Small business owner sues over defective hydraulic fluid

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Feb. 25, 2013, 9:04pm

TYLER - A Jacksonville small business owner has filed a lawsuit against a manufacturer of finished commercial lubricants claiming that he was sold defective hydraulic fluid which caused a complete breakdown of his skidder. 

Harvey Heisler, individually and doing business as East Texas Timber Co., filed suit against Smitty’s Supply Inc. and Atwood Distributing L.P. on Feb. 20 in the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division.

In Jan. and Feb. 2011, Heisler purchased some of the Super Trac 303 Tractor Hydraulic Fluid manufactured and sold by the defendants. In March 2011, the fluid caused a complete breakdown of Heisler’s equipment, specifically a skidder used in Heisler’s timber operation.

The defendant is accused of representing that their hydraulic fluid was at industry standards and suitable for plaintiff’s equipment.  Heisler argues that the hydraulic oil was made up of off-spec and refurbished materials, was not adequately tested, was not properly “additized,” and did not have compatible ingredients.

The defendant is accused of violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, breach of implied warranty of merchantability and negligence.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of economic, compensatory, and general damages, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, treble damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees, court costs and interest.

Heisler is represented by Todd L. Kassaw of Zeleskey Law Firm in Lufkin and Keith Langston of Langston Law Firm in Longview.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider is assigned to the case.

Case No. 6:13-cv-00186

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