Swift Ordered To Pay $15.5 MILLION In Damages For Recruiting CRST Drivers
Grand Rapids, IA – CRST Expedited has been awarded a judgement of $15.5 million in damages stemming from its lawsuit against Swift Transportation alleging unfair business practices.
CRST Expedited filed the suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa in March 2017.
CRST argued the Arizona-based mega carrier was actively recruiting and hiring drivers it knew was under 10-month non-compete employment contracts with the Cedar Rapids-based mega carrier.
CRST claimed the carrier engaged in contractual agreements to train truck driver applicants.
In exchange for the training, trainees agreed they would not seek employment elsewhere for a minimum of 10 months upon the completion of their training.
In the complaint, CRST provided the contractual language, which reads:
Employee’s ability to render the services under this [Employment] Contract is the result of CRST having made a substantial financial commitment in Employee’s driver training to satisfy the U.S. Department of Transportation and CRST requirements to become a professional truck driver with the expectation that CRST would recover such financial commitment during Employee’s continuous employment for at least an eight (8) month period.
The trainees also agreed:
For a period equal to the greater of the Restrictive Term and the duration of CRST’s employment of Employee, Employee will not directly or indirectly provide truck driving services to any CRST Competitor within the continental United States….
The “Restrictive Term” was further defined in the complaint to be a total of 10 months, CRST contended.
Court documents show CRST identified 250 drivers who signed such contracts and later were recruited by Swift.
CRST argued Swift sent it 150 employment verification requests for drivers subject to the contracts in 2016.
In each case, CRST contends it sent notices back to Swift advising of the contracts.
CRST further asserted that Swift’s continual pursuit and hiring of these drivers constituted an effort to rob CRST of its prospective economic advantage from having trained them.
According to court documents, CRST argued:
Swift’s conduct is intentional and improper, and designed to deprive CRST of its prospective economic advantage.
Swift’s intentional interference is wanton and willful, justifying the imposition of punitive and exemplary damages against Swift.
Further, the suit alleged Swift’s actions constituted “unjust enrichment.”
The complaint argued:
CRST Expedited, Inc. demands judgment in an amount sufficient to restore CRST to the position it would have enjoyed but/for Swift’s unjust enrichment, for punitive damages, for the fees and costs associated with this action, all interest allowable on such awards at the maximum rate allowed by law, and for such other and further relief as may be just and proper under the circumstances.
In a decision handed down on July 23, Swift was ordered to pay a judgement of $3 million for interference with drivers’ contracts, $5 million in punitive damages and $7.5 million for unjust enrichment.
It is not yet know if Swift intends to file an appeal in the case.
Transportation Nation Network will continue to follow any new developments.