As a major component of OOIDA’s mission to protect the rights of truckers, OOIDA initiates litigation through both the state and federal court system, when necessary, to combat injustices and abusive treatment of truckers. Our focus has generally been to directed at unscrupulous business practices by carriers for their own financial gain or to correct state or federal legislation that puts truckers at a disadvantage.
OOIDA has pursued legal action against approximately 30 states resulting in refunds of several hundred million dollars to truckers in addition to stopping the proliferation of unconstitutional practice of discriminatory and burdensome taxes and permit requirements
In 1996, OOIDA initiated an aggressive litigation strategy to identify and file court actions against some of those companies perceived as the most flagrant violators of the federal leasing regulations.
Until the termination of the ICC in 1995, there had been no serious challenge to the illegal business practices of carriers in the court system. With the termination of the ICC, though, confusion existed as to the authority of the courts to consider cases involving the federal leasing regulations as well the interpretation of the regulations.
Many of the class actions brought about by OOIDA in recent years have helped define and solidify key interpretations of the federal leasing regulations by the courts and established legal precedents for future cases.
Some of the landmark rulings that have become the foundation of OOIDA’s legal actions against carriers include:
- establishing an owner-operator’s right of private action against a carrier for violations of the federal leasing regulations.
- the court’s acceptance of their mandate to enforce the federal leasing regulations.
- the court’s agreement that the leasing regulations must be strictly complied with in leases
- court-imposed injunctions against a carrier from using leased equipment if their lease is not compliant with the leasing regulations
- the certification of complaints as a class action to achieve the ultimate success for large numbers of owner-operators
- the court’s recognition of drivers’ escrow funds as a fiduciary trust that must be held separately from operating funds and bankruptcy settlements.
- The court’s acceptance of four-year statute of limitations when considering claims against carriers.
- The piercing of the corporate veil in going after directors of carriers in their personal capacity for restitution on judgments.