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Pilot Flying J reaches agreement to settle class-action lawsuits

Haslam AP

Usually, the wheels of justice grind slowly.  Sometimes, the process moves like grease through a goose.

For Pilot Flying J and the torrent of lawsuits filed against it, the litigation already could be moving toward a conclusion.  According to WEWS-TV in Cleveland, a federal judge has approved a proposed settlement agreement for a class action filed in the Eastern District of Arkansas.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam runs Pilot Flying J, a billion-dollar, family-owned truck-stop company founded by his father.

If the settlement ultimately is approved after the mandatory period for notifying all class members and giving them a chance to object and/or opt out, the settlement would apply on a nationwide basis, covering more than 4,000 Pilot Flying J customers.

“If approved” is the key term.  With well over a dozen class actions pending, other lawyers and other trucking companies surely will choose to exit the settlement and pursue their own claims.  Others could object to the settlement on a variety of potential grounds, including most significantly the amount of money that each trucking company will receive.

There’s also reason to at least be a little suspicious about the selection of a lawsuit filed in Arkansas as the one to settle.  It’s entirely possible that the lawyers hand-picked that class action for settlement based on factors such as the likelihood that the judge eventually will approve the settlement, the demands being made by the named plaintiff, and the perceived negotiating skills and abilities of the lawyers representing the proposed class.

In a case arising from alleged efforts to prey financially upon unsophisticated trucking companies, it would be fitting for Pilot Flying J to attempt to settle all claims with all customers by negotiating a fast and favorable settlement with lawyers perceived to be less sophisticated than the lawyers handling the various other class actions pending throughout the country.

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25 Responses to “Pilot Flying J reaches agreement to settle class-action lawsuits”
  1. bunjy96 says: Jul 16, 2013 11:19 AM

    The only winners will be the lawyers.

  2. valhalla2013 says: Jul 16, 2013 11:22 AM

    Shame shame shame! Is there no end to your greed?

  3. getyourownname says: Jul 16, 2013 11:37 AM

    We all know class actions are used primarily as fee generators for plaintiffs lawyers. Every class action settlement terms I have read called for wildly disproportionate fees to be paid to the lawyers, as compared to amount (or worse, some “credit” or coupon discount) that the plaintiffs get. Plaintffs’ lawyers then climb all over each other to get the biggest share of the lawyer fees. It’s a circus.

    Haslam is probably smart enough to use this fact to his advantage to get the cases settled.

  4. wryly1 says: Jul 16, 2013 11:39 AM

    Those are civil suits — different animal than the federal criminal investigation. How could there be 4,000 customers involved and CEO Haslam not know about it? Hellooo?

  5. grantgoodman93 says: Jul 16, 2013 11:40 AM

    Browns fans rejoice!

  6. davikes says: Jul 16, 2013 11:44 AM

    Wonder if the terms are overly generous with a clause requiring that the plaintiffs refuse to testify.

  7. davikes says: Jul 16, 2013 11:44 AM

    Annnd the Browns are one step closer to a new owner.

  8. brownsince64 says: Jul 16, 2013 11:49 AM

    good move. Get this behind you and move forward.
    Last I checked Arkansas has a track record of some pretty good lawyers, including a recent president and secretary of state. Not sure all this hicksville commentary is justified. Just because they don’t spend their time getting vigilantees who shoot kids off doesn’t mean they aren’t good lawyers.

  9. skoobyfl says: Jul 16, 2013 12:06 PM

    2 cases of chaw and a stern apology, it’s a deal.

  10. getyourownname says: Jul 16, 2013 12:09 PM

    brownsince64 says:
    Jul 16, 2013 11:49 AM
    good move. Get this behind you and move forward.
    Last I checked Arkansas has a track record of some pretty good lawyers, including a recent president and secretary of state. Not sure all this hicksville commentary is justified. Just because they don’t spend their time getting vigilantees who shoot kids off doesn’t mean they aren’t good lawyers.

    ********************
    Check again. The former president never actively practiced law and was disbarred by Arkansas Supreme Court. I have personally seen cases where the former sec state requested an extra “success” fee in excess of the amount recovered by her client from her representation.

  11. richndc says: Jul 16, 2013 12:11 PM

    Drunks, thieves, murderers, deadbeat dads…is this the NFL or the NBA? Getting harder to tell.

  12. justintuckrule says: Jul 16, 2013 12:22 PM

    Of course they settled in Arkansas. What did those companies get? A few cases of Busch light and a carton each of Marlboro reds.

    Just another silver spoon owner in over his head.

  13. daaabears says: Jul 16, 2013 12:35 PM

    So you rip-off clients for x amount of money, pay them back a part of said money, pay the lawyers, keep y amount of money. ‘Merica.

  14. diapermoney says: Jul 16, 2013 12:49 PM

    Have you ever heard of JB Hunt Transport. They are one of the largest trucking companies in the country and one of Pilot/Flying J’s biggest customers…..guess where their headquarters are?? Thats right Arkansas….think that that might have something to do with it. Some people are clueless…JB Hunt, Wal-Mart, Tyson Chicken, Georges chicken….all out of Arkansa….these “hicks” must know something about business…

  15. dannyreneau says: Jul 16, 2013 12:57 PM

    God, it must be nice to be rich and simply buy your way out of trouble.

    Unless your AH, that guy is screwed. And rightly so.

  16. diapermoney says: Jul 16, 2013 12:58 PM

    Arkansas….should have read it first I guess!

  17. bonzopookie says: Jul 16, 2013 1:03 PM

    YAY!!!! gO Browns!!!! Screw everyone else, including all of you!!!!!

  18. jackblackshairyback says: Jul 16, 2013 1:28 PM

    daaaabears….actually PFJ paid everything that was shorted, plus 6% interest.

  19. ideawrter says: Jul 16, 2013 1:38 PM

    1. Arkansas is not the “hicksville” y’all want to think it is. This is not 1958.

    2. Class action suits have been used by everyone and everything from hip replacement parts and women’s contraceptives to BofA’s customers for a failure to notify in a policy change. Yes, lawyers make big fees because of the massive amounts of paperwork and filings that are done and yes, lawyers get carried away with fees that they claim, but participants usually do very little in these types of proceedings other than the lead named participant.

    3. Haslem is no idiot. If he can resolve a goodly portion of these claims quickly, he can move on to the bigger fish he has to fry like the individual claims and the Fed prosecution.

    4. There’s no indication as to what this class action is costing. I doubt it will be as cheap as you might think. These Arkansas fellas aren’t that easily dismissed.

  20. Oldcat says: Jul 16, 2013 1:53 PM

    The court will sentence Haslam to be the owner of the Browns.

  21. youarejealousof6rings says: Jul 16, 2013 2:01 PM

    grantgoodman93 says:
    Jul 16, 2013 11:40 AM

    Browns fans rejoice!
    ____________________________

    No, Browns fans never rejoice.

  22. lbcoach34 says: Jul 16, 2013 4:44 PM

    that was fast

  23. theuncletodd says: Jul 16, 2013 5:59 PM

    I’m hearing $40 million to those ‘wronged’ and $14 million to the LAWYERS!!! What’s wrong with this picture?

  24. kabasaman says: Jul 16, 2013 6:06 PM

    So it was Haslem’s daddy-o that made all that doe for this spoiled little rich kid.

  25. redskinsroost says: Jul 16, 2013 7:11 PM

    This guy should be in Congress, not the NFL.

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