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Littleton v. Pilot Travel Centers

September 14, 2007

WILLIE LITTLETON PLAINTIFF
v.
PILOT TRAVEL CENTERS, LLC DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: James M. Moody United States District Judge

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

This case was tried to the Court*fn1 on March 27, 2006. From a review of the evidence, which included the transcript of the proceedings held on March 27, 2006 along with the pleadings, the Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:

Findings of Fact

1. Pilot Travel Centers LLC ("Pilot") is the nation's largest operator of travel centers and largest seller of over-the-road diesel fuel. Pilot owns and operates over 250 travel centers in 37 states coast to coast.

2. Pilot is an equal opportunity employer that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race with respect to all aspects of employment, including compensation. Employees who believe that they have been subjected to discrimination are instructed to immediately contact Human Resources.

3. Pilot operates its Travel Centers and its fuel transportation services as separate divisions within the Company. Managers within the Transportation Department have no authority or supervisory responsibility over Travel Center operations.

4. Within the Transportation Department, Pilot employs transport drivers who haul diesel fuel from refineries to Pilot Travel Center service stations. Transport drivers are responsible for loading their trucks with fuel, transporting the fuel from a depot or refinery to designated Travel Centers, and unloading the fuel.

5. Pilot also employs lead drivers in certain geographic locations. In addition to transport driver responsibilities, lead drivers are responsible for maintaining Pilot's trucks, ensuring proper paperwork, and forwarding payments to Pilot's corporate offices.

6. When setting base compensation rates for transport drivers, Pilot considers the geographic area where that driver will be employed. Pilot considers raises for transport drivers annually in January. Increases are based upon factors including cost of living, geographic location, and job performance.

7. Littleton applied for employment with Pilot on August 18, 2000. Randall Dyer, a Pilot Regional Manager, hired Littleton as a transport driver in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and he was paid at a starting rate of $10.00 an hour.

8. Dyer recommended Littleton for a lead driver position in Troy, Illinois, where he had several years of prior experience as a truck driver. Within two months of his hiring, Littleton transferred to Troy as a lead driver, and his wage was increased to $13.50/hour. In January 2001, Littleton received a raise to $13.90/hour.

9. In Troy, Littleton was supervised by Nick Peaker, who reported to David Breeding, Pilot's Director of Transportation.

10. Breeding was unhappy with Littleton's job performance in Troy. Littleton believed that the problems he experienced as the lead driver in Troy were due to leaking storage tanks at the Travel Center. The Troy location was not profitable, and Littleton was responsible for generating revenue at that location. Breeding wanted to make a change in Troy, and he decided to transfer Littleton to West Memphis, Arkansas.

11. Breeding told Littleton that he could keep his lead driver wage rate after his transfer to West Memphis. Littleton understood that he was transferring from a lead driver position back to a transport ...


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