Attorney aims to stop Pilot from contacting customers

Attorney seeks to legally stop Jimmy Haslam from contacting Pilot clients

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6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - An attorney plans to file a request in Knox County Circuit Court for an immediate, emergency hearing to stop Pilot CEO Jimmy Haslam from further contacting anymore clients about repayment.

Attorney Mark Tate, who represents a plaintiff in a lawsuit against Pilot Flying J, told 6 News Haslam's efforts to call and write to clients who were potentially defrauded by Pilot in an alleged scam to cheat companies out of rebates is depriving them of, "their right to full and just compensation."

He believes it could be considered witness tampering.

Tate said the request will be filed Wednesday afternoon.

In addition to Haslam, Tate said other Pilot employees have also sent emails to trucking companies offering discounts to make up for money allegedly lost from unpaid rebates.

In an email obtained by 6 News, one sales manager offered the client a ten cent discount, contingent upon the company increasing the amount of gas they purchase from Pilot.

Read the Email

Curt Morehouse, the office manager of Morehouse Truck Line in Omaha, told 6 News that Haslam called him Tuesday to work out an arrangement to repay money owed to Morehouse.

Morehouse said he was "happy with the outcome" and considered Haslam to be a "stand up guy."

A spokesperson for Pilot had this to say in response to the witness tampering allegations:

"Counsel for Pilot Flying J considers these allegations outrageous when the company is trying to do the right thing and correct any wrongs that may have occurred. To even suggest that it's inappropriate is ludicrous."

Lincoln Memorial University professor Richard Gaines told 6 News Pilot's actions aren't necessarily illegal and may in fact be smart business practices.

"It's hard to even imagine or expect that Pilot would refrain from trying to take care of it's customers," Gaines said. "On the other hand, they have to be careful."

Gaines said it would be considered obstruction of justice if Pilot tried to persuade customers not to testify or influence whether they cooperated with authorities on the investigation.

"There has to be an intent and there has to be proof of that intent that there's more to it than just the normal course of business," Gaines said. "If they have found a problem with money they think customers are owed, they actually kind of have an obligation to make sure and see that the customers are made whole."

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