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Ongoing business dispute sparks Florida-based lawsuit

An out-of-state trucking company has filed a lawsuit here in Florida against a national refueling company currently under fire for fraud allegations. The suit, filed in federal court in Pensacola on May 17, stems from an ongoing business dispute between Pilot Flying J and a number of trucking companies who say the company has misrepresented its fuel rebate program. An investigation is ongoing.

The most recent suit filed is the seventh of its kind against Pilot Flying J. The latest suit was filed here in Florida because although the trucking company in question is not based here, much of its contracted work takes place within our borders. It is also the first suit filed by an owner/operator rather than a carrier.

These suits are not without precedent, as Pilot Flying J’s headquarters were raided jointly by the FBI and the IRS back in April, based on allegations of fraud. While a dollar amount has not been attached to the suits currently filed, it is intimated that hundreds and perhaps thousands of clients of Pilot Flying J’s may be entitled to seek compensation through class action. Representatives of Pilot Flying J have dismissed the fraud claims as untrue, claiming that many of their partners have misunderstood the “manual” nature of the fuel rebate program, rather than suggesting the program is itself misleading.

A business dispute with a large corporation is often a very complicated affair. Particularly in cases like these, where the FBI and IRS have become involved, individual suits are often combined together in class action to better represent the needs of each plaintiff. Federal courts are set up to oversee such suits, which may be the case here. Business owners seeking compensation for contract breaches and other business disputes may benefit from a thorough understanding of local, state and federal laws regarding business conduct.

Source: Convenience Store News, “Pilot Flying J Hit With Seventh Lawsuit,” May 21, 2013

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