In another great decision in favor of truck drivers in our class action against CRST Expedited, United States District Court Judge Patti B. Saris has granted two of our requests for preliminary injunctions.
On June 2, 2020, Judge Saris ordered CRST to stop attempting to collect the full $6,500 in “training fees” that CRST charges drivers who do not complete their 10-month contracts. Until a jury decides how much CRST owes in damages for violating the Iowa Consumer Fraud Act, CRST will only be allowed to collect as “training fees” amounts that CRST actually paid to truck driving schools, and in no case can the amount that CRST attempts to collect as “training fees” exceed $2,500.
This will reduce the alleged debt that CRST’s drivers owe to CRST by several thousand dollars per person.
Judge Saris also prohibited CRST from attempting to enforce the non-compete provision in its contracts – including CRST’s practice of telling other trucking companies that a driver is still under contract with CRST – if the driver has already paid CRST back the amount that CRST paid to the truck driving school or $2,500, whichever is a lesser amount.
In her ruling, Judge Saris held that an injunction against CRST was necessary to prevent further irreparable harm to the drivers, finding that CRST’s attempts to collect on the drivers’ $6,500 “tuition debt” and non-compete enforcement practices:
… has negatively affected their credit scores and ability to secure loans and … prevented them from obtaining employment. These harms to class members are immediate and ongoing and carry particular weight during the present period of national economic strain.
Judge Saris also found that the public interest favored injunctive relief as a means of enforcing consumer rights and preventing unlawful debt collection practices. “Furthermore,” Judge Saris found, “to the extent CRST’s debt collection practices hinder class members’ efforts to obtain alternate employment within the industry, the public has a strong interest in facilitating the full employment of trained truck drivers during the present public health crisis.”
Hillary Schwab, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said of the decision:
“This is a significant ruling and we hope it will make life a little easier for the thousands of drivers who have been harmed by CRST’s debt collection practices.”