AG's office sues Fayette Co. firewood equipment dealer, manufacturer

By Chris Dickerson | Aug 10, 2018

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office has filed a lawsuit alleging a Fayette County firewood sales and equipment operation jeopardized the physical safety and financial well-being of consumers.

The lawsuit, filed Aug. 8 in Kanawha Circuit Court, alleges New River Firewood and Power Trust Equipment, separate companies, through senior management, deceived consumers and breached warranties related to the sale and manufacturing of log splitters that malfunctioned shortly after the initial use.

“Consumer goods sold in West Virginia must be of good working order,” Morrisey said in a statement. “When items fall short of that standard, business owners must adhere to the implied warranty and provide repairs or refunds as necessary. Any business failing to comply faces potential consequences.”

The AG's office seeks a temporary court order to prohibit New River Firewood and Power Trust Equipment, both based in central Fayette County, from engaging in the sale of consumer goods in West Virginia during the course of the state’s litigation.

The lawsuit centers on New River Firewood’s online sale of gas-powered log splitters made by Power Trust Equipment. Consumers allege the splitters curled, broke wedges and blew hydraulic hose fittings due to defective materials, including clamps, and inadequate welding, all posing a high risk of physical injury, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit further alleges New River Firewood failed to perform necessary repairs, refused to refund payments and did not cooperate with a subpoena for documents.

The AG's office seeks full restitution for the affected consumers, a $5,000 penalty for each violation of the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act and full reimbursement to cover costs associated with the state’s investigation and litigation.

New River Firewood and Power Trust Equipment are listed as defendants, along with both companies’ manager James L. Sowder and fellow members Cynthia Sowder and Jerry Zimmerman, all of Fayette County.

The lawsuit sets forth charges of unfair and deceptive business practices, breaching implied warranty and limiting or refusing to remedy said breach.

Michael M. Morrison is handling the case for the AG's office. It has been assigned to Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 18-C-994 

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Kanawha Circuit Court Virginia Attorney General's Office

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