Independent truck stop owners accuse Comdata of violating antitrust laws

| 3/27/2007

Two independent truck stop operators have filed antitrust lawsuits against Comdata Corp., saying the fuel card provider undermines rival fuel card companies' ability to compete and gives price advantages to the larger truck stop chains.

The lawsuits, which were filed on behalf of independent truck stop operators by Universal Delaware Inc. and Marchbanks Truck Service Inc., were filed in federal court in Philadelphia this past week.

According to the court documents, the lawsuits seek class-action status. The suits allege that Comdata charges independent truck stops a percentage per transaction fee instead of a flat fee per transaction as it does with large truck stop chains. Both complaints also allege that Comdata engages in "discriminatory pricing" and "exclusionary practices preventing truck stops from using lower-cost and more efficient means of payment."

The complaints allege Comdata violates antitrust laws because the company issues the fuel cards to trucking company customers and also owns the dominant fuel card-processing system.

The complaints seek unspecified monetary damages as well as "injunctive relief to stop anticompetitive conduct." Comdata is a subsidiary of Ceridian Corp. of Minneapolis.

The law firms representing the plaintiffs are Berger & Montague P.C. of Philadelphia and Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein LLP of San Francisco.