For many years I’ve been writing and warning new drivers not to be lured by company truck Lease Purchase programs. Most veteran drivers know that carrier Lease Agreements are meant for the company to be profitable and the driver to fail.
On January 31, 2017 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF UTAH – CENTRAL DIVISION MEMORANDUM
DECISION AND ORDER
Utah U.S. District Court judge, Judge Robert J. Shelby, granted certification to a nationwide class of truck drivers who allege fraud and other statutory claims against C.R. England.
The court issued this favorable ruling for truck drivers, certifying a class action in the C.R. England Student Driver- Truck Lease lawsuit.
Truck drivers allege claims of fraud, false advertising, and company unjust enrichment against C.R. England
Plaintiffs Charles Roberts and Kenneth McKay, who drove for C.R. England as independent contractors and leased trucks from Horizon in 2009, allege that the defendants developed a fraudulent plan to induce thousands of people to enroll in C.R. England’s driver training schools by promising students “the choice” of eventual employment as a company driver or the ability to earn a desirable income driving as an independent contractor. Truckers claimed however that the company driver positions were largely unavailable, leaving the enticing option to lease trucks from England and become independent contractor drivers.
Judge Shelby certified a nationwide class of C.R. England drivers who meet the following criteria:
1) signed the Vehicle Leasing Agreement with Horizon,
2) signed the Independent Contractor Operating Agreement with C.R. England,
3) during the applicable statute of limitations period, and
4) drove at least one day as an IC lease operator for C.R. England.
“This is a putative class action brought against two affiliated trucking companies by drivers once associated with those companies. Plaintiffs Charles Roberts and Kenneth McKay allege that Defendants C.R. England, Inc. and Opportunity Leasing, Inc. developed a fraudulent plan to induce thousands of people to enroll in England’s driver training schools by promising students the choice of eventual employment as a company driver or the ability to earn a desirable income driving as an independent contractor. Plaintiffs contend that in reality, company driver positions were largely unavailable, and students in the driver training schools were subjected to a misinformation campaign to convince them to lease trucks from the Defendants and become independent contractor drivers affiliated with England. Hundreds, if not thousands, of students were persuaded to invest substantial sums of money to lease trucks from Defendants and become independent contractor drivers. But many soon found they could not earn a living as they had 2
been led to believe, and were left debt-ridden.
Plaintiffs sue to recover on behalf of these drivers and now move the court for class certification.
1 Defendants acknowledge the hardship accompanying the life of a long-haul trucker, but vigorously deny Plaintiffs’ allegations. Defendants oppose class certification, 2 move for judgment on the pleadings on several of the Plaintiffs’ claims, 3 and request summary judgment under several theories. 4 To Defendants, the fraud Plaintiffs allege is a fiction, and myriad individualized issues make this case unsuitable for class certification.
After careful consideration of the pleadings, the parties’ extensive briefing and post-hearing submissions, the record developed, and the arguments presented by counsel, the court grants Defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings, denies Defendants’ motion for summary judgment, and grants in part and denies in part Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification.” Read the entire Order here
If you are a current or former lease driver for C.R. England and want to share your experience as a lease driver go to CR England Class Action Lawsuit Website
NOTE: A Certification Court ruling allows one or several drivers to bring suit for all others similarly situated. In this CR England case for instance, the court allowed two drivers to sue on behalf of all 11,000. These drivers are now all part of the case unless they opt out. It’s s powerful tool to aggregate workers rights to seek back wages due.
Interestingly, bill H.R. 985 has been introduced, “Fairness in Class Action” To amend the procedures used in Federal court class actions and multi-district litigation proceedings to assure fairer, more efficient outcomes for claimants and defendants, and for other purposes.
As with many bills, their titles can be misleading and must be looked at with a grain of salt. The title “Fairness in Class Action”, actually translates to restrictions so broad, that the ability for workers to file Class Actions against corporations would pretty much come to an end. Many of these companies have allegedly and willfully taken advantage of their workers.
As we always say, Power is in numbers, and if H.R.985 is passed, corporations would no longer be accountable when mass injustice is part of their business plan. Individuals would need to file individually rather than Class Action.
I can’t help but think, was the trucking industry involved in this bill? How about “big pharma”?
If H.R.985 is passed, this could dissolve this CR England case,and if won by drivers, drivers would not receive deserving compensation.
© 2017, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.