News
Lawsuit Update
Several major cases to see legal activity this fall

Among the OOIDA cases that are scheduled for activity in the fall months are a hearing before the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota and a status conference before the U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.

BACK TO MINNESOTA
At press time, a hearing was scheduled on Sept. 21 in St. Paul that demands some critical accountability from the Minnesota State Patrol and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. The motion filed in June asked the court to order both the Minnesota State Patrol and CVSA to appear and show why they should not be held in contempt of the court’s ruling for implementing an amendment to the out-of-service criteria that runs counter to the ruling handed down by the court on Sept. 21, 2011.

Despite a federal court decision that set limits on fatigue enforcement a year ago, CVSA proceeded to adopt out-of-service criteria for fatigued drivers – standards that OOIDA says violate the court order and the Fourth Amendment, and are unconstitutional.

The current filing stems from a lawsuit filed by OOIDA and member plaintiff Stephen K. House against the Minnesota Highway Patrol in 2009.

U.S. District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank issued his final order in favor of OOIDA and House on Sept. 21, 2011. The order enjoins the state patrol from violating the Fourth Amendment Rights of House and members of OOIDA and from modifying the current General Order that governs the fatigue enforcement program.

OOIDA V.FMCSA:
BAD DRIVER DATA

The mega database filled with driver information maintained by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration lacks assurance of data accuracy and a functioning process for dispute resolution, a lawsuit filed mid-July by OOIDA alleges.

OOIDA along with four members – Brian E. Kelley, Robert Lohmeier, Klint Mowrer and J. Mark Moody – filed suit against FMCSA in the U.S. District Court for the DC Circuit. The suit was filed by The Cullen Law Firm, litigation counsel of OOIDA.

The suit alleges the agency fails to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, with the Privacy Act, and with mandates governing agency action contained in the previous highway bill, SAFETEA-LU.

At the center of the lawsuit is the agency's database of driver information. The database contains all roadside inspections and crash reports. That driver information is accessed through the Pre-Employment Screening Program by motor carriers.

The lawsuit challenges the agency's handling of inaccurate violation data and an alleged lack of a dispute resolution process.

As of press time, the DC Circuit had yet to set a trial date in OOIDA's case against FMCSA. LL

OOIDA v. C.R. ENGLAND
‘CHUGGING ALONG’
Another case – OOIDA v. C.R. England – is expected to make progress before the end of the year. OOIDA’s attorney David A. Cohen of The Cullen Law Firm in Washington, DC, said recently that the case is “chugging along.” Although the federal court in Salt Lake City ruled six years ago in OOIDA’s favor, a complicated accounting process ordered by the court has kept the landmark truth-in-leasing case high on the Association’s active list of class action lawsuits.

The class action lawsuit of OOIDA v. CRE was first filed in 2002. The truth-in-leasing case went to trial in 2006 and the win was awarded to the truckers, but figuring out how much is owed to the class members has been complicated and lengthy. C.R. England was found liable for unlawfully keeping escrow funds and was ordered to account for every penny. After several years of accounting, the project is nearly accomplished.

“We have been able to reach ‘actual damages’ stipulations for approximately 85 percent of the class members participating in the equitable accounting,” said Cohen.

At press time, a status conference before U.S. District Court Judge Ted Stewart was scheduled for Sept. 20 in Salt Lake City at which time the court could possibly set a schedule for wrapping up the case. LL

Aug/Sept Digital Edition