Class action CDL suit against Swift continues

Updated Jan 11, 2012

Truckers suing Swift Transportation over alleged practices that occurred when it provided third-party testing to graduates of its Millington, Tenn., school were scheduled to continue mediation Jan. 5.

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. They had made the request following a “productive” mediation session the previous month.

The new deadlines for discovery and motions are February to July. The two sides had not concurred on a trial date, but agreed it was a moot issue as a new judge had not been assigned yet in the case.

On Dec. 29, Chief Judge Jon Phipps McCalla was added as presiding judge and the court docket currently shows a Sept. 21 trial date.

A spokesman for the company declined comment on the case.

The plaintiffs are graduates of Millington’s Swift Academy who received a Tennessee CDL between May 2005 and February 2008, but state motor vehicle bureaus from several states later sent notifications that retesting would be required.

In February 2008, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the FBI raided the academy, which soon was followed by Tennessee’s Department of Safety beginning an investigation.

Tennessee terminated its third-party testing contract with Swift after investigations uncovered illegal practices, according to court records. TDOS then sent letters to CDL holders who had obtained licenses through testing by Swift informing them that their CDLs were being suspended and that they would be required to retest.

Swift suspended these drivers’ Tennessee CDLs and notified licensing authorities in other states where affected graduates had moved. TDOS revoked all CDLs issued through Swift testing during that targeted time period, regardless if the driver had or had not improperly received a CDL.

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.

Swift noted in a Nov. 9 Securities and Exchange Commission report it had filed a cross claim in court against the TDOS commissioner. It sought a judicial declaration and judgment stating there had been no wrongdoing as alleged.

The company also sought injunctive relief to compel the commissioner to redact statements of wrongdoing and to issue corrections to recipients of these statements.

The court granted class action status to the consolidated cases in July.