A Knoxville, TN, judge ruled that Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam may continue to reach out to trucking companies that might have been victimized by a rebate fraud scheme. The FBI is investigating whether sales staff with the truck stop chain reduced rebates owed to customers to increase revenue and sales commissions. Haslam said in late April that he had contacted at least one company that might have been shorted rebates.
Atlantic Coast Carriers, which is suing Pilot, filed a motion asking Knoxville Circuit Court Judge Harold Wimberly to block Haslam from contacting fleet customers. The motion said Haslam’s actions “may constitute an improper attempt to coerce parties and witnesses under Tennessee law,” according to a report in The Tennessean.
In the motion filed April 25, a Georgia lawyer representing Atlantic Coast charged that Haslam’s calls were an attempt to undermine the class action suit by “obtaining releases and settling claims before the potential class members even know the full extent of their claims.”
Wimberly rejected the motion at a hearing on April 29.
Haslam said he had ordered a review of the billing history for each of Pilot’s approximately 3,300 trucking clients. He said Pilot wanted to make it right with companies that may be owed money because of the rebate scheme.
According to The Tennessean, a spokesman for Pilot said the company was delighted by Wimberly’s ruling.