URBANA – A Champaign County jury has awarded a former contract driver for CX Roberson $314,452 in his civil suit against the trucking company.
Obed Calderon was awarded $14,452 in actual damages, $50,000 for emotional distress and $250,000 in punitive damages in the verdict handed down Tuesday.
No attorney appeared on behalf of CX Roberson during the trial in Circuit Judge Michael Jones' courtroom. Calderon was represented by Champaign attorney Scott Dempsey.
In the suit filed Feb. 2, 2005, Calderon claimed CX Roberson failed to send his payments to the business leasing him his truck – even though records showed money for the payments was being deducted from his pay.
Under a master lease agreement that took effect in July 2000, Calderon agreed to lease a 1999 Freightliner FLC tractor from Tractor Trailer Services for four years.
The agreement called for him to pay $415.58 a week, plus additional amounts for maintenance reserve, road tax and insurance. CX Roberson was authorized to deduct that money from his compensation and forward it to the leasing company.
In the suit, Calderon claimed records showing deductions led him to believe the payments were being made.
But as it turned out, payments were made neither to Tractor Trailer Services nor to Citicapital Commercial Leasing Corp., the company to which Tractor Trailer Services transferred its interest in the lease agreement.
The suit claimed that as a result of the payments not being made, Calderon's truck was repossessed.
CX Roberson was the dry van division of Mahomet-based Roberson Transportation, which at one time employed more than 1,150 drivers – 330 of them owner-operators and the rest of them company drivers.
On Jan. 14, 2005, CX Roberson was sold to the Indianapolis-based Celadon Group. At virtually the same time, Roberson's flatbed division, PFT Roberson, was sold to Iowa-based Annett Holdings.
Some creditors of Roberson Transportation attempted to force the company into involuntary bankruptcy. But U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gerald Fines decided in February the company should be left in the hands of the private trustee handling the case.