Court Green-Lights Swift Trucking Class Action

PHOENIX – Truck drivers who claim that Swift Transportation routinely shorted them in pay will get their day in court after all, when an Arizona appellate court judge reversed a lower court decision which effectively dismissed the case.

The order reverses the class certification ruling on a consolidated class-action complaint filed June 8, 2005, which alleges the trucking giant uses a flawed method to calculate mileage, shorting the drivers.

"We are very happy that the appellate court ruled in our favor," said Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro attorney Rob Carey. "Since we filed the complaint, we've heard from numerous Swift drivers that Swift's mileage calculation method robs them of fair compensation. These drivers deserve their day in court, and now they'll get it."

The class-action suit originally sought to represent 'all persons who contracted with Swift Transportation with a contractor agreement on the East Coast.' The plaintiff moved for class certification on July 31, 2006, but the lower court denied the motion, ruling the plaintiff didn't have a claim under his proposed definition of the class and had not met the requirements to proceed on behalf of a class. In the memorandum decision reversing the trial court, the Arizona Court of Appeals found that the plaintiff does have a claim and can represent the interests of all affected contract drivers.

The case claims that rather than paying drivers on actual miles driven, the company calculates mileage using mileage charts. The suit claims that in doing so, the company arbitrarily assigns physical locations in large cities rather than determining the actual distance to a delivery destination within the city to shorten drivers' miles.

According to court documents, Swift's manager of contract finance from 1998 until 2002 admits these calculations consistently average six percent less than what drivers actually log.

The lawsuit alleges breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing based on Swift's failure to pay for all miles driven, and failure to accurately calculate miles.

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Ashley Klann

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