Damaged gas pump canopy leads store owner to sue

David Yates Jul. 30, 2007, 11:24am

The owners of a Hardin County country store are suing Tri-Con Inc., a fuel supplier, for refusing to replace and remove one of its gas-pump canopies from the store's premises after Hurricane Rita tore it down.

Roy and Theresa Dean, owners of Oates Country Corner store, claim they asked Tri-Con numerous times to remove its "potentially hazardous" canopy but were ignored, "and after suffering loss of business due to the damaged canopy," they were forced to remove it themselves at their own expense.

The Deans filed a breech of contract suit against Tri-Con with the Jefferson County District Court on July 27. The couple claims Tri-Con, who sells wholesale gasoline to the corner store, had a fiduciary duty to remove the canopy.

The suit says although Country Corner sells resells Tri-Con's gasoline, Tri-Con owns the canopy and is responsible for maintaining its condition."Defendant has a duty to exercise ordinary care in the maintenance and handling of the canopy."

"In addition to incurring costs associated with the handling of the canopy, plaintiffs were forced to incur costs in replacing lighting for customers," the suit said. "Defendant's failure to maintain and handle the canopy, along with certain other equipment instrumental to plaintiffs' business, has caused them to suffer a loss of sales, lost profits, loss of reputation, loss of goodwill, costs of repair, and significant mental anguish and inconvenience."

The suit also alleges Tri-Con has failed to deliver its fuel products in a timely manner.

"Specifically, knowing that plaintiffs had depleted their fuel resources, defendant, as the exclusive provider of plaintiffs' fuel, failed and/or refused to deliver plaintiffs' promised fuel. Defendant's failure to deliver the fuel has become a pattern of conduct and has caused Plaintiffs to suffer a loss of sales, lost profits, loss of reputation, loss of goodwill, and significant mental anguish and inconvenience."

The Deans are suing for all past, present and future economic damages, plus the cost of the suit.

They are represented by attorney Kip Lamb.

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th Judicial District, will preside over the case.

Case No. A179-724

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