PENNSYLVANIA TRUCKING COMPANY OWNER SENTENCED
Dean A. Landis, the owner and operator of D.A. Landis Trucking Inc. was recently sentenced to five (5) years probation, including 12 months of home detention and electronic monitoring, for his company ignoring Hours of Service (HOS) rules and falsifying logs. In addition, he was ordered to pay a criminal fine of $15,000, according to the DOT’s Office of the Inspector General. The company was sentenced to four (4) years probation and ordered to pay a $250,000 fine, along with a $4,400 special assessment, and forced to implement a comprehensive compliance and ethics plan. The sentencing follows a guilty plea in which Landis admitted to routinely disregarding FMCSA regulations by allowing and causing drivers employed by D.A. Landis Trucking to operate in violation of FMCSA’s Hours of Service regulations. Landis instructed his employees of the company to prepare two sets of driver’s logs, one of which was false and intended for FMCSA inspectors to conceal violations of safety regulations. During the execution of a search warrant, federal agents seized numerous logbooks and documents marked “Not for DOT” from the company’s premises.
AZ TRUCKING COMPANY ORDERED TO PAY WHISTLE-BLOWER
A driver who reported to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that he had been fired for complaining about safety issues was awarded $315,000 in back wages and damages. The complaint also alleged the driver was fired in part because of a refusal to share a truck with another driver who smoked. The driver filed the complaint on February 8, 2010, stating that they were informed that a new co-driver had been assigned to haul a vehicle full of explosives to Canada. Upon finding an ashtray overflowing with cigarette butts in the new co-driver’s truck, the employee notified supervisors that driving with this individual would be unacceptable because smoking while hauling explosives violates the federal regulations, according to OSHA. The employee was then told by management to go home and wait to be reassigned a new co-driver. Two short days later, the employee was terminated. OSHA determined that M3 Transport LLC/SLT Expressway Inc (and its successors-in-interest, Lyons Capital LLC and Roadmaster Group) violated the whistle-blower provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) and ordered the trucking company to reinstate the driver and pay $280,000 in back wages and interest, $15,000 in compensatory damages, and $20,000 in punitive damages. In addition to the job reinstatement and the compensation for the employee, the order issued by OSHA also required the trucking company to remove any adverse references relating to the discharge from the driver’s personnel records, and post a notice for all of the other employees notifying them of their rights under STAA. M3 Transport LLC/SLT Expressway Inc., operating as Roadmaster Group, specializes in transporting explosives for military and defense contractors, as well as heavy hauling. Within 30 days of receipt of OSHA’s order, the company or complainant may file objections or request a hearing before the Labor Department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.
VA TRUCKER SENTENCED FOR LYING ABOUT DISABILITY
Risden Richardson of Roanoke, Virginia was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 10 months incarceration and three (3) years supervised release for theft of government money in a disability insurance scheme. He was also ordered to pay restitution of $123,202 to the Social Security Administration and $6,288 to the Department of Medical Assistance Services, according to the Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General. The investigation revealed that from 2002 to 2011, Richardson, employed as a driver for a Virginia-based interstate trucking company, failed to report he had a medical condition on his medical examination report for commercial driver’s fitness as required by the DOT. If reported, his medical conditions would have made him ineligible to be employed as a commercial motor vehicle driver. During this same period, Richardson reported to the SSA that he was unable to work due to a back disorder. Because he was on Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits he was prohibited from working more than 80 hours a month or earning more than $1,000 per month. To conceal his work activity, Richardson had his truck driver wages made payable to his wife’s company, C & R Freightways.
HIRE RIGHT SET TO PAY MILLIONS TO SETTLE CASE
There is a proverb that goes, “What goes around, comes around,” so I have saved the best for last because this will make the many long-haul drivers who have received a bad DAC report very happy. HireRight Solutions Inc, known around the trucking industry for it’s DAC reports, will pay $2.6 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission’s charges that it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by failing to assure the maximum possible accuracy of the information it provided, failing to give consumers copies of their reports, and for failing to reinvestigate disputes as required by law. This represents the first time the FTC has charged an employment background screening firm with violating the FCRA, and resulted in the second largest civil penalty that the FTC has obtained under the Act. So, how does one protect itself from lawsuits such as these? It is very simple – it is called Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI). Every employer, large or small, faces the reality that it will be the target of legal action from past, present, and prospective employees or contractors. These policies provide coverage for a wide spectrum of employment-related claims and offer loss prevention programs for businesses to help minimize the risk of those EEOC and EDD claims. In today’s highly litigious business environment, this coverage is a must for all trucking companies. For more information, call (800) 805-0040 or visit the NTA website today.