After driver Christopher Midgett bought a truck in 2015 from a Werner Enterprises subsidiary with around 380,000 miles on it, he ended up with costly repair and maintenance expenses that drained his paychecks.
According to a class-action complaint filed in 2018, Werner misclassified drivers as independent contractors and improperly deducted trucking costs from wages. The case eventually involved nearly 200 drivers linked to the carrier.
The case alleged that Werner passed “its overhead costs to its workers,” broke minimum wage law, and offloaded “its aging fleet of trucks onto its unsuspecting employees.”
Werner denied the allegations in court documents, but the Nebraska-based carrier also acknowledged that owner-operators paid for repairs, maintenance and other costs. The carrier continues to deny the allegations, according to a settlement agreement filed in November 2022.
Senior U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon gave preliminary approval in February and final approval in June for a $750,000 settlement with drivers that excluded Midgett’s claims. The deal allowed current and former workers to get $100 to $10,000 settlement awards.
Midgett initially served as the lead plaintiff for the class-action complaint, but he then continued the matter separately from the group settlement. He worked as a driver in the position as late as 2019, per an amended complaint.