By Russ and Tiña De Maris
What could just be a hiccup for Marcus Lemonis and Camping World is turning into a major issue for more than 500 RV transporters. On Friday, October 11, nearly 550 independent contractors who work with Country Wide RV Transport (CWRV) got an unwelcome message: Come November 1, CWRV will roll up the sidewalks and close for good, leaving drivers and families without that source of income.
How is Lemonis involved? CWRV was the “exclusive” transporter for bringing RVs from manufacturer plants to Camping World locations. This means the giant RV seller will have to find another firm or firms to handle transport. This may create a short-term issue for Camping World, as the outfit will have to scramble to get transport in order. It might prove a bigger headache, as the RV transport industry has been “short” on drivers. Still, with a ready pool of more than 500 drivers suddenly out of work, once the shuffle of drivers to new contractors is settled, things should theoretically get back to normal.
Still, this will leave those former CWRV drivers in a bit of a pickle. As independents, they’ll have no unemployment insurance money to help them out until they can find new firms to contract with. Undoubtedly, many of them have mortgages to pay and truck payments to make, and everybody likes to eat. We wish all of them well in the interim.
What caused the CWRV shutdown? Back in 2017, one of CWRV’s “independent contractors” was returning home after dropping off a rig at an RV dealership. Along the road, he fell asleep, rear-ending a passenger car, killing a husband and his wife. The surviving family members took the matter to court, including CWRV as a defendant. The company argued in vain that it wasn’t responsible for an independent contractor’s actions, but a jury didn’t see it that way. They saw the driver as an “agent” of the company, and handed down a $26.2 million wrongful death judgment.
Turning back to Camping World’s “temporary” problem: If the trucking industry is any indicator, Lemonis’ company may not be out of the woods quite yet. The judgment against CWRV is yet another “nuclear verdict” – one where an award of $10 million or more is given. The trucking industry has seen many carriers shut down this year, and “nuclear verdicts” are one of the reasons.
Other firms engaged in transporting RVs may see the verdict against CWRV as a serious wake-up call and begin to question just how much liability they want hanging over their heads. It doesn’t take much of an imagination stretch to see some getting out of the business, or seriously jacking up transport rates to give themselves a financial – and emotional – cushion against an adverse judgment, should one of their own contractors create a lawsuit nightmare.
Not sure what state this company is in, but if it is California there could also be an additional reason. AB5 was passed which is changing the status of independent contractors. Come Jan 1st, you will see many more Independent Trucker’s with out work in CA.
OK if the big corporations are not liable, the lawyers are not liable, then who is. Jury awards are not responsible for the high cost of medicines, big pharma is. In America we say $200,00 for a prescription drug, and the same pharmaceutical company sells the same drug, from the same batch for $10.00. Is That fair to have America pay for the world’s medicines. There are so many citizens here who have to make the decision to take their medicine or eat. There has to be a mid-point.
Don’t blame the lawyers, as sleezy as they are. It was the jury that made the award. They could have awarded 2 or 3 mil which the ins would likely have covered. Until juries made up of regular people just like you and me realize the unintended consequences of extreme awards this will just continue to spiral. People think these big awards just come down from the sky from big corp. or ins companies, but it’s like a pebble thrown into a pond with an ever continuing ripple effect.
I will always say Shakespeare was right “kill the lawyers”. I am still working but cannot say in what field.
I know of a person who was injured. She got an atty. The injury was a simple injury to a tip of a finger that should have been fixed easily on a one time try. But it was not fixed correctly. For such a simple injury to the finger tip over 5 surgeries continued. Wouldn’t you think that it was way overdue to change doctors?? Wouldn’t you think the atty would have recommended that? Oh no. The settlement would have been less for the atty. I say take away the license of that atty if not put him in jail and revoke the license of that atty forever. But you know that low life will get away with it.
For a country that is suppose to be for the people has turned into a capitalistic nightmare.
We have failed and gave away our credibility to the ‘buck’.
Lawsuits are also the main reason for high medical and prescription costs. Huge lawsuit settlements are ultimately paid for by the consumer, while lawyers get rich. 🙁
The company is working to an orderly shutdown to make sure the contractors and employees are paid. The next step will be to file for bankruptcy. That will limit the award to the insurance max (I suspect in the 1-5 million area). It is a shame that 500 contractors will be out of work. It is November and I expect transport work slows down some in the winter. The contractors might have been ready for the “slow season”. We were in the Elkhart area in June and saw many RV haulers. Many of the drivers will be able to pick up work with other haulers. CW like other dealers will still get RVs hualed to them, along with the other RV dealers. Insurance companies will figure out a solution and raise rates. The result will be transport fees rise and consumers will pay more.
Actually the jury is most likely ill equiped to make this call, being educated in todays society, cannot draw the line where responsability ends for one and begins for another. Most people today cannot think outside facebook for more than 5 minutes and civics has not been taught in public schools for years. More to the point, we still do not have any rule of law that holds an independent person or corporation criminally /finanacially accountable for an individuals actions unto themselves. For that you can only have Opinion. For there to be rational Opinion it must be arrived at without bias. Unfortunately we dont live in a world where Fact is priority, rather “how people feel” is now the frontrunner.
It makes no sense other than pure corporate greed for this lawsuit to have been awarded. I would not be surprised if there were inside courtroom payoffs after judgement was laid. By agreeing you are saying that for the deaths of two people , which is inarguably very tragic already, that on top of that, assuming each of the laid off drivers has a spouse a 1 child (may be more or less ) that an additional (550 x 3 = )1,650 people must now endure poverty, endless job search, become homeless, hungry, loose their vehicles due to non payment, ect…
Also Remember , this was a wrongful death case, so it was therefore accomplished based on outcome for the attorneys, which means they were awarded 50% (or more, lets assume 50% here as the base) at a minimum, which would be 13.1 Million. If it was 60/40 then the law firm takes 15.72 million leaving the plaintiff with 10.48 million, which we can assume will be paid over MANY years, which will cause bankruptcy eventually anyway.
All over a judgement, where the subcontractor was 100% to blame but probably had no money, so they went after the person he was subcontracted with just due to deep pockets alone, or the perception of, and in doing so, brought at a min of 1,650 more people down in the process, all of which was arrived at out by people who probably never learned in school how due process even works. The many living people in this case, will suffer long after the funerals of the few. As long as social media says they are guilty……
Astute observation my friend. Unfortunately for the deceased, this is not over till the fat lady sings. Wait, they are discrediting her now too! I digress. In any event, the court room has nothing to do with right and wrong, only winners and losers. Deep pockets are the goal of any lawyer, not justice. That being said, it will ultimately end up in two arenas, exorbitant award, adjusted by the judge, or said insurance company pays out max. Claim, stands up and shows hands like a dealer shift change in Las Vegas. The result in both cases will be less, much less than the original jury award for damages.
You are correct, the suffering will be with the families, as the rest will cruise on their yachts, and drink the finest booze, while the survivors grieve.
It seems there is no accountability in the country any more…the jury is correct on this one IMHO…
Camping World will tack on extremely expensive transport charges to the already costly units which are poorly constructed, have many issues which are not fixed, which cause owners that are caught in this trap to sue the manufacturers. This industry will continue to take a nose dive until many of these issues are met head on and get corrected. After reading numerous complaints by people that purchased RV’s, I decided to postpone and not buy a unit. I will stay in hotels and motels, and save travel money until the reputation of the industry improves. If not, I will try to find a unit that someone spent a lot of money and time on and want to dump it. I hope I find something that is usable and won’t cost a fortune to maintain.
Its about time someone cracks down on these transport company’s. They always hide behind the private contractor excuse so they have no responsibility for anything!
It was mentioned in this article that Camping World might be affected by the closing of CWRV. Inasmuch as Camping World is not the only RV dealer that needs RV’s transported from the factory to their dealerships, does the closing of CWRV impact many other dealerships as well or only Camping World?
Terrible accident, but 25 million is ridiculous!
As millennials begin to dominate the jury pool there will be less rationality in the assignment of guilt, verdict and penalty assessed.