-page FBI affidavit -- has been in contact with Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam about the more than $146,000 the company believes it is owed.
During a press conference on Monday afternoon, Haslam said he planned to meet with Curt Morehouse of W.N. Morehouse Truck Line Inc. and Tommy Hodges of Shelbyville, Tenn.-based Titan Transfer Inc. to discuss concerns.
In addition, the owner of JTM Trucking in San Antonio told WATE the company is reviewing its financial documents. Jamie Martinez said he suspects the alleged rebate fraud could have left the company shortchanged about $10,000 a month for two years. The exact amount, though, is still unclear.
Tate said he believes other companies with similar stories will end up joining ACC in taking legal action.
"When they realized that this extraordinarily financially successful private company owned by Jimmy Haslam, who apparently paid cash for the [National Football League's] Cleveland Browns, was taking advantage of them, they felt like they needed to resort to the court system," the attorney said.