Another case filed against Pilot; attorney determined to depose Haslam

By Sandi Soendker, Land Line editor-in-chief | Monday, August 12, 2013

Mark Tate of the Tate Law Group in Savannah, Ga. and Knoxville attorney Louis McElroy, have filed another new civil action lawsuit against Pilot Flying J. Tate has already filed several cases against Pilot for fuel rebate fraud and on Monday said he had more to be filed in the future.

The latest case was filed Aug. 9 in the Circuit Court for Knox County, Tenn., on behalf of Harold David Story Inc., which does business as Cedar Creek, a trucking company in Dalton, Ga. Cedar Creek owns about 50 trucks that it operates in Tennessee and throughout the U.S.

Similar to other various lawsuits filed against the Knoxville-based truck stop chain, Cedar Creek claims to be cheated out of fuel rebates. According to court documents, Cedar Creek claims Pilot owners, executives, agents and staff conspired to manually reduce the rebate payments due to Cedar Creek.

Although Pilot Flying J and eight cases filed against Pilot have a proposed settlement pending approval in an Arkansas federal court, Tate says Cedar Creek and several other trucking companies he represents in cases again Pilot Flying J will not be participating and have chosen to “opt out” of that proposed settlement.

Tate says the proposed settlement is a “joke.” That settlement, proposed by Pilot Flying J, would repay whatever fuel rebate money the companies are owed, plus 6 percent interest.

He said Pilot Flying J “seems to think they can make these cases go away without answering to the depth of their nefarious conduct. They want to pay them off a little bit rather than what they should pay.”

Tate says he has also filed notice to depose Pilot CEO Jimmy Haslam – a move Tate has made before. The filing also notifies a deposition for Pilot spokesman Tom Ingram, scheduled for Oct. 15.

“It is my belief that a deposition notice filed to take a deposition of a party providing reasonable time for them to arrange their schedule is in fact scheduled,” says Tate.

He said Monday that scheduling it with the deposition notice “puts the onus on them in order to move the date, which they will try to do.”

“We think it’s a complete mistake for the court in Knox County to try to bind every single trucking company in this country to a settlement without having been through one deposition taken. It’s the most ludicrous kangaroo I’ve ever seen.”

At least 21 civil lawsuits have now been filed against the company for allegedly deliberately cheating truckers out of fuel rebates.

See related stories:
Federal judiciary panel: Pilot lawsuits won’t be consolidated for now
More Pilot employees plead guilty to roles in alleged rebate scam
Not all parties supportive of Haslam’s prompt actions to make amends

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