[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 60-CV-17-3242],
HONORABLE MACKIE M. PIERCE, JUDGE
& Winters, LLP, Fayetteville, by: Robert L. Jones III, and
Kerri E. Kobbeman, Fayetteville, for appellant.
& Associates, P.A., by: John Holleman and Timothy A.
Steadman, for appellees.
LINKER HART, Associate Justice
Solutions, LLC, appeals the June 5, 2018 class-certification
order and the June 27, 2018 supplemental order of the Pulaski
County Circuit Court. Our jurisdiction is proper pursuant to
Ark. R. App. P.-Civil 2(a)(9). We affirm.
Solutions, LLC (Driver Solutions) filed separate lawsuits in
North Little Rock District Court against Michael Downey, Paul
Mitchell, and Joseph McAfee (counter-plaintiffs). In each
case, Driver Solutions sought to recover "unpaid
principal balance for ... Tuition Charge(s)[.]" Mitchell
and McAfee initially defaulted, but the district court later
set aside both default judgments for improper service. Downey
timely answered. Downey, Mitchell, and McAfee all filed
class-action counterclaims. The cases were transferred to the
Pulaski County Circuit Court and consolidated.
general substance of the allegations contained in the
class-action counterclaim is as follows. Driver Solutions is
in the business of providing education and placement services
to individuals who wish to work in the commercial
truck-driving industry. Driver Solutions and C-1 Truck Driver
Training, LLC (C-1), are both owned by Driver Holding, LLC.
Counter-plaintiffs allege that Driver Solutions attracts
potential students from around the country to the C-1
facility in North Little Rock, Arkansas by advertising
"company-paid training" and good-paying driver jobs
("up to $50,000 per year") with large carriers,
such as P.A.M. Transport.
students arrive at C-1 for training, they are presented with
what counter-plaintiffs characterize as a "one-sided,
unconscionable adhesion contract." The contract in the
record provides that students who complete the training will
owe Driver Solutions $5,995. The contract contains a
provision allowing for the total cost of the program to be
reduced. If after completion of the program participants then
go work for the designated carrier for an entire year, during
which $45 will be deducted from the participants paycheck
each week and placed in an "Employee Savings
Account," the participant will receive a $4,000 credit
toward the cost of the program and remain liable for $1,995.
The contract contains no indication as to what the designated
carriers compensation package for the participant will be.
If participants fail to go work for the designated carrier
for an entire year, the full $5,995 becomes due and payable
to Driver Solutions on demand.
counterclaim alleges that after completing the program,
participants find that their earning potential with the
designated carrier is nowhere near what had been represented
when they signed the enrollment agreements with Driver
Solutions. Participants rarely, if ever, earn $50,000 in a
year of working for the designated carrier— far less,
according to the counter-plaintiffs. However, if participants
leave the designated carrier to work somewhere else, they
become liable for $5,995, due and payable on demand. In this