In the latest
in a lengthy legal battle between the Owner-Operator Independent
Drivers Association and New Prime, Inc., dba Prime, U.S. District
Court Judge Dean Whipple has rejected Prime's current efforts
to have the lawsuit dismissed.
for Prime had asked the court to dismiss the suit based on a recent
Supreme Court ruling that concluded certain individuals do not
have a "private right of action" to enforce federal
regulations. Judge Whipple did not agree noting that unlike the
court case cited by Prime's attorneys, Congressional intent
to create a free-standing private right of action to enforce leasing
regulations was present in the statutes.
was Prime's second attack on the private right of action
statutes passed by Congress in the ICC Termination Act. In 1999,
the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a similar motion
by the Springfield, Missouri based truckload carrier.
Jim Johnston said he was pleased with the well-reasoned decision
of the court. "We are anxious to get past these legal maneuverings
and procedural challenges and put the merits of this case on trial
before the court," said Johnston.
Prime has been ongoing since 1997, when the first complaints were
filed. In the pending lawsuit, OOIDA alleges that Prime's
standard lease agreements violate the truth-in-leasing regulations
governing the agreements between owner-operators and the motor
carrier. OOIDA alleges violations in the areas of escrow funds,
charge-back items and forced purchases of products, equipment
and services from the motor carrier.
in this complex case remain before the court, the most important
being OOIDA's request for class certification.