A Federal district court judge in Indiana has agreed with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn.'s (OOIDA) request that two lawsuits against a Missouri household goods carrier be certified as class action lawsuits.
U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker concluded that OOIDA and the owner-operator plaintiffs had met all the prerequisites needed for class certification in both suits against Mayflower Transit Inc. of Fenton, MO. The lawsuits were filed by OOIDA, with members Woody Chambers of Woodchuck Leasing Inc, Mark Dudgeon and John Neidig.
Each suit is estimated to have a potential class of 1,000 members. In her written judgment, Judge Barker found that "a class action was the superior method of adjudication in the matters in question as a lawsuit by each individual plaintiff would be impracticable since the amount of money at issue was usually less than the amount it would cost for each to prosecute a case."
The first suit claims 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 alleges that Mayflower unlawfully overcharged the owner-operators for insurance products they purchased through Mayflower, which is also a violation of federal truth-in-leasing regulations.
In making her ruling, Judge Barker also dismissed Mayflower’s challenge of OOIDA’s participation in the class action stating, "As the owner-operators’ associatio,n which has undertaken both legal and legislative efforts for the owner-operators, OOIDA has a powerful interest in defending the owner-operators’ contract rights. It has proven itself to be an adequate representative in the past."