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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Approximately 90 trucking companies have now opted out of the proposed settlement in a class-action lawsuit against Pilot Flying J.
Attorney Aubrey Harwell, who represents the Knoxville-based truck stop operator, could not give an exact number of companies opting out because notices were still being processed, he told The Tennessean. However, Harwell did note that the number was close to 90, compared to 50 who CSNews Online reported had opted out as of Oct. 16.
Pilot Flying J is the subject of multiple lawsuits that allege it systematically reduced rebates promised to trucking firms. The story became national news when the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service raided the company's headquarters on April 15.
Seven Pilot Flying J staffers already entered guilty pleas to mail and wire fraud following the investigation.
Pilot Flying J proposed to pay $40 million plus attorney fees to repay the truckers the amount owed plus interest. A fairness hearing is scheduled for Nov. 25 in Little Rock, Ark.
Dawn McElroy, an attorney for one of the companies suing Pilot Flying J, told the news outlet she expects the number of trucking firms opting out of the proposed settlement to rise to more than 90 because firms were still able to file opt-out claims as recently as early last week.
Family-owned Pilot Flying J operates more than 650 retail locations and is the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America.