A U.S. District Court has granted a motion by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) to dismiss all counterclaims sought by Arctic Express Inc. against absent class members – those who are not named individually as plantiffs – in OOIDA's suit against the motor carrier.
"We're very pleased with this ruling." OOIDA president Jim Johnston said. "It further strengthens OOIDA's long-held position that class certification is the most effective way for a large number of small-business truckers to act together to protect their rights and interests."
The suit claimed violations of the federal truth-in-leasing regulations for failure to return escrow accounts after the termination of the owner-operators' leases.
On August 30, 2001, U.S. District Court Judge Algenon L. Marbley issued a written summary judgment in OOIDA's favor. In that ruling, he concluded Arctic Express had violated the federal leasing regulations and "absconded" with the escrow accounts of the owner-operators.
On September 6, 2001, Marbley granted OOIDA's motion for class certification of the case. This ruling was also later upheld.
Marbley ruled that Arctic's arguments for counterclaims had already been considered and rejected twice by the court, first when it certified the class and again when it denied Arctic's motion to reconsider the class certification.
He also ruled that the counter claims asserted by Arctic did not meet the federal jurisdiction requirements of minimum monetary amounts or the condition of substantial geographic diversity of the parties in the case.