CULLODEN -- A Cabell County company is being sued after failing to disclose the quality of equipment it was auctioning off.
Huntington Equipment Inc. is facing a lawsuit after a Pittsburgh man purchased salvaged construction equipment through an auction.
On Dec. 13, 2006, Louis Grant of Grant Inc. purchased a hydraulic excavator for $97,500 and had it shipped to his facility in Export, Pa. The sale was conducted by Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers, although it is not named in the suit. Prior to the auction, the excavator was involved in an accident which submerged it in Boston Harbor for an extended period of time.
The excavator suffered serious salt water damage and corrosion to its engine, wiring harness, and other critical components. The damage to the equipment was so severe that the insurance agent in the claims process reported the equipment to be a total loss and being only worth salvage.
In August 2006, Huntington Equipment purchased the excavator for $26,311 at salvage value. However, Huntington Equipment made cosmetic repairs to the excavator in Culloden. These repairs included all fluids, filters, and instrument gauge panels were changed out and the excavator was painted. Huntington Equipment then put it up for auction with a misleading story, saying that the excavator had only been run for 700 hours. The story did not disclose the salt water and corrosion damage, according to the suit.
In the suit, filed on May 15, Grant is accusing Huntington Equipment of fraud for failing to disclose the damaged condition of the excavator, unjust enrichment, negligent misrepresentation for supplying false information, breach of contract because the equipment was not in "good running order" as suggested by the falsified story, and promissory estoppel because Grant relied on Huntington Equipment's description of the excavator.
Filed by David Hanna, Niall Paul, and Andy Arbogast of the Charleston firm of Spilman Thomas & Battle and Frank Murphy and Adam Barrist of the Philadelphia firm of Deeb, Patrakis, Blum & Murphy, Grant is seeking more than $75,000 for incidental and consequential damages as well as court costs and interest.
The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.