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Cameron Equipment Company, Inc. v. Stewart and Stevenson Services, Inc.

685 So. 2d 696 (1996)

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Cameron Equipment Company, Inc. v. Stewart and Stevenson Services, Inc.

Louisiana Court of Appeal

685 So. 2d 696 (1996)

Facts

Cameron Equipment Company, Inc. (plaintiff) purchased two used diesel engines from Petroleum Services, Inc. (defendant) on June 12, 1987, for $73,000. The engines were stored at an equipment yard owned by another company. Cameron Equipment failed to pick up the engines from the equipment yard for two years, and the engines were not marked as being owned by Cameron Equipment. On June 12, 1989, Petroleum Services sold the engines to another company, which immediately sold them to another company. That company resold the engines on June 14 to Stewart & Stevenson Services, Inc. (defendant). On June 15, the intermediary purchaser removed the engines from the equipment yard and delivered them to Stewart & Stevenson. Hours after the engines were removed, Cameron Equipment arrived at the equipment yard to claim the engines. Cameron Equipment filed suit against Stewart & Stevenson and against the sole shareholder of Petroleum Services, and eventually the intermediate buyers and Petroleum Services as a corporate entity were added as defendants as well. Cameron Equipment sought the return of the engines and damages for conversion. The trial court ruled in favor of Cameron Equipment against Petroleum Services for conversion of the engines and awarded $50,000 as the fair market value of the engines at the time of the second sale. However, the trial court refused to pierce the corporate veil as to the claim against the owner of Petroleum Services. The court also denied Cameron Equipment’s claims against the subsequent purchasers because Cameron Equipment had never taken possession of the engines. Cameron Equipment appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Knoll, J.)

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