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Judge says PSC’s Bissell must pay OOIDA $600,000 in legal costs

In a recent ruling, a federal judge has ruled that Keith Bissell, former Chairman of the Tennessee Public Service Commission owes nearly $600,000 to OOIDA as partial payment for legal costs the association incurred in the lawsuit against the PSC.  The payment was first ordered four yeas ago when OOIDA emerged the winner in a full scale legal battle over the state's scandalous treatment of truckers.

After a lengthy trial in 1994, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Echols ruled that PSC officials illegally discriminated against truck drivers who refused to pay a political contribution to the PSC's campaign warchest.

Evidence presented by OOIDA during the trial prompted the Federal Highway Administration to withhold federal funding and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to launch their own fact-finding mission.  Shocked by the corruption found, the state legislature went on to completely abolish the PSC in 1995.

In 1997, the 6th U.S. District Court of Appeals called the injunction won by OOIDA "invalid" as the PSC no longer existed.  The case was then returned to Echols for reconsideration.  Echols, in a new ruling announced the first week in July, agreed with the 6th Circuit that the injunction was "pointless" but declared that OOIDA was still the "prevailing party" or winner in the case and deserved to be awarded the payment of reasonable attorney fees plus court costs. LL

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