Federal judiciary panel: Pilot lawsuits won't be consolidated for now

By Land Line staff | Friday, August 09, 2013

Pilot Flying J won a legal round this week when a panel of federal judges denied a request to allow trucking companies suing the truck stop chain to consolidate all of their cases into one lawsuit at this time.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued an order on Thursday, Aug. 8, stating that although the actions involve common questions, the panel found that “centralization at this time will not serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses or promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation.”

More than 20 civil lawsuits have been filed against the company for allegedly deliberately cheating truckers out of fuel rebates. The Eastern District of Arkansas recently granted preliminary approval of a proposed nationwide class settlement involving eight of those cases.

In its order, the Multidistrict Litigation panel agreed with Pilot Flying J and the eight trucking companies who asked that the ruling that would consolidate be deferred. The panel concurred that the best court of action would to allow the Arkansas court to continue to consider a proposed settlement.

That settlement, proposed by Pilot Flying J, would repay whatever fuel rebate money the companies are owed, plus 6 percent interest.

The judges on the panel said consolidating all the cases “could delay settlement proceedings.” According to the judicial panel’s order, final approval will be considered by the Arkansas court in a few months.

Meanwhile, a criminal investigation continues in which seven former Pilot Flying J employees have pleaded guilty to fraud.
 
See related stories:
More Pilot employees plead guilty to roles in alleged rebate scam
Not all parties supportive of Haslam’s prompt actions to make amends
Judge OKs proposed class-action settlement between Pilot and eight plaintiffs

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