Conspiracy, racketeering allegations dismissed by federal judge in Haslam, Pilot Flying J civil case

Criminal probe continues

MOBILE, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge has dismissed racketeering and conspiracy allegations contained in a civil lawsuit against Jimmy Haslam and his Pilot Flying J Travel Centers involving alleged fuel rebate fraud.

Wright Transportation, based in Mobile Alabama, filed a federal lawsuit in July 2013 in the wake of an FBI investigation that is scrutinizing fuel rebate deals between Pilot Flying J and trucking companies across the country.

Much of the details surrounding the investigation were contained in an FBI affidavit that was used by Wright and other companies as a basis for lawsuits and claims that companies were cheated of promised fuel rebates.

Federal Judge William H. Steele ruled Friday that the "affidavit does not reference" Wright Transportation, "much less assert that any particular individual" representing "any particular defendant made any particular statement" to any representative of Wright Transportation.

Conspiracy, fraud and deceptive trade allegations were also dismissed.

Claims involving breach of contract between Pilot Flying J and Wright Transportation were allowed to proceed.

Aurbrey Harwell, Jr., an attorney representing Pilot Flying J, said dismissing the conspiracy and racketeering allegations was a "big victory" for the company and was "in keeping with the law and the facts".

"We maintained throughout the while some customers were owned money--this situation certainly doesn't rise to the level of racketeering or some of the other overreaching allegations lawyers have made," said Harwell.

"We agree with the court that this is fundamentally a breach of contract issue."

Meanwhile, a criminal probe into Pilot Flying J continues and 7 former company employees have already pleaded guilty to fraud related charges.

The judge did, however, grant Wright Transportation the opportunity to amend the allegations that were dismissed and resubmit them for the court's consideration at a later date.

Attorneys representing Wright Transportation have yet to respond.

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