Seven Lawsuits Unite Against Pilot Flying J
KNOXVILLE, TN — Seven lawsuits alleging truck stop operator Pilot Flying J cheated customers out of rebates from diesel fuel purchased have been combined into one.
The seven cases were spread over six separate federal court districts and are only part of more than a dozen lawsuits that remain against the company.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in San Diego has designated the Eastern District of Kentucky in Lexington as the central venue. Pilot Flying J was seeking to have the cases consolidated in the Eastern District of Tennessee, close to where it is based.
Late last year, Pilot Flying J reached an $85-million settlement with thousands of customers who claimed they were cheated out of money as the company tried to inflate its profits.
The seven plaintiffs include: Shoreline Transportation, Osborn Transportation, Wright Transportation, National Retail Transportation, Mario’s Express Service, Triple D Supply and FST Express. These litigants opted out of the settlement for various reasons. Some argued against consolidating the cases while others were opposed to moving it to Tennessee.
“We find that these seven actions involve common questions of fact, and that centralization in the Eastern District of Kentucky will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation,” said the judicial panel. “The subject actions share factual issues arising out of allegations that defendants engaged in a fraudulent scheme of withholding diesel fuel price rebates or discounts that Pilot agreed by contract to apply to the diesel fuel purchases of its commercial trucking customers."
The ruling comes following a federal raid by FBI and IRS agents on Pilot Flying J’s Knoxville headquarters nearly a year ago as part of a criminal investigation. So far about 10 current or former employees have pleaded guilty for their roles, but have yet to be sentenced.