(Knoxville, TN) – A Knox County, Tennessee, judge has denied a motion to bar Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam and the company from contacting fuel customers.

The temporary restraining order was requested by a Georgia trucking company that claims Haslam’s contact with and paying off customers could be obstruction of justice.

Circuit Court Judge Harold Wimberly ruled against the request after hearing from attorneys on both sides.

Lawyers for Atlantic Coast Carriers of Hazlehurst, Ga., were asking for a restraining order that would have barred Haslam and Pilot executives from contacting any more fuel customers.

Pilot attorney Aubrey Harwell Jr., called the claims “outrageous” and unfounded, and said a temporary restraining order would be a violation of free speech.

The Knoxville Sentinel reports:

Atlantic Coast Carriers filed a lawsuit April 20 in Circuit Court accusing Pilot of racketeering violations and seeking class-action status for Pilot’s trucking customers. The lawsuit came five days after FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents raided Pilot’s corporate headquarters in West Knoxville on April 15 as part of an investigation into claims of rebate fraud.

Atlantic Coast’s lawyers, Drew McElroy and Mark Tate, claim that Pilot’s good-will efforts and apologies have included pressuring customers to sign releases giving up their rights to sue.

Pilot’s lawyers say the company’s done nothing but the right thing.

(Harwell) said no one from Pilot has asked any customer to sign a release.

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