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Courts and Crime

UPDATE: Settlement could cost Haslam's Pilot Flying J $40 million
Browns owner settles a class-action suit but still faces criminal investigation.

Kevin Niedermier
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has cleared one legal hurdle, but another on looms.
Courtesy of Kevin Niedermier
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In The Region:

Some of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam’s legal troubles have been resolved at a cost of as much as $40 million.

Today, Haslam and his company, Pilot Flying J, settled a class-action suit filed by some of the trucking companies alleging they were cheated out of fuel rebates.

Nine companies were involved in that suit. But a federal judge in Arkansas has found that more than 4,500 Pilot customers could qualify for the settlement. The agreement says the companies will get what they’re owed plus 6 percent interest. It also says Haslam and his company are not admitting liability.

Cleveland State University law professor Jonathon Witmer-Rich notes that the civil case is separate from a federal criminal investigation.

LISTEN: Separate legal paths

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“It’s certainly an important step for the company in trying to resolve what’s going on. It doesn’t necessarily have a big impact on the ongoing criminal investigation, and so there’s still a lot of uncertainty even after this settlement.”

So far, five Pilot Flying J employees have pleaded guilty. Haslam has not been charged and denies any wrongdoing. A dozen other trucking companies have filed civil suits as well. 

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