Pilot Flying J's Settlement Costs Pegged at $72M
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- New court documents filed late Monday indicate Pilot Flying J is expected to spend $72 million to settle the federal class-action lawsuit over allegations of fraud in its fuel rebate program.
According to NewsNet5.com, these new documents filed in U.S. District Court in Little Rock on behalf of 10 trucking companies state that Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot Flying J's cash offer is "an extraordinarily good settlement" for the companies that are owed fuel rebates.
The filings come in advance of a Nov. 25 fairness hearing where the proposed settlement is scheduled for final approval.
The total value of the settlement, according to the newly filed documents, is approximately $72 million and includes interest, costs of audits, administration, attorney fee and an additional $10,000 for each trucking company in so-called "incentive awards," the news outlet reported. In addition, attorney fees are expected to reach $14 million, as well as another $52,245.84 in attorney expenses.
As part of the offer, trucking companies taking part in the settlement must agree not to sue Pilot Flying J at a later date.
Some trucking companies have already opted out of the settlement. The retailer estimates that at least 150 companies have done so and may continue a legal fight to recover what they claim is owed them.
In July, Pilot Flying J proposed the class settlement that would resolve the more than 20 lawsuits filed against the company since the April 15 federal raid on its headquarters, as CSNews Online previously reported. A judge granted preliminary approval to the settlement.
The terms of the settlement include:
- An audit of accounts of all customers who received a rebate and/or discount from Pilot Flying J dating back to 2008.
- All customers will receive 100 percent of any money owed, with 6-percent interest, as soon as discrepancies are verified.
- An independent accountant, approved by the court and paid for by Pilot Flying J, will validate Pilot Flying J’s internal audit process.
- The right to dispute audit results.
- Customers have the opportunity to opt out because they do not like the agreement or because they simply do not want to participate in the class action.
- Pilot Flying J will pay all costs related to the process of the customer claims and the litigation, which includes audit costs (both internal and external), administrative costs and legal fees, saving customers significant time and money.
Family-owned Pilot Flying J operates more than 650 retail locations and is the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America.