Legal battles can do more than damage a company’s reputation – they can lead to significant monetary expenses. Iowa trucking company CRST Van Expedited Inc. has been seeking $4.5 in attorney’s fees from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). A class-action lawsuit was brought against the organization by the EEOC due to claims of sexual harassment reported by female employees. After the case was dismissed by a district court on grounds that a proper investigation to reconcile claims had not been conducted, CRST Van Expedited was awarded the $4.5 million in attorney’s fees they were seeking.
However, the reward was thrown out by The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. While the trucking company was originally declared the “prevailing party,” this court ruled that such a title is only available for those who win a case on merits. Due to the original ruling being based on an inadequate investigation by the plaintiff, it was ruled that the EEOC was not required to pay the attorney’s fees.
The trucking company continued to appeal their case, and their diligence has paid off. On Thursday, the Supreme Court stated that a ruling on merits was irrelevant – the time and expenses spent by the trucking company in the case entitled them to reimbursement. This type of ruling is what the trucking company was additionally searching for. The carrier puts over 3,500 drivers on the road and is one of the largest name in the industry – but a cost like this can be substantially damaging to any business.
While the case being dismissed helped the company avoid substantial damage to its reputation, a case of this magnitude can be very expensive to deal with. The thoroughness of the company and its legal team will hopefully allow them to recoup the expenses lost in this case, and allow them to continue their success within the trucking industry.