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.