A jury in Rockwall County has awarded $1.85 million to Waco-based Central Freight Lines, ruling a Rockwall company breached its contract to provide the freight hauler with workers’ compensation insurance and services related to administering claims.
Jurors found that Trendsetter-HR and its owner, D.W. Bobst, failed to honor the terms of the contract and wrongfully billed Central Freight for services and coverage that were never provided. Central Freight is asking that interest be added to the verdict amount, which could push the final award to more than $2 million.
“It’s rare to receive a verdict of this magnitude in a counterclaim, but Trendsetter’s failures and wrongs were particularly egregious,” said attorney William Chamblee, who is with the Dallas firm of Chamblee Ryan, which represented Central Freight.
“Trendsetter, its affiliates and its owner made numerous misstatements to my client in an effort to hide the facts and justify their wrongdoing,” Chamblee said.
Trendsetter reportedly signed a contract with Central Freight in 2008 before adding several amendments to broaden the administrative services provided to the company and its employees, according to a statement from the law office.
“For more than three years, Trendsetter accepted payments from Central Freight but failed to properly deposit the funds for workers’ compensation coverage,” according to the statement.
As Central Freight’s lawsuit alleged, Trendsetter made “every effort to protect itself in anticipation of the looming regulatory and coverage problems it had created for Central, as well as the likelihood of litigation.”
Trendsetter’s original suit
Trendsetter originally sued for breach of contract in 2013 after Central Freight stopped its payments following a series of audits and demands for documentation Trendsetter did not comply with, according to the attorney’s statement.
Additional hearings will take place to determine the exact size of the award to Central.
Sources said Trendsetter has not indicated it will appeal the jury’s decision, and no one with the company could be reached for comment late Friday.
Central Freight Lines was founded in 1925 by W.W. “Woody” Callan, who bought a Model T to drive to Dallas to pick up merchandise for a Waco merchant. Today, it has 1,950 tractors, 8,500 trailers and 50 terminals that serve 49 states. It is owned by Jerry Moyes, a veteran of the trucking industry.
Central specializes in less-than-truckload shipments with next-day or second-day arrivals. It has become a leader in the use of compressed natural gas to power its fleet. It bought 100 CNG trucks in 2013 and continues to establish CNG fueling stations at strategic locations.