Eleven-year-old Werner wage lawsuit dismissed

January 17, 2023

Tyson Fisher


A Werner class action wage lawsuit that has been around for longer than a decade has been dismissed.

On Jan. 10, a judge in a Nebraska federal court dismissed a case against Werner. The lawsuit, originally filed in 2011, accused the trucking company of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Philip Petrone filed the class action lawsuit against Werner in September 2011. Petrone alleges that upon inquiring about a trucking job with Werner he was instructed to enroll in its six- to eight-week student driver program. He was told he would be provided with a full-time position upon completion of the program.

According to the complaint, the driver training portion of Werner’s student driver program required Petrone and others to work an average of 70 hours per week.

Petrone and other students were paid $350 per week during the driver training portion of the orientation program. The lawsuit accused Werner of not paying all wages due to Petrone and other student drivers. Specifically, the complaint sought unpaid wages for unpaid rest breaks and unpaid sleeper berth time.

The Werner lawsuit has been in litigation for more than a decade, taking two trips to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. The latest controversy dealt with Petrone’s expert opinion on damages.

The expert plaintiffs retained to calculate damages had “significant flaws” in his methodology, according to the court order. Plaintiffs sought to include a supplemental report with fixes to the original. However, the deadline to include more evidence had expired.

According to a court order, Petrone’s damages expert has been excluded due to the untimeliness. Consequently, the case must be dismissed because Petrone cannot prove damages without expert testimony. LL