Judge won’t dismiss OOIDA’s complaints

U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker, for the Southern District of Indiana, denied all motions brought by Mayflower Transit Inc. to dismiss two lawsuits filed in 1998 by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and three of its owner-operator members. "We are very pleased with Judge Barker's ruling on these issues," said Jim Johnston, president of OOIDA. "The courts have

U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker, for the Southern District of Indiana, denied all motions brought by Mayflower Transit Inc. to dismiss two lawsuits filed in 1998 by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and three of its owner-operator members.

"We are very pleased with Judge Barker's ruling on these issues," said Jim Johnston, president of OOIDA. "The courts have recognized that owner-operators have a private right of action against motor carriers under the federal truth-in-leasing regulations. This continues to be our most important instrument in obtaining relief against business practices that are in direct violation of the federal truth-in-leasing regulations."

The first suit claimed violations of the federal truth-in-leasing regulations by the carrier's failure to return fuel-tax credits on a current basis and to return fuel- tax credits and other funds held in escrow accounts to owner-operators within the required time period after their lease agreements had expired.

The second suit alleged that Mayflower unlawfully over-charged owner-operators for insurance products that they purchased through Mayflower, which is also a violation of federal truth-in-leasing regulations.

In its request to dismiss the actions, Mayflower had argued that the plaintiffs had no private right of action under the leasing regulations; that the cases should be deferred to the DOT, and state claims should not be retained after the federal causes of action are dismissed; and that it is not liable because it is not a signatory to any lease agreements between its agents and the individual plaintiffs.

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