on February 1, 2008 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Suing for chump change

SENECA — Duke Energy Carolinas, which posted earnings well over $1 billion in 2007, is asking for a jury trial in Oconee County to recover almost $28,000 from a Texas-based manufacturer of air conditioning units.

The Fortune 500 Company based in Charlotte, N.C. wants to recover $27,934.20 in actual damages, court costs and attorney fees from Air Rover Inc. of Tyler, Texas.

Duke alleges it bought three high-performance AC units from Air Rover for use at its Oconee Nuclear Station facility. The power company claims that as a result of the defective design of those AC units, Duke was unable to use them and suffered damages in the amount stated.

The lawsuit was filed Jan. 24 at the Oconee County Courthouse. Attorney James Logan of Anderson is handling the case for Duke.

There is no explanation in the legal papers submitted that indicates why Duke is insisting on a jury trial for what looks to be at face value a simple case of demanding a refund for faulty equipment, and breach of contract. However, the lawsuit seems to describe that there is more to the alleged grievance than meets the eye.

In part, the lawsuit claims: “As a direct and proximate result of the negligence, gross negligence, recklessness, willfulness, and wantonness in one or more of the particulars hereinabove set forth, Duke suffered damages of an actual, incidental, and special nature including, but not limited to, the costs of repair and/or replace the conditioning units …”

The lawsuit concludes: “Duke suffered and will suffer damages of an actual, incidental, consequential and special purpose.” Aside from actual damages, courts costs and attorney fees, Duke asks that the court make any other award it deems proper.

As is its policy, Duke declined to comment on the active lawsuit.

According to a ThomasNet.com business profile, Air Rover is a relatively small, yet growing business, with sales of less than $10 million and an employee base of less than 100 workers. Founded in 1986, Air Rover’s portable air conditioners are used by the military, government and commercial clients worldwide.

The company sold three 600-volt, 60 hertz, high-performance wall mounted air conditioning units to Duke Energy.

Duke spokesman Jason Walls said Thursday that the units were intended to cool the voltage regulators on the turbine area of the Oconee Nuclear Station. He said they were found to be inadequate for the intended purpose, and none were used.