A Georgia Trucking Company has filed the first lawsuit that 10News is aware of since federal agents raided the Pilot Flying J Corporation on Monday.
Atlantic Coast Carriers in Hazelwood, Ga. requested class action status against the Knoxville-based fuel company. If a judge certifies the request, more companies could be added to the lawsuit.
Affidavits and warrants unsealed Thursday claim that allegedly several of Pilot's employees intentionally defrauded several of its customers through a rebate program. Investigators claim several Pilot employees deceptively withheld diesel fuel price rebates and discounts from customers without their knowledge or approval.
Atlantic Coast Carriers' lawsuit claims Pilot allegedly converted consumer rebate funds to its own use, committed a pattern of racketeering activity that made the plaintiff lose money, and only partially carried out obligations of their contract. The lawsuit states the companies deserve all the money they were promised, punitive damages, and attorneys fees.
In the lawsuit it states, "Atlantic Coast and other similar consumers are entitled to the rebates funds withheld by Pilot pursuant to Pilot's agreements and promises to fully and faithfully pay rebate funds to its consumers."
Atlantic Coast Carriers is not listed in the federal affidavits or search warrants as one of the companies allegedly defrauded.
Pilot Flying J issued a brief statement late Saturday night saying it's reviewing the lawsuit and will act accordingly.
The federal search states not every customer was targeted, just those that were considered "too unsophisticated" to notice that "their agreed-upon discount deal with Pilot was being changed to benefit Pilot."
Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam spoke to the media on Tuesday and Friday to address allegations. On Friday, he acknowledged that it's been a rough week for his company, but said his employees are doing a good job working through a tough situation.
He told media outlets that he will not step down from his role during the investigation because quote, "I haven't done anything wrong. . . This company needs leadership right now."
On Tuesday, Jimmy Haslam said they were shocked at what happened on Monday and that the company's number one value is "do the right thing all the time and we believe we've done that."