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Pilot Flying J asks judicial panel to hear lawsuit consolidation request

Several motor carriers that sued Pilot Flying J over a fuel rebate scam dropped their complaints and chose to be part of an $85 million class action settlement of claims.

The Trucker News Services

2/26/2014

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A judicial panel in California will hear a request on March 24 by Pilot Flying J to have seven outstanding federal lawsuits against the company consolidated in Tennessee.

The U.S. District Panel on Multidistrict Litigation scheduled oral arguments on whether the cases should be heard together late next month in San Diego.

Several motor carriers that sued Pilot Flying J over a fuel rebate scam dropped their complaints and chose to be part of an $85 million class action settlement of claims, which was approved by a federal judge in Arkansas late last year.

Other carriers opted out of the settlement and pursued their own legal actions.

Pilot Flying J officials said it made sense to have a unified hearing on the remaining federal cases because they are based on similar facts and make similar allegations of fraud, breach of contract and racketeering. The company said there are another 10 complaints pending in state courts.

Pilot said the federal lawsuits should be moved to U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Tennessee in Knoxville because Pilot Flying J is headquartered there and six of nine individual defendants live in or near the city.

"It is beyond dispute that the overwhelming majority of relevant witnesses, evidence and documents are located in Tennessee, so transfer to Tennessee is appropriate," Pilot Flying J said in a court filing.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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