By Coral Beach
About 3,000 truckers who are part of a class action against Mayflower Transit LLC must complete claim forms by June 30 so they can continue to pursue damages in the federal case.
U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker has deferred setting a trial date until the claim forms are returned and reviewed.
Attorneys for the truckers and the motor carrier are due to submit their “case management plan” and proposed trial date by July 15. The judge is expected to set a trial date after reviewing the attorneys’ proposals.
The truckers’ attorneys mailed out the claim forms to truckers who are potential members of the class action at the end of March. The class includes independent owner-operators who live in the U.S. and were leased to Mayflower or one of its agents between Feb. 16, 1996, and Dec. 1, 1999, and who had state fuel tax credits withheld by Mayflower for longer than 45 days following lease termination.
Truckers who received claim forms do not need to submit any supporting documentation with the claim forms. However, if they do not complete the forms and mail them back – postmarked by June 30 – they will not be eligible to receive damage payments from Mayflower should the court award them.
Instructions that were sent with the claim forms state that “under no circumstances will (truckers who send in claim forms) have to pay Mayflower or its agents any money.”
OOIDA’s legal team filed suit against Mayflower in April 1998 alleging that the motor carrier and its agents violated federal law by illegally retaining owner-operators’ general escrow funds and fuel tax credits.
The truckers also contended that Mayflower’s insurance practices violated federal law. That part of the case did not proceed to trial because of the judge’s ruling regarding the statute of limitations. OOIDA’s legal team has appealed that ruling to the U.S. Appeals Court for the Seventh Circuit. LL