P.A.M. Transport settles trucker wage lawsuit for $16.5M

February 20, 2020

Tyson Fisher

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Shortly after a federal judge granted P.A.M. Transport drivers partial summary judgment and $2 million, the trucking company has reached a settlement agreement for the remaining claims.

On Tuesday, Feb. 18, a U.S. District Court in the western district of Arkansas granted P.A.M. Transport truckers preliminary approval of settlement. According to the settlement, the Tontitown, Ark.-based trucking company has agreed to settle the wage lawsuit for $16.5 million. If approved, the settlement will end all claims against the company.

In additional to the monetary terms, P.A.M. Transport has agreed to end its practice of charging $10 for wage advances. The company also will stop withholding wages on payday as a result of late paperwork.

P.A.M. Transport denies all allegations within the complaint. It also denies that it is liable or owes damages to anyone with respect to the allegations.

Named plaintiffs will receive $50,000 each. Truckers who agreed to testify live at trial will each receive an additional $2,500.

Truckers who think they may be entitled to settlement payments can go to Swartz-Legal.com for more information.

On Feb. 6, the court ordered P.A.M. Transport to pay a class of truckers nearly $2 million. The order comes after the court granted the drivers summary judgment for some of its claims.

More specifically, the $2 million judgment is for all time logged as “driving” and “on duty not driving” that led to less than minimum wage when accounted for. The order also includes wages not paid for rest breaks of 20 minutes or less. Both claims fall under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act.

The court denied summary judgment for claims that truckers must be paid minimum wage for 16 hours of every day on tour. Drivers also are not automatically entitled to damages stemming from alleged violations of last-payment rules. Also, the court did not decide whether P.A.M. Transport’s violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act were willful or a good-faith error.

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If the settlement is approved, those remaining claims will avoid a jury trial in addition to the claims already awarded summary judgment. The settlement was reached on the last business day before the trial was scheduled to begin. An approval hearing is scheduled for July 31.

According to the complaint, drivers were required to remain over-the-road in or in the general proximity of their assigned truck for more than 24 consecutive hours. Allegedly, drivers were on duty “continually for days and weeks on end.”

Per Arkansas regulations, the maximum amount of time an employer may dock an employee who is on duty for more than 24 hours for time spent in a sleeper berth is eight hours per day. The remaining 16 hours is work time and must be paid, minus meal periods. Plaintiffs argue they are entitled to 16 hours of pay because they were required to do the following during that time:

  • Drive a P.A.M. Transport truck.
  • Remain in the truck while the truck was moving so they could assist in transporting the cargo (team drivers).
  • Wait for cargo to be loaded or unloaded while in the truck or its immediate vicinity.
  • Fuel up the truck and perform routine maintenance.
  • Remain in the vicinity of the truck to help protect P.A.M. Transport’s customers’ property.
  • Remain inside the truck when stopped to log time in the sleeper berth and to help protect customer’s property.

Drivers also cite another Arkansas law that states travel that keeps an employee away from home overnight which is completed during regular working hours is work time and must be paid.

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Tyson Fisher

Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.