A federal jury ordered Swift Transportation, a unit of Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc. (NYSE: KNX), to pay its trucking rival more than $15 million for allegedly poaching drivers who were under contract to CRST Expedited, which is based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
According to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Iowa in March 2017, CRST claims Swift purposely recruited and hired drivers who had completed CRST’s driver training program to obtain their commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs), but were still contractually obligated to work for the motor carrier for 10 months.
In the suit, CRST identified more than 250 drivers who had signed 10-month employment contracts with the carrier that were later recruited by Swift.
Starting in 2016, CRST claims it received more than 150 employment verification requests from Swift, headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, for drivers who were still under contract to work for CRST.
Court documents allege that each time CRST received an employment verification for one of its drivers still under contract, it sent correspondence to Swift, “notifying it of the driver’s contractual commitment to CRST.”
The jury found that Swift intentionally and improperly interfered with CRST drivers’ contracts, awarding it $3 million, $5 million in punitive damages and $7.5 million for unjust enrichment.