Rental company sues after equipment returned damaged from Hurricane Ike

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Sep. 15, 2010, 4:58pm

Sentry Select Insurance Co., as subrogee of Gulfstar Rental Solutions, filed suit against Du Pont Invista and ExxonMobil on Sept. 9 in the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division.

According to the lawsuit, Invista and ExxonMobil rented some equipment including air conditioning units and generators valued at more than $232,000.

On Sept. 7, 2008, Hurricane Ike was forecasted to make landfall in Texas. As predicted, on Sept. 13 Hurricane Ike made landfall near Beaumont and damaged the equipment entrusted to Invista and ExxonMobil.

Invista and ExxonMobil are accused of negligence and breach of contract for failing to move and safeguard the equipment to ensure it was not lost or damaged by Hurricane Ike, for failing to exercise prudence in moving or preserving the equipment contracted and entrusted to it and failing to give Gulfstar an opportunity to move or safeguard the equipment.

According to the rental contract the defendants were required to maintain a separate insurance policy covering the equipment and indemnify Gulfstar from all loss and expense regarding the equipment.

Gulfstar states the defendant returned the equipment with substantial damage following Hurricane Ike and failed to reimburse it for the damage and failed to maintain a policy of liability and property insurance.

Sentry Select and Gulfstar are asking the court for more than $232,000, plus attorneys' fees, interest, and court costs.

The plaintiff is represented by Eugene W. Brees of Whitehurst, Harkness, Brees & Cheng in Austin. Jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Ron Clark is assigned to the case.

Case No. 1:10cv00546

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