It’s not unusual for truck drivers to come to an independent contractor agreement to move loads for a carrier or logistics company. However, the complaint for this class action alleges that A2B Cargo, Inc., A2B Cargo Logistics, Inc., KSM Carrier Group, Inc., and Lincoln State Leasing, LLC entered into agreements that exploited the drivers and did not properly lay out the terms of the agreements as required by law.
The class for this action is all owner-operators and independent contractors similarly-situated to those in this case who did business with the defendants in this case at any time between January 1, 2015 and the present.
The four companies named as defendants in this case appear to be related. The complaint alleges that they “have overlapping officers and directors or members and share personnel, technology, and equipment” as well as “common ownership and control…”
The plaintiffs in this case are commercial truck drivers. One owned his own trucks; the other five leased trucks through the defendants, via Lincoln State Leasing. All six signed on as independent contractors with A2B.
They entered into an oral agreement to drive trucks for the companies and were given “term sheets” to describe their agreements. According to the term sheets, the drivers would be given the opportunity to drive loads and would be paid a percentage of the gross revenue collected from the shipper.
Also according to the term sheets, before paying the drivers, the companies would deduct from their pay a number of items: the lease payments for the trucks, the costs of physical and occupational insurance, any money required towards a deposit on the truck, trailer rental, an amount for the use of the companies’ electronic system, an amount for the registration of the truck, and an amount for an unexplained escrow.
The drivers were to pay for fuel and maintenance.
The drivers who leased trucks were given written leases. Unfortunately, the terms in the leases differed with the term sheets or the oral agreements the drivers had understood they were making. Most strikingly, the term sheets indicated that at the end of a period of years of lease payments, the drivers would own their trucks. However, the lease agreements specifically said the trucks were made available as leases only and were not sales.
The drivers were also not given all itemized terms of the agreements with the customers, nor were they provided with details of all the amounts that were deducted from their pay.
The class action brings suit primarily under Title 49 of the US Code, which governs transportation, particularly § 376, which contains requirements for leases. The complaint contains a long list of ways in which the agreements with the drivers violated this section.