Four individuals have filed a lawsuit in which they allege R.S.P. Express, its formerly married owners and NA Truck Repair LLC have conspired to defraud roughly 145 current and former contracted truck owner-drivers by failing to disclose the actual amounts the companies received in payment from third parties.
The plaintiffs allege in the 34-page proposed class action that the trucking company has since at least 2006 received more money from third-party entities for freight services than has been relayed to truck owner-drivers. According to the racketeering suit, the defendants, in contrivance to their contracts with the plaintiffs, “wrongly kept” the difference for themselves while purporting in contractual documents that the funds were subject to an 80/20 split in favor of proposed class members.
Per the complaint, the defendants, after each drivers’ trip, would send via U.S. mail a statement that ostensibly showed both the amount paid by a third party for freight services and an accounting of the 80/20 split between the driver and the defendants. According to the plaintiffs, however, that statement was fraudulent in that it failed to disclose that the actual amount paid by a given third party was “always in excess of the amount accounted for in the statement.” The defendants would keep that money for their own account, the suit says.
The case surmises that the number of mail transactions such as those above-described “could exceed 400,000.”
Filed in Michigan federal court, the complaint claims that the defendants, sometime after 2015, ceased their prior driver payment arrangement by changing the contracts that stipulate drivers’ payments. According to the case, the change took place only after a driver reportedly “raised their individual concerns” over the difference between what the defendants truthfully received from third parties and the amounts the companies asserted had been paid. The defendants’ new contracts, the suit says, stated a compensation model based on a fixed amount for services, eliminating the 80/20 formula. As the plaintiffs tell it, the defendants also kept from drivers the reason behind the revision to the 80/20 pay model.
In addition to charging that the defendants engaged in a years-long pattern of racketeering at the expense of contracted truck owner-drivers, the complaint further alleges that NA Truck Repair is an “unlicensed repair facility” set up to “tamper with emissions controls.” The tampering of a truck’s emissions controls, the case says, can “increase fuel efficiency” and generally cut operation costs. The plaintiffs allege this conduct further cuts into their pay as it interferes with the drivers’ ability to compete against trucks that have been unlawfully tampered with.
The lawsuit looks to cover all roughly 145 individuals who owned rigs and drove for the defendants within the last nine years.