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Arkansas Best wins appeal, moves forward with suit against YRC

By: 6 July 2011 No Comment

It took a few months, but Fort Smith-based Arkansas Best Corp. (NasdaqGS:ABFS) received word on Wednesday it can move forward with its lawsuit against YRC Worldwide (NasdaqGS:YRCW) of Overland Park, Kan.

Arkansas Best and YRC are competitors in the the less-than-truckload freight segment and both employ drivers who are members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Arkansas Best filed suit in federal court last year against YRC, claiming the company negotiated concessions with the Teamsters that gave the trucking company an unfair advantage in the market. Those concessions, Arkansas Best alleges, violated the agreement with the Teamsters to which it is bound and other trucking companies utilizing drivers who are members of the union should be bound.

Arkansas Best has asked for damages in excess of $700 million — an amount that could prove troublesome to YRC which has made the case the concessions were necessary to assist the financially troubled carrier.

That case was dismissed late last year by U.S. District Court Susan Webber Wright (Eastern District of Arkansas) for want of jurisdiction. ABF appealed that decision on March 21, where it was taken up on April 12 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis. On Wednesday (July 6), the appellate court remanded the case to the circuit court, thus clearing the way for Arkansas Best to have its day in court on the issue.

According to a news release from Arkansas Best, the company will continue to pursue the remedies it filed for last year — to have the lower court create an appropriate grievance review committee to resolve the dispute or have the contract amendments benefiting only YRC declared null and void. Arkansas Best has also asked for monetary damages the company now estimates at around $750 million.

Keep up with the case at ABFLegalAction.com. For an earlier article regarding Arkansas Best’s overall positive view of utilizing union labor, click here.

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.

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