Another Driver Wins after Refusing Unsafe Truck

Evan Lockridge
Trucking Info
April 08, 2013

A trucker who refused to drive a truck he believed was unsafe is getting his job back in addition to lost pay, while another has been order to pay money back and has been sentenced to jail in a workers' compensation fraud case.

A U.S. Labor Department administrative law judge has ordered Boise, Idado-based Cargo Express to reinstate Thomas J. Graff after he was fired and awarded him back pay and punitive damages, along with attorney’s fees totaling more than $90,000.

Judge Lee J. Romero Jr. determined the company violated the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 when it fired Graff because he refused to drive a truck because of an oil leak and an air leak, despite the company saying his termination was due to Graff failing to meet a monthly standard for miles driven. The carrier was also ordered to remove any negative references about Graff from his DAC report.

Graff was represented by Paul O. Taylor, an attorney with Truckers Justice Center in Burnsville, Minn.

Cargo Express has until mid-April to file an appeal.

Meantime, in Ohio a trucker has been ordered to pay more than $60,000 to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation for working as a truck driver while collecting money for an earlier workplace injury.

BWC says its Intelligence Unit received a cross match report from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio that indicated Davis underwent a commercial vehicle inspection during the time period he was receiving temporary total disability benefits. An investigation revealed he knowingly worked as a commercial truck driver while concurrently collecting disability benefits.

Davis earlier pleaded guilty to workers' compensation fraud, a felony. He was also sentenced to 12 months in prison and five years of probation. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $57,533.14, plus investigative costs of $3,201.08.

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