Craig Transportation reaches preliminary settlement with leased operators

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line associate editor | Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A settlement in a class-action between an Ohio trucking company and a group of 27 leased owner-operators is awaiting final approval from a federal judge.

Attorneys for Craig Transportation Company of Perrysburg, Ohio, and those representing drivers who say the company violated the terms of its lease agreements with owner-operators have agreed to a preliminary settlement in which Craig Transportation agrees to pay $75,000 to drivers in the class.

A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 29 to determine the fairness of the settlement. If approved, the preliminary settlement will become final.

According to court documents filed in U.S. District Court of Ohio, all owner-operators who worked with Craig were required to sign lease agreements stipulating that the company would pay its leased operators a certain percentage of the linehaul revenue, including pick-up and stop-off charges.

Beginning on or around March 18, 2013, Craig began charging its largest customer, Schuetz Container, a “trailer surcharge” in the amount of $25 per run. Schuetz refused to pay any amount over the linehaul charges to which it had previously agreed. As a result, Craig implemented the surcharge but reduced the linehaul charge, causing leased drivers to be paid at a reduced rate.

Plaintiffs Leo Preston and Jerry Picklesimer filed the class action on June 27, 2014, claiming CTC violated the terms of their leases with owner-operators as well as a claim for unjust enrichment.

The settlement defines the class members as “all persons who were independent owner-operator contractors with Craig Transportation” who signed the lease agreements on or prior to March 18, 2013, and who transported loads for Schuetz between March 18, 2013, and June 27, 2014.

The agreement calls for no claims process and for all members of the class to receive settlement funds via check.

For its part, Craig Transportation denied all charges of wrongdoing or liability, according to the settlement.

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