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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Pilot Flying J's legal battles are not over despite the travel center operator's agreeing to pay a total of $72 million to settle a class-action lawsuit stemming from allegations of rebate fraud.
According to a report by The Tennessean, Pilot Flying J still faces 16 more lawsuits from plaintiffs spanning across the country, and is trying to consolidate these cases in federal court in Knoxville, Tenn., where its headquarters are located. On April 15, the FBI and IRS raided Pilot Flying J's headquarters. The travel center operator was later accused of reducing rebates for truckers for years, and several Pilot Flying J executives plead guilty to charges following the raid.
A total of 31 lawsuits were filed against Pilot Flying J. Eleven of the cases were settled as a class-action suit in what Pilot Flying J lawyers called a "global" settlement. Two others were resolved via a separate settlement. And in two more, the plaintiffs failed to comply with legal notice requirements, placing their claims in limbo, the news outlet reported.
Even if the current batch of 16 cases are settled or ruled upon, more lawsuits can be filed by trucking companies that formally rejected the prior settlement offer, The Tennessean reported.
Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam also owns the National Football League's Cleveland Browns. "The company has done everything we said we would do," Haslam said in an end-of-football season press conference last week, according to an ESPN report. "We've paid everybody back with interest. We've dealt with the individuals who made some very poor decisions. We've resolved a majority of the lawsuits. We are working closely with the government to work through these issues."
Family-owned Pilot Flying J has 650 travel center locations across the United States and Canada.