Court Certifies Lawsuit Against Swift Transportation as Class Action

11/05/2010

PHOENIX – A Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled Thursday that a lawsuit accusing Swift Transportation Corp. of routinely shorting its drivers in pay will move forward as a class action after a long and circuitous route through the Arizona court system.

The lawsuit was first filed against Swift Transportation in early 2004, but the motion to certify it as a class action was initially denied by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge. The judge's decision was appealed by plaintiffs' attorneys at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, and the Arizona Court of Appeals reversed the lower court's decision.

The appellate court's decision to certify the suit against Swift Transportation as a class action, however, was then overturned by the Arizona Supreme Court on procedural grounds. The Arizona Supreme Court held that the appellate court lacked the jurisdiction to review the decision by the trial court not to certify the suit as a class action.

The case was sent back to the Maricopa County Superior Court where attorneys for lead plaintiff Leonel Garza and the class filed a renewed motion to have it certified as a class action. The court granted that motion Thursday.

"It's been a long and difficult road to get to this moment, but we're happy that the court ruled in our favor," said Hagens Berman attorney Rob Carey. "We've heard from numerous Swift drivers that the company's mileage calculation method cheats them out of honest and hard-earned compensation. These drivers deserve their day in court, and now they'll get it."

The case claims that rather than paying drivers on actual miles driven, the company calculates mileage using a software program. The suit claims that in doing so, the program, on average, underpays drivers by 7 percent to 10 percent. According to court documents, Swift Transportation's manager of contract finance from 1998 until 2002 admitted the software consistently underreported the mileage that drivers actually log by an average of 6 percent.

The lawsuit alleges breach of contract for not paying the correct amount and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing based on Swift Transportation's adoption of a system that underpays drivers.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge J. Richard Gama ruled Thursday that the class for the case against Swift Transportation encompasses "all persons in the United States, including those who were employed by Swift as employee drivers on or after Jan. 30, 1998 or contracted with Swift as owner-operator drivers on or after Jan. 30, 1998, who were compensated by Swift by reference to miles driven."

The court also certified a subclass, defined as "all persons who contracted with Swift Transportation with a Contractor Agreement East Coast" as of Dec. 14, 2001. In addition, the court certified Garza as the lead plaintiff to represent the class.

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About Hagens Berman
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03/11/19: Current Case Status

If you drove for Swift Transportation Co. as an owner operator on or after Mar. 6, 2001, or as an employee driver, on or after Apr. 9, 2009, you are a member of our certified class. The trial court has certified one claim for class-action treatment: breach of contract based on a breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing related to Swift’s payment methodologies. In July, 2016, the Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed that the case should proceed on that claim as a class action. In early 2017, the Arizona Supreme Court declined to review the Court of Appeals’ decision, meaning Swift has no additional avenues to challenge certification of the breach of contract claim. We are currently in the final stages of discovery and preparing for trial. The trial court has set a trial for Feb. 24, 2020, through Mar. 12, 2020.

More information about this case can be found through the class website at www.SwiftTruckingClassAction.com. This website, as well as our own, will be updated periodically as more information becomes available.

02/22/17: Settlement Website

Those affected are encouraged to visit the Swift Trucking class-action settlement website for more information » www.swifttruckingclassaction.com

01/10/17: Current Case Status

On Jan. 10, 2017, the Arizona Supreme Court denied review of the Arizona Court of Appeals reversal of Judge Gama’s July 13, 2015 order decertifying the class. In light of this victory for our class of drivers, we will be looking to schedule trial as soon as possible. We will continue to update you and other drivers as more information becomes available. 

08/12/16: Swift files Petition for Review with Arizona Supreme Court

In response to the Arizona Court of Appeals opinion reversing Judge Gama’s Order decertifying the class, Swift has filed a Petition for Review with the Arizona Supreme Court. Our firm, as class counsel, will have thirty days to file a response to Swift’s Petition. Swift will only be able to file a Reply if ordered by the Court.  If the Arizona Supreme Court accepts Review, another set of briefs will be due to the court. If the Arizona Supreme Court denies Review, the case will go back to the trial court and we will request a new trial date be set as soon as possible. This website will be updated periodically as more information becomes available.
 

07/12/16: 07/12/16: Decertification Order Reversed

The Arizona Court of Appeals reversed Judge Gama’s July 13, 2015 order decertifying the class. The Court issued a written opinion finding that the case was manageable as a class action.  Swift has thirty days to file a Petition for Review with the Arizona Supreme Court, if it decides to challenge the Court of Appeal’s decision.  If Swift does not file a Petition for Review in thirty days, the case will return to the Maricopa County Superior Court and be set for trial. This website will be updated periodically as more information becomes available.

07/13/15: Class Decertified

Judge Gama granted Swift’s Motion to Decertify the Class. In light of the Court’s Order, the class action trial scheduled for October will be cancelled. Hagens Berman will appeal the Court’s decision, but cannot do so until a judgment is entered. The appeals process is time consuming and will not be completed until 2016, at the earliest. This website will be updated periodically as more information becomes available.

11/01/14: Trial Rescheduled

The case trial date has been rescheduled and will take place in October.

07/01/13: Notices Mailed

Notice was mailed to each class member providing an explanation of each individual’s legal rights and options in this lawsuit.

09/06/11: Case Proceeds to Trial

The Arizona Supreme Court has declined to review a trial court’s decision to certify a broad class action based on a 2008 appellate court decision that was vacated, which means the case will now proceed to trial.

01/30/04: Complaint Filed

Hagens Berman files complaint against Swift Transportation.