1, 2002, Grain Valley, MO ----Gilbert Express and the Owner-Operator
Independent Driver's Association ("OOIDA") announced
jointly today the settlement of their long-standing dispute.
In October 2000, OOIDA filed a class action lawsuit against
the carrier in federal court on behalf of individual owner operators,
alleging that the form of owner-operator agreement then used
by the carrier violated certain federal Truth-in-Leasing regulations.
The lawsuit was similar to those brought by OOIDA against other
trucking companies nationwide.
Express sought bankruptcy protection last June in Trenton, NJ,
citing the costs and uncertainty related to the litigation as
a principal reason for its filing. According to Richard Gilbert,
Gilbert Express's president, the settlement with OOIDA
paves the way for the company's prompt emergence from Chapter
11. "The cost to continue to defend the OOIDA litigation
class action was undoubtedly one of the biggest single factors
that prompted the bankruptcy filing and, until now, one of the
impediments to our successful emergence. With the matter now
resolved, I see no reason we can not successfully reorganize
and come out of chapter 11 quickly."
Johnston, OOIDA's president, also voiced his support for
the settlement. "Whenever and wherever we believe our members
have been harmed, we will vigorously pursue appropriate remedies
to the full extent of the law. The settlement with Gilbert Express
resolves issues of vital importance to our members in a satisfactory
way. We look forward to normal relations with the company and
its owner-operator drivers on a go-forward basis."
the terms of the settlement were not announced, they are known
to include a commitment by Gilbert Express to use the form of
agreement negotiated with OOIDA that complies with federal regulations.
The settlement still must be approved by the Bankruptcy Court.
Gilbert Express is a long-haul carrier based in Linden, New