CRST, Werner settle driver hiring dispute

CRST Van Expedited announced that it had settled its litigation against Werner Enterprises concerning Werner’s hiring of drivers who had signed employment contracts with CRST.

In 2004, CRST sued Werner in federal court in Los Angeles, alleging that Werner’s actions gave rise to various claims, including intentional interference with contract and violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit delivered a key victory for CRST in March when it rejected Werner’s contention that CRST’s driver contracts merely created an “at-will” employment relationship.

According to CRST, Werner has agreed that it will make inquiries of CRST to determine the contract status of CRST drivers and has agreed that it will not hire drivers who remain under contract to CRST. The settlement is effective until Aug. 1, 2015.

The Werner litigation was the second case to be resolved relating to CRST’s employment contracts, under which drivers receive training benefits in exchange for a commitment to stay with CRST for a specified period of time. In February 2006, a federal court in Oklahoma ruled against J.B. Hunt in similar litigation. In October last year, CRST announced that it had reached a “mutually satisfactory settlement” with J.B. Hunt that did not change the Oklahoma federal court’s ruling.