A judge denied the request of a Georgia attorney to prevent Pilot Flying J officials from contacting customers who may been impacted by an alleged rebate scam.
In court Monday morning, plaintiffs defended their proposed lawsuit, claiming that Pilot Flying J was attempting to influence witnesses.
A motion for a temporary restraining order was filed last week by the attorney of a Georgia trucking company that filed a lawsuit against Pilot Flying J. The attorney claimed that C.E.O. Jimmy Haslam was contacting the companies, getting releases from them, and settling claims before companies knew about the full extent of the allegations.
Attorneys for Haslam and Pilot Flying J argued they were only trying to make things right and rebuild the damaged relationships by doing the right thing. One of those attorneys, Albert Harb, argued that the company's customers "deserve to be paid what they are legitimately owed, no more or no less."
Furthermore, Pilot said any customers it repays will not have to sign a release. Those clients may still testify in lawsuits and/or file their own lawsuits if desired in the future, regardless of whether or not they accept any owed payment from Pilot.
The judge questioned the plaintiffs' attorney, asking whether they are trying to prevent all communication with customers. The judge also asked, "What if a customer contacts Pilot?" and "Why would I not be delighted that these cases be settled out of court?"
The plaintiffs argued they would like communication to be "a one-way street" where customers can contact Pilot, but the company cannot contact customers.
Ultimately, the judge sided with Pilot and dismissed the motion for injunction. A Pilot spokesperson said the company is delighted with the judge's decision.
"As our counsel said so well, the idea that Pilot Flying J or its CEO should not talk to its customers was outrageous and would have crippled our ability to do business," said Tom Ingram, Pilot spokesperson.