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    Pilot, TravelCenters of America Sued Over Fleet Cards

    Independent truck stop owner claims the programs are anticompetitive.

    KENNER, La. -- Riverbend Truck Stops and Palace Casinos, operator of six Louisiana truck stops, filed a lawsuit against Comdata and its parent company, Ceridian, as well as Pilot Travel Centers and TravelCenters of America, alleging that the companies' fleet card practices are anticompetitive and favor chains over independents, etrucker.com reported.

    The suit, filed June 15 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee in Nashville, seeks a class-action classification on behalf of Riverbend "and all others similarly situated," the report stated.

    "This action seeks to recover damages and injunctive relief on behalf of plaintiffs and a nationwide class of independent truck stops, which have been forced to pay artificially-high prices for trucker fleet card processing services," the complaint said.

    Such practices already have led to a Federal Trade Commission consent decree and a $49 million settlement by another truck stop chain, Flying J, the complaint stated.

    Representatives for the defendants did not return phone calls as of presstime.

    Further, two additional independent truck stops filed a similar lawsuit in March in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Those truck stops are: Marchbanks Truck Service, which operates Bear Mountain Travel Stop in Bakersfield, Calif., and Universal Delaware, operating as Gap Truck Stop in Gap, Pa.

    Whether the suits will be granted class-action status and the possibility of combining them will be determined by the courts, according to the Web site.

    Riverbend, based in Kenner, La., owns six Louisiana truck stops: Crowley Truck Stop in Crowley; Highway 31 Truck Stop in St. Martinville; Patterson Truck Stop in Patterson; St. Martin Truck Stop in Broussard; Jennings Truck Stop in Jennings; and Breaux Bridge Truck Stop in Breaux Bridge.

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