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Courts and Crime


Trucking companies, Browns owner Haslam work a deal in class-action suits
Settlement admits no wrongdoing, but agrees to discount-rebate payments with interest to as many as 4,000 customers
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
In The Region:

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and his Pilot Flying J Travel Centers have signed off on a class-action settlement with some of the more than 20 trucking companies who sued over alleged rebate fraud. 

U.S. District Judge James Moody in Arkansas was to approve the settlement today. It could cover as many as 4,000 Pilot customers.

In the preliminary order, neither Haslam nor executives of his truck-stop company admit that they did anything wrong, insisting that they’re settling to “avoid further expense, inconvenience and the distraction of burdensome and protracted litigation.”

The settlement covers trucking companies who did business with Pilot from January 2008 on, and who were promised discounted fuel that they believe they never got. The settlement paperwork does not give an overall dollar figure, but says the trucking companies will get their promised discounts plus 6 percent annual interest. It also promises Pilot Flying J will do no wrong in the future.

The civil action is separate from a criminal investigation that became public on April 15, when the FBI raided Pilot headquarters in Tennessee. Five employees have pleaded guilty in that case and agreed to testify.

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