No decision yet on whether Haslam will have to testify in civil case

8:48 AM, Aug 23, 2013   |    comments
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Video: No decision yet on whether Haslam will testify

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- A Knoxville judge says Pilot Flying J must respond to a civil lawsuit filed in April by the end of the month.

Attorneys for Pilot had requested a temporary stay of proceedings that would prolong the civil case while a classwide preliminary settlement offer plays out in federal court in Arkansas.

Judge Harold Wimberly granted the plaintiffs a response to the suit by Aug. 31 but not everything they asked for.

Attorneys for plaintiff trucking company Atlantic Coast Carriers asked the judge to deny the stay and allow them evidence and access to depose Jimmy Haslam and other Pilot executives under oath next month.

Judge Wimberly said discussion about discovery, including the testimony of Haslam and others, will be discussed at a Septemeber conference.

There's still some question as to what evidence Pilot might have to produce.

"The whole problem here is they [Pilot Flying J] do not want anyone to know the facts," attorney Bart Turner said in the courtroom.

Attorney Drew McElroy says the five trucking companies he represents want a response from Pilot Flying J on the civil lawsuit they filed in April after the FBI raided Pilot Flying J's Knoxville headquarters.

The class action lawsuit alleges Pilot defrauded trucking company customers by promising fuel rebates they withheld.

McElroy and Turner were asking Judge Wimberly to allow the attorneys to question Haslam in September. They also want discovery from Pilot, a long list of documents and other evidence of the alleged fraud from within the company.

Attorneys for Pilot argued that PFJ is filing motions to stay in all 25 civil suits it faces. If the Arkansas classwide agreement is denied at the Nov. 25 fairness hearing, all depositions and document requests could be consolidated.

Seven Pilot employees have entered guilty pleas as the federal investigation into fraud at Pilot continues. No one has been indicted.

Follow @SaraShookman on twitter as the case against Pilot Flying J progresses. 

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