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Pilot Flying J Fraud Suits Ordered into Mediation

Tuesday, August, 12, 2014

The convoluted fraud case against the Pilot Flying J chain of truck stops involving a fraudulent diesel fuel rebate program has become even more complicated.  Although most of the complaints against Pilot Flying J were consolidated into a class action that was settled by the truck stop company last year for $85 million (along with $92 million in civil penalties), six trucking companies opted out of the class action and continued to seek separate relief.  Those six lawsuits were then consolidated into one and brought into Kentucky Federal District Court.


Federal District Court Judge Amul Thapar has further complicated the issue by first denying the trucking companies discovery against Pilot Flying J, and then ordering both sides into mediation without stating a reason for the action publicly.


Regarding the discovery, Judge Thapar stated that first the lawsuit had to be tested.  If found deficient, it would not proceed and no discovery would be required, suggesting that the trucking companies were only seeking information to use against any motions to dismiss brought later by Pilot Flying J.


The original complaint against Pilot Flying J involved fuel rebates that the company is accused of under-paying to trucking companies, boosting their profitability.  Several Flying Pilot J employees subsequently pleaded guilty to fraud, although the company as a whole has denied any overarching policy to defraud its customers.  Despite the scandal, Pilot Flying J remains a popular truck stop chain and is used on a daily basis by dozens of trucking companies.