Court OKs $85M Pilot Flying J settlement

Federal investigation still ongoing

Seven months after federal agents raided Pilot Flying J’s Knoxville headquarters investigating the company's business dealings, the high-profile trucking company won court approval for an estimated $85 million settlement agreement with its customers Monday. 

The speedy class action settlement, approved by U.S. District Judge James Moody in Arkansas, encompasses all but 60 entities that were customers of Pilot Flying J in an effort to pay back trucking companies for allegedly cheating them out of promised fuel rebates.

An FBI investigation is still ongoing. Seven company employees have entered guilty pleas.

Pilot Flying J is the family company of Gov. Bill Haslam and is run by his brother Jimmy Haslam, who is the majority owner of the Cleveland Browns. The agreement guarantees full payment of unpaid discounts owed, plus 6 percent interest. Pilot Flying J will also pay fees and costs of internal audits and trucking customers’ attorneys’ fees.

According to the company, Pilot Flying J has already sent checks to trucking company customers owed money, plus a 4 percent interest. The remainder of the settlement would be sent out within 30 days.

Nearly 60 entities have opted out of the agreement, according to Pilot Flying J. Some 20 trucking companies are continuing lawsuits already filed.