published Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Judge orders mediation between Haslams-owned truck-stop chain, customers

Jimmy Haslam, left, and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam
Jimmy Haslam, left, and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

KNOXVILLE — A federal judge has ordered mediation in a lawsuit targeting the truck-stop chain owned by Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

The suit claims Knoxville-based Pilot Flying J fraudulently withheld fuel rebates and discounts from customers. Pilot earlier settled similar claims in a class-action lawsuit for $85 million. A few companies opted out of that settlement.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/1uKOqe1) that some plaintiffs' attorneys this week objected to the ordered mediation. They said they need to take discovery first to determine what was stolen from their clients.

A Pilot attorney disagreed, saying an audit provided by the company gives an "absolutely full picture" of the damages.

Pilot also recently agreed to pay a $92 million penalty to avoid criminal charges against the company.

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