By Jami Jones
A class-action lawsuit challenging Swift Transportation’s alleged practice of shorting drivers on pay for miles driven has a new lease on life.
In early August, an Arizona appellate court judge reversed a lower court decision that had effectively killed the 3-year-old case. The order reverses a ruling on a motion for class certification filed June 8, 2005, which alleges the trucking giant used a flawed method to calculate mileage, shorting the drivers.
Hagens Berman LLP of Phoenix filed the class-action lawsuit in January 2004 on behalf of the family of Patrick Piron, a former Swift driver who died before the suit was filed. The lawsuit seeks recovery for an alleged years-long practice of shortchanging drivers for the actual miles they drive.
The suit claims that Swift officials ignored reports from drivers showing the actual miles driven, and instead used an artificial calculation that credited drivers for significantly fewer miles.
The mileage was calculated based on a uniform practice “conceived and implemented at Swift’s national headquarters in Phoenix,” according to allegations in the suit.
Comparing Piron’s actual miles driven to the miles paid for by Swift shows the company reducing trips by up to 140 miles when paying Piron, the suit claims.
According to the complaint, Swift used this practice for several years, and other major trucking companies may also have used similar methods in calculating miles and shortchanging truckers.
The suit seeks to represent all Swift Transportation drivers employed on or after 1998 and who were paid based on miles driven. LL