Owner-ops allege in lawsuit oilfield co. cheated them out of pay, seek class-action certification

jimmy lessley, oil field, texas, oil and gas,

Owner-operators are seeking class action certification in a lawsuit against an oilfield services company that allegedly provided misrepresentative settlement statements in order to underpay them.

The trio of truckers had leased to the Houston-based Benchmark Transport Services, Inc. and Benchmark Logistics, Inc. The latter had its DOT motor carrier registration revoked two years ago. Benchmark is a subsidiary of Maryland’s Unified Logistics Holdings, LLC, which is a co-defendant in the trial.

Benchmark could not immediately be reached for comment on the case.

Allegedly, Benchmark had assessed a secret surcharge, then underreported revenue of up to 12.5 percent to the truckers. They say this resulted in damages of more than $10,000 per trucker each year.

Attorney Paul Taylor is handling the case for the owner-operators bringing the case. Between 400 and 600 owner-operators could be victims of the alleged scheme, he says, and total damages could total between $15 million and $22 million.

The truckers filed the case in Southern Texas’ U.S. district court Feb. 23. They seek certification for owner-operators who had leases with Benchmark in the previous four years.

They also want an injunction against Benchmark to prevent the company for continuing the alleged violations of federal leasing law.

The first pretrial and scheduling Conference is set for July 10.