Overdrive Staff | February 01, 2010
Former Arrow Trucking employees filed a lawsuit seeking compensation because they were not given adequate notice of the shutdown, as required by law.

Lawsuits multiply after Arrow debacle

Tulsa, Okla.-based Arrow Trucking Co. filed for bankruptcy liquidation when it was swamped with lawsuits after closing its doors three days before Christmas.

The Jan. 8 filing by Arrow Trucking is for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, under which a court-appointed chief liquidation officer seizes and sells the company’s nonexempt assets to repay debt owed an estimated 1,000 to 5,000 creditors. The bankruptcy petition listed the company’s assets at between $100 million and $500 million and debts in a similar range.

Prior to that, Transportation Alliance Bank Inc. of Ogden, Utah, filed suit against Arrow Trucking, accusing the company of fraud and racketeering that cost the bank $12.5 million. TAB alleges that Arrow overbilled the institution and appropriated federal and state tax obligations for its own use.

Other suits have been filed against Arrow Trucking, including one by employees seeking unpaid wages and benefits.

The company’s sudden Dec. 22 shutdown stranded drivers, trucks and cargo around the country. Before that, employees said, payroll checks had bounced.

Former Arrow Trucking CEO Doug Pielsticker is also facing two lawsuits by separate Oklahoma banks for failure to repay promissory notes.

Pielsticker issued a Jan. 1 statement to the Tulsa World newspaper that he had been separated from the 61-year-old company since Dec. 19. He did not elaborate, but added that drivers and employees “do not deserve the hardship they are enduring.”

On Dec. 30, Around the Clock Freightliners sued for $69,408, alleging fraud and breach of contract. On Dec. 29, reorganized debtors Shapes/Arches LLC filed for a judgment for $41,314 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey.

On Dec. 28, a class action complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma by at least 30 former employees. They seek compensation under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires employers of companies with more than 100 employees to provide 60 days’ notice of a shutdown. Violators can be sued for two months pay per employee.

The complaint also alleges the company failed to fund fuel cards and bounced employee paychecks in December. Plaintiffs also charge Arrow failed to forward premiums to insurance carriers, even though it deducted them from paychecks, and did not reimburse out-of-pocket expenses.

— Jill Dunn


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