Celadon Group Inc. is fighting back after a judge ordered the company to pay more than $3.8 million to a group of owner-operators. The judgment was filed Dec. 12, 2014, in a Marion County, Ind., court. Superior Court Judge Michael D. Keele ruled that Celadon owed the money in back pay to OOs who were or had previously been contracted to the company.
Drivers Charles Wilmoth and Kent Vassey filed the class action case, representing 2,262 current and former drivers, against the carrier claiming that it had wrongly withheld funds from their paychecks as reimbursement for expenses the carrier did not actually pay. Celadon drivers use a company charge card when they fuel at Pilot and Flying J truck stops. They then submit their receipts to Celadon, and the company subtracts that amount from their paychecks.
The problem, drivers say, is that Celadon actually pays a discounted price for gas at those particular truck stops. The amount shown on the receipt and subtracted from the drivers’ paychecks is as much as 50 cents more per gallon than what the company actually pays.
In response to the Marion County court ruling, Celadon filed a petition Dec. 19, 2014, to move the case to federal court, which has jurisdiction over class-action cases where damages exceed $5 million. The drivers’ lawyers, however, argue that the company cannot include interest in the damage assessment and that the case does not actually meet the qualifications for federal court.
Celadon has additionally filed counterclaims against Wilmoth and Vassey claiming that they defaulted on their contracts.