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Legal Briefs (Tampa)

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  • | 6:00 p.m. November 14, 2005
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Legal Briefs (Tampa)

Spoiled dairy spurs

Publix to sue trucker

Ever hear of the $100,000 egg? Ask one Wisconsin trucking company.

In a case of good eggs gone bad, Florida's largest supermarket chain, Publix Supermarkets Inc., filed a federal lawsuit recently to recover more than $100,000 for a shipment of dairy products too warm to resell.

The defendant, Wisconsin-based WEL Cos. Inc., is accused of spoiling a shipment of Egg Beaters, butter, whip cream and other dairy products, all worth about $98,493.

The chain bought the products from Con-Agra Dairy Foods in Indianapolis, Ind. But when WEL Cos. delivered the items to the chain's Lakeland distribution center on May 17, 2004, the goods were as much as 13 degrees warmer than the chain had specified. So the grocer refused delivery.

Now the chain, through its Orlando attorneys J.W. Taylor and Scott J. Dornstein of Brown, Garganese, Weiss & D'Agresta PA, seeks the value of the shipment, plus interest, costs and attorneys' fees.

If the grocer prevails, that might be some expensive Egg Beaters for WEL Cos.

SunTrust Bank manager

sues bank

Yes, SunTrust manager Martha Villereal Locke was shot in the face during a 2002 robbery at the bank's Winter Haven branch on Recker Highway. And, yes, prior to that shooting a teller was pistol-whipped by another robber at the same branch.

But that doesn't mean SunTrust is liable for negligence or intentional tort, according to the banking company.

GrayRobinson attorneys Mark Miller and Kristie Hatcher-Bolin have asked U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich to dismiss, with prejudice, a lawsuit transferred last month to Tampa federal court from Polk County.

In an Oct. 25 motion, the lawyers contend SunTrust Bank Inc. is protected by Florida's workers' compensation immunity, which bars most lawsuits.

A hearing on the motion had not been set by the Review's deadline.

Locke's attorney, John W. Frost of Bartow, contends SunTrust hired a security guard for the Recker Highway location after a bank teller was pistol-whipped by a robber and several other aggravated assaults took place.

But the guard wasn't there on the day Locke was shot.

Frost asserts Atlanta-based SunTrust breached its duty to Locke by failing to provide adequate security and that bank officials were intentionally reckless in failing to provide security, "which posed a high degree of risk and strong possibility of serious injury or death," according to the complaint.

The lawyer alleges the bank's conduct "was outrageous as to go beyond all bounds of decency, and to be regarded as odious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community."

Insurance company says

faulty dryer caused fire

When Jeff and Christine Soderland's Venice home caught fire two years ago, their insurance company, Nationwide Insurance Co. of Florida, helped the couple rebuild it.

Now Nationwide and the Soderlands are suing the Whirlpool Corp., alleging a 5-year-old defective dryer caused the fire. The insurance company seeks reimbursement for unspecified damages. Tampa lawyers Hobart Hind and Matthew W. Peaire filed the federal lawsuit last month on behalf of Nationwide and the couple.


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