By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor |
OOIDA’s lawsuit against the state of New York’s Department of Taxation and Finance was certified Sept. 1 as a class action by the state’s Supreme Court, which is the state’s trial court. The lawsuit challenges certain highway taxes as unconstitutional and discriminatory against out-of-state truckers who have paid the taxes in order to do business in New York.
The court found that a class action was appropriate due to the potential number of trucking businesses affected.
OOIDA’s attorneys filed the complaint nearly a year ago in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Albany. The action names the defendants as the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, Thomas H. Mattox (individually and in his official capacity as commissioner), along with the State of New York; and Andrew Cuomo (individually and in his official capacity as governor of the State of New York).
Named plaintiffs in the case are OOIDA and OOIDA Members Bryan Spoon dba Spoon Trucking, Steve Bixler, Jack McComb and William “Lewie” Pugh.
The class action lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of taxes that impose $15 for a certificate of registration and a $4 decal charge on all trucks using New York state highways. The taxes are imposed not only on New York-based trucks, which are driven proportionately higher miles in New York, but also on trucks based outside of New York, which are driven mostly in states other than New York.
OOIDA President Jim Johnston says that trucks owned and/or operated outside of New York travel fewer miles on New York highways than trucks owned and/or operated in New York. The imposition of the challenged taxes results in a higher per mile tax rate being imposed on out-of-state trucks.
OOIDA charges that constitutes an undue burden on interstate commerce in violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Johnston says that OOIDA’s action asks the court to declare those taxes unconstitutional and therefore invalid and not enforceable. The complaint also asks for injunctive relief, refunds and other appropriate relief on behalf of the plaintiffs.
OOIDA’s legal action will represent a class of all interstate motor carriers who reside and operate trucking equipment primarily outside New York who have paid or will pay the taxes.
Johnston called the certification of the class action a “very positive development.”
June 14, 2013
The latest lawsuit filed against truck stop chain Pilot Flying J — filed June 12 — specifically names as defendants in the case Pilot Flying J owner and CEO Jimmy Haslam and other top executives at the company, in addition to the company itself, following federal accusations against the company that it defrauded carriers out of millions of dollars in owed fuel rebates. Named as defendants in the lawsuit, in addition to Haslam, are John Freeman, Pilot’s vice president of sales; Pilot President Mark Hazelwood; and the company’s national sales director, Brian Mosher. The suit was filed in the middle district of Alabama by Eagle Motor Freight. The company’s lawsuit relies on for evidence a federal affidavit unsealed April 18, which was used by the FBI to obtain a search warrant to raid the company’s headquarters April 15. Eagle is a Montgomery County, Ala., based company and said it worked with Pilot since 2009.It is only the second lawsuit so far to mention members of Pilot Flying J’s senior leadership. It, like all but one other of the lawsuits, is a class-action suit. This suit marks at least the 14th suit brought against the company since April 15. Eagle is suing Pilot for mail fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, breach of contract, deceptive trade practices, unjust enrichment, fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation and suppression. The carrier is seeking for itself and the class actual, consequential, incidental and punitive damages sustained, costs of the suit, attorney’s fees, litigation expenses and court cases, along with equitable and injunctive relief. Like the other suits, it also asks for a jury trial for the case.