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Truck Driver Fights Back Against DAC Awarded $130,000

Oct
30,
2010
8
DAC Attorney Paul Taylor

Attorney Paul Taylor

Attorney Paul Taylor of the Truckers Justice Center wins case against Carrier for Blacklisting on DAC Report:

JUDGE FINDS MAVERICK TRANSPORTATION BLACKLISTED DRIVER, AWARDS DAMAGES AND ORDERS CORRECTION OF DAC REPORT :

In a decision issued on October 28, 2010, Judge Russell Pulver of the United States Department of Labor held that Maverick Transportation, LLC, a carrier based in North Little Rock, AR improperly blacklisted one of its former truck drivers, Albert Canter, by showing on his “DAC Report” that he had abandoned a truck. Canter had refused to drive the truck because it had been cited by a commercial vehicle enforcement officer for having a power steering fluid leak and an air hose not protected against chaffing in violation of several commercial vehicle safety regulations. Judge Pulver found that Maverick violated the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (“STAA”) which prohibits discrimination against drivers because they have filed complaints related to violations of commercial vehicle safety regulations or because they have refused to drive in violation of a commercial vehicle safety regulation.

Canter found out that he had been blacklisted on his DAC Report nearly 5 years after Maverick placed the note that he had abandonment of the truck on his DAC Report. The STAA provides that a claim of discrimination must be brought within 180 days of the discriminatory act. Judge Pulver’s decision for Canter is significant because it held that the 180-day period to bring a claim under the STAA begins to run the time the driver discovers that he has been blacklisted.

In November 2003, Canter was in Ohio en route to Virginia transporting a load for Maverick when he was involved in a crash resulting in the death of a motorcyclist who had been knocked off his bike by a deer ahead of Canter on a highway. Canter was not found to be at fault in the crash. A Pennsylvania State Trooper inspected Canter’s assigned truck and found that two brakes were out of adjustment, the power steering box had a fluid leak, a brake hose was chaffing on a wire tie causing visible wear and dunnage under the trailer was secured only by a rubber strap. Canter was allowed by law enforcement to drive the truck home after the brakes were adjusted.

Maverick allowed Canter to drive approximately 70 miles to his home from the crash scene in order to deal with the stress of having just been involved in a fatal crash. Canter remained at his home for about one month, after which he informed Maverick that he was quitting. Canter refused Maverick’s instruction to drive the truck more than 200 miles to an Ohio terminal citing the “deadline problems” found by Pennsylvania Law Enforcement.

As a result of Canter’s refusal to drive the truck with the power steering fluid leak and improperly secured air hose, Maverick noted on Canter’s DAC Report that he had abandoned the truck and that he was not eligible for re-hire by Maverick. Canter did not discover that this information was on his DAC Report until nearly 5 years later when he suddenly found it difficult to find work as a driver. Canter disputed this information with USIS, which asked Maverick to respond to the dispute. Maverick’s “Re-Hire Committee” decided that the notations of truck abandonment and Canter’s ineligibility for rehire should remain on his DAC report.

Canter then brought a claim for blacklisting against Maverick under the STAA by filing a complaint with OSHA. OSHA denied Canter’s claim finding that it was untimely. Canter objected to OSHA’s decision and Judge Pulver was assigned from the Department of Labor to conduct a formal hearing. In finding that Canter’s claim was timely, Judge Pulver stated that “[Canter] presents the more compelling argument that the 180-day statutory period began running upon receipt of his DAC report. Although the report was prepared in early 2004, [Canter] could not have been aware of the contents in the report given that he had already voluntarily terminated his employment with Respondent.”

Judge Pulver also found that the posting of the adverse information on Canter’s DAC Report was done in retaliation for Canter’s legally-protected work refusal finding that “there is compelling testimony in the record that driving the truck would have resulted in violation of DOT regulations.” Judge Pulver also found that Canter’s refusal to drive was protected because “[Canter] had a reasonable apprehension that driving 200-250 miles to the Middletown, Ohio terminal could result in serious injury to himself and others.”

Judge Pulver awarded Canter more than $55,000 in wage loss damages and $75,000 in emotional distress damages resulting from Maverick’s retaliatory blacklisting. He also awarded Canter his attorney fees and costs. Judge Pulver ordered Maverick to post a copy of his decision at all of its terminals. Finally, Judge Pulver ordered Maverick to remove abandonment from Canter’s DAC Report and to pay him $585.70 weekly until it does so.

Fight back against the truck driver DAC report . . . sign the petition.  If you have been a victim of the abusive DAC report or retaliated against by your motor carrier, contact Attorney Paul Taylor at the Truckers Justice Center for further consultation.

© 2010, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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8 Responses to Truck Driver Fights Back Against DAC Awarded $130,000. - Post a Comment

  1. MattB

    This is a great leap forward for us Drivers. I hope that all the other companies that are guilty of this take a hard look at this decision and get any thing derogatory they have posted unjustly removed from the DAC database ASAP.

  2. TruckerDesiree

    What a great story! This is an inspiration to all drivers who have suffered the effects of DAC abuse and had their driving careers destroyed.

  3. Allen Smith

    If there is one thing that many drivers are still not understanding or perhaps, even believing … is that as all employees do, truck drivers do have rights. Whether it’s the DAC report, lease purchase contracts or unjustified termination, the law protects employees and this applies to truck drivers as well.

    Sometimes it just takes the expertise of an attorney to exercise those rights, and Paul Taylor is one of the best.

  4. Chuck McDaniel

    This is a big boom for drivers. I know we have rights, but it’s a time consuming effort to find an attorney that’s familiar with trucking. I’ve had negative things placed in my report by a number of companies, after I quit for unfair treatment. The most recent was I applied at Pro Drivers in Kansas City, Mo and they received a report from DAC that I had a felony against me in Louisana for Sex Offender in Desota Parish. I’ve never been in the State of Louisana. I mentioned this on the Truckers Report to assist me in finding an attorney that could serve me on this dilemma. Allen Smith never gave me a response. I need assistance also. Also negative statements were place on my report by some unethical trucking companies as well.

    • Allen Smith

      Hey Chuck, when people request direction or help regarding DAC I always respond, either through direct email or a DM. Not only that, but we have info on the blog as well with relevant articles posted, such as this one you’ve commented on. Paul Taylor has even been on our Blog Talk Radio show and we have highly recommended his services. Sorry if your request slipped through the cracks, but that’s why I try to provide as much info on the blog as I can, just in case something like this happens. Not making excuses; but driving, answering emails, FB, Twitter, blog talk radio shows, and writing blog posts can sometimes be quite a full plate.
      Glad you have the info now though. I hope you give Paul a call as I’m confident he can help your situation.

  5. […] the company.  One of the most recent cases was when the judge awarded a driver $130,000 against Maverick Transport, determining that the company used the DAC services to blacklist the […]

  6. Mountainman

    The regulation that forbids these actions by a carrier should be criminalized and the parties responsible face prosecution. What Maverick did and the judges decision should go viral on Youtube and on all trucker blogs. Some trucking organization should see to that!

  7. […] Truck Driver Fights Back Against DAC Awarded $130,000 […]

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