A federal panel has consolidated seven lawsuits against Pilot Flying J.

Almost a year ago, federal agents raided the company's west Knoxville headquarters as part of investigation into a fuel rebate scheme.

More: Pilot CEO Haslam talks guilty pleas; maintains message

Pilot already paid $85 million to 5,500 customers in a November class-action settlement.

Attorneys for the seven companies with federal suits pending against Pilot had argued against merging the cases, but the panel ruled Monday to consolidate and assign the case to Judge Amul R. Thapar, who is based in Covington, Kentucky.

He's heard several of the criminal pleas of former Pilot employees in federal court here in Knoxville.

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