OAKLAND -- Schneider National Carriers Inc. has signed a $28 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit brought against it by a group of truck drivers.
The case was originally filed in November 2008 by Morris Bickley. Similar cases also were filed by Michael D. Pratton, Raymond Grewe, Dennis Vanhorn and Douglass Pumroy who were all California-based employees of Schneider National Carriers.
In January 2012, Schneider filed a motion for summary judgment.
“Shortly after [they filed for summary judgment], they entered into settlement agreements,” Paul Taylor, an attorney with Truckers Justice Center, told the Northern California Record.
On Sept. 7, 2012, the court granted a class certification. According to the order on motion for class certification, the plaintiffs claimed Schneider didn’t “pay minimum wages for all hours worked under California law, pay for all miles actually driven under California law, quantum merit for failure to pay for all hours worked and miles driven, provide meal periods and rest breaks, failure to furnish accurate itemized wage statements and failure to pay accrued vacation at rate required by California law.”
Approximately 7,700 current or former California-based drivers of Schneider are affected by this lawsuit. Despite settling, Schneider did not believe it was in the wrong.
"Defendant denies any liability or wrongdoing of any kind associated with the claims being released herein. Defendant contends, among other things, that it has complied at all times with all applicable California laws and asserts that the members of the class were properly compensated for all time worked, and otherwise treated at all times in compliance with California law,” the settlement agreement stated.
Schneider settled, however, “in the interest of avoiding costs and disruption of ongoing litigation,” which was stated in the settlement agreement.
The terms of the agreement said slightly little more than $20 million will be split among the members of the class, which includes California-based intermodal drivers, dedicated drivers or regional drivers who work for Schneider from Nov. 25, 2004, to the present. The remaining settlement money will be split between regional subclass groups who had a residence in California, worked in Schneider’s van/truckload division, worked in Schneider’s western regional services group and was assigned to the French Camp or Fontana operating centers.
On Oct. 13, U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White issued his approval of the settlement. Although thousands of truck drivers qualify for the settlement, Taylor does not believe the settlement is significant to the industry.
“There is nothing of precedential value because it was settled and there was no court decision made,” Taylor said.
Taylor also said many cases similar to this one have been heard in the courts and there will continue to be similar cases litigated in the future.
"The only reason this one got attention is because it was against such a big company,” Taylor said.
According to the Journal of Commerce, Schneider is the largest privately owned truaffectsompany. Schneider currently has more than 11,000 company drivers and an annual revenue of about $4 billion. Taylor predicted the next wave of trucking industry wage disputes will be over whether or not drivers are independent contractors and how that effects their wages and benefits.