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December 29, 2004
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Accused Maryland Truck Driver Awarded $705,000
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July 23, 2002

(From: A Federal jury awarded $705,000 last week to a Maryland truck driver who was wrongly accused of stealing $138 worth of gasoline from a Virginia truck stop. Michael Anthony Stamathis was an employee of Alabama-based J-Mar Trucking in December 2000 when he stopped at the Wytheville Flying J Travel Plaza along Interstate 81 for gas.

Stamathis attempted to use his J-Mar fuel card at the pump (the company had an account with the truck stop) but it was not accepted. After fueling, Stamathis moved his truck to a neighboring lot and attempted to enter the travel plaza and pay for the gasoline. Unknown to Stamathis, the clerk called the Wythe County Sheriff's Office when he saw him leave the parking lot without paying. He was arrested later that evening.

After the charges were dropped three months later, Stamathis filed suit against the Flying J truck stop and the store's manager, alleging he was unjustly accused of stealing the gas.

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