Despite last month’s final judgment from a federal judge in Utah, the 10-year court battle between truckers and a Salt Lake City carrier does not appear to be over yet.
On March 12, Judge Ted Stewart of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah entered final judgment in the class action lawsuit of OOIDA v. C.R. England, awarding the class more than $1.3 million.
On April 5, CRE filed an appeal.
According to David Cohen, an attorney with The Cullen Law Firm, OOIDA’s litigation counsel, because of CRE’s latest appeal, there will be no distribution of any monies until the appeal is concluded. Cohen said the total number of class members was approximately 6,000. Of those, he said that approximately 1,000 would be entitled to receive a cash award under the judgment.
OOIDA President Jim Johnston said the Association is filing a cross-appeal this week, an appeal that, if won, could raise the amount of the final award.
Issues to be raised on cross appeal include the court’s denial of a statutory trust for escrow funds, its rejection of the 18 percent interest rate for escrow funds unlawfully retained by England, and the court’s refusal to award restitution for England’s markups on tires, parts and fuel.
The appeal process is likely to take between a year and 18 months.
The class-action lawsuit was first filed in 2002 and went to trial in federal court in 2006. In 2007, Judge Stewart found C.R. England in violation of the federal Truth-in-Leasing regulations. He ruled that the lease agreement C.R. England used with its owner-operators between 1998 and the summer of 2002 violated the federal regulations. He ruled that C.R. England’s “Independent Contractor Operating Agreement” violated the chargeback, forced-purchase and escrow provisions of the leasing regulations.
In the 2007 decision, the court also held that C.R. England’s lease violated the escrow provisions of the leasing regulations, and specifically found that the motor carrier had improperly managed truckers’ escrow accounts. The case has remained active these past years due to lengthy court-ordered accounting of every escrow fund managed by CRE.