SPECIAL REPORT: Trial against C.R. England concludes

| 10/25/2006

Oct. 25, 2006 - Both sides have finished presenting evidence and testimony in a federal class-action lawsuit that pitted truckers against the mega-carrier C.R. England.

Courtroom action wrapped up Wednesday, Oct. 25, in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City. Attorneys for both sides now must wait for written transcripts to be prepared before they can write and submit their post-trial briefs.

Paul Cullen Sr. of The Cullen Law Firm said Wednesday that the final post-trial briefs are due by the end of January 2007 and that the case will then be in the hands of Judge Ted Stewart. There is no jury because the truckers' legal team opted for a bench trial after Stewart issued favorable rulings in pretrial orders Oct. 3.

About 6,000 truckers are included in the class action, which the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed, alleging that C.R. England violated federal truth-in-leasing regulations by failing to disclose chargebacks.

Specifically, the truckers' case contends that the motor carrier made millions in illegal profits by failing to disclose markups and chargebacks on goods and services that it deducted from truckers' settlement sheets.

The class action includes any owners or operators who had lease agreements with C.R. England beginning in August 1998 and continuing through the end of the trial.

According to the motor carrier's Web site, C.R. England currently has more than 3,800 drivers and independent contractors hauling freight.

Truckers testified last week that tires and other parts were marked up 30 percent by the motor carrier. The truckers contend the carrier also failed to disclose information about fuel discounts.

"In the case of C.R. England, they profited to the tune of millions of dollars by their fuel chargeback practices in which they retained 60 percent of the discounts that were generated by owner-operator fuel purchases," said David A. Cohen of The Cullen Law Firm.

- By Coral Beach, staff editor