OOIDA reaches class-action settlement with household goods movers

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The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association announced today, May 2, that it had reached a settlement in two nationwide class action cases against Allied Van Lines and North American Van Lines. The settlement also includes Global Van Lines. Joining OOIDA in the suit, and representing the class of owner-operators, were OOIDA members Skip Austin, George Pancoast and Rod Rockwell.

The Allied lawsuit was filed by Rockwell and OOIDA in federal court in Illinois in May 2000. The North American lawsuit was filed by Austin, Pancoast and OOIDA in March 2001, now pending in federal court in Indiana. The lawsuits alleged that Allied and North American had failed to implement leases that complied with the compensation and chargeback disclosure provisions of the federal truth-in-leasing regulations.

Under the terms of the settlement, Allied and North American will pay $8 million to owner-operators in the class over a period of two years to settle all claims raised in the lawsuits. The settlement class includes all Allied owner-operators who leased equipment and services to Allied after May 5, 2000, and all North American and Global Drivers who leased equipment and services to North American after March 2001. As part of the settlement, Allied and North American are implementing a new uniform independent contractor operating agreement. The entire class is composed of about 6,000 owner-operators.

Commenting on the settlement, OOIDA President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Johnston expressed satisfaction that significant portions of the household goods industry and their drivers could put their differences behind them and look to the future under revised owner-operator leases. Plaintiffs Austin, Pancoast and Rockwell stated they, too, were pleased with the results accomplished by the settlement, including the movers’ agreement to make full disclosure regarding compensation at the time loads are offered or assigned.

“Not everyone gets everything they want in a settlement, but where the parties continue to deal with each other on an ongoing basis, it is as important to build for the future as it is to try and redress every conceivable grievance from the past,” Johnston said. “Allied and North American Van Lines deserve great credit for showing real leadership in addressing these types of longstanding industry issues.”

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The court still must approve the proposed settlement. It is anticipated that each class member will receive a settlement award based on the number of days for each truck that the driver had under lease during the class period. Because of the structured payment schedule agreed to by the parties, class members likely will receive three separate checks over the course of two years from the date the court grants final approval to the settlement. Attorneys’ fees and expenses approved by the court also will be deducted on a prorated basis.