A federal judge has allowed the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association class certification status in its suit against Heartland Express.
Judge Charles Wolle, for the Southern District of Iowa, granted the association’s and two of its members’ requests for class certification in its suit against the Iowa-based truckload carrier. A Heartland spokesman did not return a phone call seeking comment.
The suit, filed in December 2001, alleges that the carrier’s lease with owner-operators violates federal truth-in-leasing regulations and that the company makes illegal deductions from owner-operators’ compensation.
The trial is scheduled to start Sept. 8. If Heartland is found to be at fault, it can be ordered to pay damages to all affected owner-operators.
Wolle certified the class to include owner-operators who are or have been leased to Heartland since Oct. 1, 1997, and who have been affected by the alleged violations noted in the suit.
The case charges that Heartland forced owner-operators to buy bobtail insurance from Heartland and that the company allegedly made deductions not outlined in their leases. It also alleges that the carrier deducted more owner-operator compensation than it actually advanced for products and services.