PHILADELPHIA – A pair of truck drivers have sued their former places of business and members of their management, claiming they acted in concert to circumvent federal government regulations and avoid paying government-related taxes and fees.
Plaintiffs Anthony DiGiglio and Dorson Hess filed suit on March 8 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, versus defendants U.S Xpress Enterprises, Inc., Pratt Industries, Inc., Wayne Osborne, David Tomsheck, Donita Kemerer, Christine Doe, Fayedra Powell and Christian Westgate.
“Plaintiffs were truck drivers at defendant U.S. Xpress’ outsourced location and roles included delivering and picking up products and plaintiffs had contracts for employment whereby if plaintiffs performed legal truck driving assignments correctly, plaintiffs would receive additional assignments and associated agreed-upon income and related benefits,” the complaint says.
The litigation alleges defendants Osborne, Tomsheck, Kemerer, Doe, Powell, and Westgate encouraged them to “turn off and/or modify data associated with their Personal Driver Login I.D.s and/or to alter driver tech/sat com driver hour information in order to simulate that plaintiffs were driving less hours than they were actually driving and thereby fraudulently verifying driving hours and underreporting transmitted hours to the DOT and other government agencies.”
The lawsuit claims the defendants, for their own monetary benefit, deliberately falsified trip sheets, bills of lading, scale tickets, time sheets and pay stubs.
“Plaintiffs were also encouraged and forced to sign fraudulent bills of lading that testified to particular weights of trucks and cargoes when trucks were never weighed so plaintiffs and other employees of defendant U.S. Xpress and defendant Pratt never had any knowledge of the actual weight of their trucks,” the suit says.
“Plaintiffs were threatened with fewer hours and driving assignments, being put on medical leave without pay in retaliation for complaining and to deprive plaintiffs of all employment prospects, and left out on the highway without accommodation if they did not comply with the coercion of all defendants,” the complaint further alleges.
The suit mentions other violations like a lack of pre-trip and post-trip inspections, (which are mandated inspections to determine the roadworthiness of trucks, faulty equipment, engine warnings which were ignored and cracked windshields, all to allegedly save defendants U.S. Xpress and Pratt money and avoid the payment of government fines and other fees.
“By violating these regulations on a daily basis with approximately 20 drivers in plaintiffs’ site alone, defendants U.S. Xpress and Pratt have to this point avoided paying substantial taxes to the U.S. Treasury, the DOT, and other government agencies and have gained a fraudulent competitive advantage over law-abiding competitors,” the suit says.
The plaintiffs say they complained to direct managers about these practices, but were allegedly told to go about their business or they would be in danger of losing their assignments and/or jobs.
Per the complaint, DiGiglio received less assignments resulting in his 18-month employment tenure with U.S. Xpress ending and Hess was forced to resign for that same reason.
The plaintiffs further claim to possess “extensive written communication that will prove that defendant U.S. Xpress’s managerial structure sought and continues to seek to avoid costs associated with adherence to DOT and other regulations and to avoid paying appropriate taxes and toll fees for its vehicles”, a practice they say will not change until they were found out.
For a count of RICO civil conspiracy on the part of all case defendants, the plaintiffs are seeking the following relief: An amount equal the amount of damages against all defendants, including double and triple damages, attorneys’ fees, expert fees, court costs and disbursements, other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper, plus punitive damages.
The plaintiffs are represented by of Stephen Thomas O’Hanlon of The O’Hanlon Law Firm, in Philadelphia.
The defendants have not yet secured counsel, according to court records.
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case 2:17-cv-01039
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at email@example.com