A story behind the story. The four-year history of OOIDA's lawsuit against Ledar Transport over failure to return escrow funds (and other lease abuses) has some new developments to report, including the issuance of a preliminary injunction. As with any legal battle, there's much that doesn't get told. In Ledar's case, that doesn't seem quite fair. So here's one of the stories behind the story.
It seems that one of the trucker plaintiffs in the Ledar case got a check (#3880) from Ledar for $520 on Nov. 9, 1995. According to the Ledar accounting records, the check was issued to correct an overcharge of $520 by Ledar when it erroneously deducted $577 from the trucker's pay instead of $57. This information was filed with the court by OOIDA attorneys on Aug. 2, 2000. Ledar's attorneys were in receipt of this report and had they read it, they likely would have not executed their next clever move. Two months later those same attorneys guided Ledar president Carl Higgs through the telling of an amazing story in court regarding the check. Higgs told the court this same check for $520, (#3880) was, in fact, a return of escrow. In Higgs' over-elaborate story, he explained that the $520 "refund of escrow" even included a nice little chunk of interest (the $20?). OOIDA's attorneys asked him how he could have possibly been so confused as to come up with such an extravagant and misguided explanation. Higgs seemed to feign puzzlement on how such an error could be made.
The judge was far from puzzled, however, and two things she probably did not miss - one, Ledar's own records identify the $520 as a refund of an overcharge; two, the check was issued in November of 1995 and the trucker didn't quit (which would have triggered the return of escrow) until Feb. 3, 1996. OOIDA attorney Tom McCann then went on to question Higgs on almost a dozen similar misrepresentations of escrow fund returns. It was not a good day for Carl Higgs.
For more about OOIDA's lawsuit against Ledar Transport, see page 18.
We'll be featuring a new column reviewing audio books for truckers. Jonathan Lowe comes aboard with "Books to read with your eyes on the road." Lowe is author of "Postal," an award-winning suspense novel on audio. Look for his new column on page 60.
Ellen Voie's popular "Marriage in the Long Run" has concluded its course as one of the most successful bodies of work addressing the personal issues of trucking spouses and their families. Ellen tells us the best of those columns should be available soon in a published collection. Watch for details in Land Line. Also, watch for Ellen to be even more involved with the industry as executive director of Trucker Buddy International and watch for her byline on other articles.