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Lawsuit Update
Paying the piper
OOIDA goes to incredible lengths to collect cash owed to truckers - including seizing personal assets

By Mark H. Reddig
Land Line Now host

 

“There has to be a price to pay.”

That’s what OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston said recently about the Association’s latest attempt to collect what truckers are owed from Ledar Transport, a Kansas City, MO-based motor carrier.

Typically, making someone “pay the price” would involve taking money from the motor carrier.

However, in the case of Ledar, the Association has gone much further – seizing the personal possessions of the carrier’s owners right out of their home.

It sounded like a Christmas wish list
In earlier actions, OOIDA had seized some property from the carrier itself. But on Oct. 19, 2009, an OOIDA team went not to Ledar’s offices, but to the homes of some of the principal owners.

Attorney Belinda Harrison was part of the OOIDA team that day.

“We were executing on four locations at the same time – two personal properties and two business locations,” she said. “Because we wanted to prevent the various respondents from notifying each other … we had to hit at all four at roughly the same time.”

At the home of Scott Higgs – one of the three owners of Ledar – the team found what they were looking for. But not company assets, or even the owners’ personal vehicles. This time, the seizure was much more thorough.

A personal flatbed trailer, a chainsaw, a John Deere riding lawnmower, golf clubs, and a dining table with chairs.

A big screen TV, an LCD TV, a DVD player and a VCR player.

A receiver and stereo speakers, model trains, model planes, Atari and Xbox video games.

A Les Paul guitar, a baby grand piano and a Fender amplifier.

All kinds of personal goods, all seized to help satisfy what the court says Ledar and its owners owe the truckers who suffered damages at their hands.

Where do we go from here?
OOIDA continues to press forward with efforts to collect the money owed to truckers – even though the entire amount may never be obtained.

Johnston points to the important principles involved.

Carriers like Ledar, he said, don’t make money by hauling freight, but through lease-purchase deals with drivers. Those carriers keep the trucks moving by offering rates far below the actual cost of hauling – forcing other operations to lower rates to remain competitive.

That, he said, pushes down rates for all truckers everywhere.

For those reasons and many others, Johnston says he intends to carry the process to the very end.

“We intend to pursue whatever recovery we can reasonably obtain,” he said. “But even more important, we don’t want to see them just restart this thing and go after it again.

“If left alone, they’d simply restart the whole scam, and it’s hard telling how many truckers could become victims of their practices.” LL

 

mark_reddig@landlinemag.com

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