Trial date set for Swift suit

Jill Dunn | January 18, 2012

Trial may resume Sept. 17 in the class action suit truckers brought against Swift Transportation over alleged practices that occurred when it provided third-party testing to graduates of its Millington, Tenn., school.

On Dec. 19, the U.S. District Court for the Western Section of Tennessee, Western Division, granted the parties’ joint motion to extend previously set court deadlines following a “productive” November mediation session.

However, the presiding judge recently had been elevated to an appeals court. Although the lawsuit was transferred to Chief Judge Jon Phipps McCalla Dec.. 29, a court spokeswoman said a visiting judge ultimately may handle the case and the hearing date could change.

A spokesman for Swift declined comment on the case.

The motions deadline is May 4 and a pre-trial conference is Aug. 27.

The plaintiffs are Millington’s Swift Academy graduates who received a Tennessee CDL between May 2005 and February 2008. The end date represents when the U.S. Department of Transportation and FBI raided the academy, which soon was followed by the Tennessee’s Department of Safety’s investigation.

Tennessee terminated its third-party testing contract with Swift after it uncovered illegal practices, according to court records. Licensing agencies in Tennessee and other states were informed that the affected CDL holders had compromised credentials.

The CDL holders then received letters from motor vehicle agencies that their CDLs were suspended and that they would have to pay for and pass retests.

TDOS records indicate that more than 8,700 former Swift students had their CDLs revoked and were required to retest. Each student had paid $3,900 in tuition, plus a $150 reservation fee.  The consolidated case was filed nearly three years ago.