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Judge denies motion to keep Haslam from contacting customers

4:20 PM, Apr 29, 2013   |    comments
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KNOXVILLE -- A judge has denied the request of a Georgia attorney to keep Pilot Flying J officials from contacting the customers who may have fallen victim to an alleged rebate scam.

The motion for a temporary restraining order was filed last week, by the attorney for a Georgia trucking company that has filed a lawsuit against Pilot Flying J. The attorney claimed that C.E.O. Jimmy Haslam was contacting the companies, getting releases from them and settling claims before the companies even know the full extent of their claims.

Attorneys for Haslam and Pilot Flying J argued they were only trying to make things right and rebuild the damaged relationships.

In court Monday morning, the plaintiffs claimed that Pilot Flying J was attempting to influence witnesses in their desired lawsuit. They also claimed Pilot Flying J was trying to pay people off.

Pilot attorneys countered that they were doing the right thing, to "make things right" for the customers and pay them what they were owed, no more or no less.

The judge seemed to favor Pilot Flying J's actions in this case, saying "Why would I not be delighted that these cases be settled out of court?"

With that, the judge denied the injunction.

Pilot spokesman Tom Ingram said the privately owned company is delighted by the ruling, calling it "outrageous" to suggest Pilot shouldn't be allowed to discuss matters with customers.

We're also learning more about what the government claims Browns owner Jimmy Haslam's Pilot Flying J company did to warrant a federal investigation.

The Associated Press says Haslam's team was secretly recorded on how they scammed hundreds of thousands of dollars from clients.

Investigators gave immunity to one former Pilot Flying J employee who laid out how the alleged scheme worked.

If a client questioned the mistake, the report says they were told to blame it on a computer glitch.

It's alleged Haslam was aware of the rebate situation.

WKYC-TV / WBIR

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