A Texas jury rendered a $450,000 verdict against United Vision (UV) Logistics, LLC in a fraud case brought by an independent truck terminal operator. After hearing evidence in trial, including testimony from Bentley Burgess a VP at UV Logistics and Brad Sculio, the operations manager, the jury found that United Vision Logistics fraudulently induced the terminal operator to stay in a contract.
This watershed case (James Mark Patsfield, III v. UV Logistics, LLC d/b/a United Vision Logistics, Case No. 2015-69907) marks the first time known that an independent truck terminal operator has won in court against a major trucking company in this type of fraud claim.
The Amaro Law Firm and its attorneys, Matt Elwell and James Amaro, are proud to have represented the plaintiff and brought this case to a successful resolution after years of litigation.
According to court documents, the plaintiff, a Pennsylvania-based independent truck terminal operator, signed a contract with UV Logistics, the defendant, in September 2012. In May 2015, UV Logistics terminated the contract effective immediately without the required 30-day’s notice, spurring the plaintiff to file this case.
Facts of the Case: The Plaintiff’s Allegations
During the three-day trial, the plaintiff presented various evidence to allege that UV Logistics had:
- Fraudulently induced him to enter the contract: The plaintiff argued that UV Logistics promised to shut down its nearby terminal and let its drivers from that terminal sign contracts with the plaintiff. That terminal was never shut down, and the plaintiff actively recruited his own drivers, building a highly profitable business while under contract.
- Fraudulently induced him to stay in the contract: UV Logistics strung the plaintiff along with vague assurances about its promises, the plaintiff claimed. Additionally, the plaintiff argued that internal company emails revealed UV Logistics’ plans to cancel the contract it had with the plaintiff, perfectly positioning the company to recruit and sign on all of the drivers the plaintiff had worked to acquire under their contract.
- Interfered with his business relationships, causing him financial losses: As jobs from UV Logistics dried up in 2015, the plaintiff started to negotiate with another motor carrier. When UV Logistics found out, the company canceled the contract effective immediately, resulting in the plaintiff losing his drivers. With this point, the plaintiff also argued that his contract with UV Logistics didn’t bar him from working with other motor carriers and that the one he was negotiating with in 2015 was not one of UV Logistics’ competitors.
Facts of the Case: The Defense Arguments
The defense essentially denied any wrongful action, arguing that:
- UV Logistics didn’t make the plaintiff any promises when they entered into the contract.
- UV Logistics was not legally prohibited from operating its company owned terminal nearby, regardless if that meant taking business from the plaintiff.
- The other motor carrier the plaintiff was negotiating with in 2015 was a competitor.
On May 30, 2019, after four hours of deliberation, the jury came back with a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, agreeing that UV Logistics had fraudulently induced him to remain in the contract. As part of this verdict, the jury ordered UV Logistics to pay the plaintiff $450,000.
While this case exposes some of the cutthroat business tactics in the trucking industry, its verdict paves the way for other truck terminal operators in similar situations to stand up for their legal rights against motor carriers.
About the Amaro Law Firm
The Amaro Law Firm is known for providing outstanding advocacy and achieving successful resolutions in all types of trucking industry cases, including those that involve fraud, 18-wheeler wrecks, dangerous and defective products, and more. We proudly represent independent truck terminal operators, truck drivers, loading dock workers, and others from across the U.S., and we offer free, confidential consultations to help people learn more about their legal options.
If you’ve been harmed or injured while working in the trucking industry, we invite you to contact us to discover more about your rights and potential case.
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