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January 9, 2015 2:00 PM, EST

Celadon Asks Court to Reconsider $3.8 Million Fine

Alan Petersime/Bloomberg News

Celadon Trucking Services has asked a federal court to reconsider a state court’s $3.8 million judgment against the Indianapolis-based carrier for failing to pass on fuel rebate savings to its drivers.

In addition, the state judge said Celadon must pay $1.7 million in interest to a class of 2,200 leased owner-operators whose compensation from agreements dating to 2003-2004 was “withheld or charged back in some amount by Celadon for diesel fuel purchased at a Pilot Flying J truck stop with a Comdata card issued by Celadon.”

The 2013 lawsuit alleged that Celadon breached its contract with its owner-operator drivers because it deducted more money from their compensation than the carrier paid for fuel purchases.

“The lawsuit is being vigorously defended. Celadon has been fair with its owner operators and very much appreciates their service to Celadon and hard work. The attorneys who have brought this suit are entitled to develop their theories in court and in the press but Celadon remains optimistic that it will ultimately prevail in this matter,” Joe Weigel, Celadon’s director of marketing and communications, said in a statement. 

In court documents, Celadon has disputed that the drivers are entitled to damages, “let alone millions of dollars,” and have requested that the case be removed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana because the damages were more than $5 million and the class was larger than 100.

However, attorneys for the owner-operators have argued that the actual damages were $3.8 million and therefore below the $5 million minimum in damages required to remove the case to federal court.

Celadon Group, the parent company, ranks No. 44 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.