SPECIAL REPORT: Truckers’ case against DAC in jury’s hands

| 9/5/2006

Sept. 5, 2006 - DENVER - Eight Colorado residents are trying to decide whether DAC Services Inc. willfully violated federal law in a case that could have sweeping implications for truckers across America.

In his closing this morning, the trucker's lead attorney, Randall Herrick-Stare, told the jury, "While no one deserves to be DAC'ed, not even DAC, it is time for DAC to receive the severe discipline only a jury can afford . it is time to tell DAC and all peddlers of private information that they must honor the most American of values: straight talk."

U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn gave the jury members specific instructions at about 10 a.m. Tuesday, following closing statements from attorneys representing both the truckers and DAC, whose parent company is USIS Commercial Services Inc.

In his closing statement for the truckers, attorney Randall S. Herrick-Stare told the jury DAC's reports on truckers' work histories violate the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. Herrick-Stare explained how the evidence and testimony in the truckers' case has proven that DAC willfully failed to follow reasonable practices to ensure maximum accuracy in the reports that it sells to motor carriers.

Lawyer Larry Henry, who has been with DAC Services for many years, told the jury in his closing statement that the company has done nothing wrong. In fact, last week, while challenging the instructions that the judge wrote for the jury, Henry said that DAC doesn't even own the millions of files that it has in its database.

Henry told the judge the files are the property of DAC's motor carrier members - or "subscribers" - who submit work history information on truckers to DAC, which then compiles the information and sells it to other carriers. Henry wanted Blackburn to specifically tell the jury that DAC does not own the files.

Blackburn did not grant Henry's request.

To read the instructions that Blackburn did read to the jury this morning, click here.

Many truckers across the country have been waiting for this case to go to the jury since the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed it 2004. Originally, OOIDA asked Blackburn to certify the case as a class action so that it would include every driver who has been the subject of a DAC report since July 7, 1999.

Blackburn denied class-action status earlier this year and the case proceeded with OOIDA's legal team representing six individual truckers. Blackburn has since removed two of those truckers from the case, but the four plaintiffs whose complaints are in the hands of the jury today are more than enough to have an impact for all truckers.

Many truckers are familiar with what it means to be "DAC'd," as the expression goes, and if the jury finds DAC guilty of willfully violating federal law, it could mean the beginning of the end of work history reports that are ambiguous at best and just plain wrong at worst.

- By Coral Beach, staff editor