With more than 20 lawsuits pending against Pilot Flying J, a proposed settlement of one of the class actions won’t necessarily stop the other cases in their tracks.
As some lawyers criticize a deal that would give truck-stop customers defrauded by the company run by Browns owner Jimmy Haslam only the money that was kept from them with interest and attorneys’ fees, some lawyers may try to push the litigation in other courts where other lawsuits are pending.
For example, a lawyer in one of the other cases has filed formal notice that Haslam will be compelled to testify under oath.
The paperwork was submitted on July 8, more than a week before a tentative settlement was approved by a federal court in Arkansas. Pilot Flying J’s lawyers undoubtedly will attempt to block the deposition in light of the proposed settlement. But the presiding judge could, in theory, decide to allow the deposition to proceed, if the judge believes that the settlement, which has no allowance for punitive damages, seems unfair.
A fight would be sparked in multiple courts at various levels, but it would highlight the question of whether Pilot Flying J should be praised or criticized for its successful effort to strike a deal with a lawyer who was willing to agree to a settlement that pays back only the money that was stolen, plus a little more.